The new US President Joe Biden, upon coming to power, almost immediately announced the need to lift the Muslim ban – restrictions on the movement and immigration of citizens of seven countries with a Muslim majority to the United States. This served as the basis for American Muslims to show sympathy for the new head of the White House, and their participation in the country’s political life reached its climax. It would seem that the specter of Islamophobia under Joe Biden left American territory.
During the presidency of Donald Trump, most Muslims in the United States feared that they would be discriminated against as a result of administrative and civil restrictions. For this reason, they began to organize themselves into influence groups and nominate their candidates for political office. It is Islamophobia that served as a kind of “trigger” for the American followers of Islam to begin to independently seek the protection of their rights and freedoms as a protest. So, already in 2016, 43 people were registered in the United States to participate in municipal elections, while in 2017 the number of such candidates reached 79 people, in 2018 – 143 people, in 2019 – 153 people and in 2020 – 168 people.
Despite the Islamophobia reigning in the country, Muslim politicians have proved to be highly recognizable figures. In particular, after the election of Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib to the House of Representatives, American voters were forced to look at the political activity of Muslims in a completely different way. This activity was made possible, among other things, by Jetpac, a Massachusetts-based non-profit organization founded in 2015 that specializes in training American Muslims in campaigning. It is worth noting that almost immediately after Donald Trump’s victory in the 2016 presidential election, Jetpac received 100 applications from Muslims at once, thus expressing their protest against American Islamophobia. This is how the followers of the teachings of the Prophet Muhammad in the United States learn to defend their religion, rights, and freedoms using political methods. And, despite the fact that most of the election campaigns ended in fiasco, the very fact of the participation of US Muslims in the election processes indicates a high level of their political and civic identification. Moreover, it is a clear manifestation of people’s understanding of the structure and content of Washington’s Islamophobic policies.
Another non-profit organization, the League of Muslim Justice, emerged in 2015 immediately after the launch of the national counter-extremism program in Boston, which identified the Muslim factor as the main threat to security. As a result, many American Muslims have been able to obtain free legal aid.
It is worth noting that Democratic candidates Ihssane Leckey and Nichole Mossalam played the most prominent roles during the 2016 municipal election campaign in Boston. They lost the election due to the enormous administrative pressure exerted on them by their Republican competitors. Meanwhile, in Concord, Wakefield, and Walpole, three Muslim women won the elections. This becomes clear evidence that the followers of Islam are rapidly conquering political space in the United States, despite the opposition from the White House.
Joe Biden’s victory gave many American Muslims a chance to become more involved in the country’s political life. The Massachusetts chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, which is successfully working on a roadmap to provide American Muslims with greater rights, is a huge help to this end.