Biden’s promise to fight anti-Arab and Islamophobic rhetoric feels empty

Umer Sohail, Staff Reporter

joe biden flag
DC residents celebrate Joe Biden’s win on November 7 outside the Vice President’s former building, the EEOB. In this article, Lasso writer Umer Sohail argues that Joe Biden has done far too little to prevent anti-Arab and Islamophobic rhetoric and violence in America. (Photo by Sequoia Wyckoff)

Faheem Qureshi was only fourteen when his home was shattered by a drone strike. His uncles and cousins were killed in this attack, blinding Qureshi fully in his left eye. This was one of the first drone strikes that former president Barack Obama oversaw. By the end of his two terms, he had overseen hundreds upon hundreds of drone strikes, many resulting in civilian deaths. 

As we prepare for four years starting under a Democratic trifecta led by Joe Biden we need to ask: where was Joe Biden? Starting tomorrow, he’ll be sitting in the Oval Office, with no real indication that this, nor the prejudice and racism that Arab Americans as well as other American Muslims face daily, will change substantially. 

Last year, the Biden team released a document called “Joe Biden and the Arab-American Community: A Plan for Partnership.” In it, Biden states that he will fight the anti-Arab rhetoric that tries to dehumanize and exclude the Arab community. This document is a slap in the face to all of the Middle-East and parts of South Asia, who are expected to forget the hundreds of drone strikes enacted by the previous administration Joe Biden was a part of. Although Joe Biden doesn’t actively promote anti-Arab rhetoric the way Donald Trump continues to do, historically their policy stances aren’t as different as we say. 

To me, as a brown Muslim, Joe Biden seemed like a better choice, but it was truly like choosing the best of two evils. Since 2001, in America it seems that any Muslim is marked a terrorist except for every four years when we suddenly change into voters. Many times my family, like countless other Muslims, undergo racism and bigotry. We get followed and searched for “suspicious activity” in airports without any semblance of reason. To sum it up, “we looked like terrorists.” Even as Biden announces partnerships and promises to lift the ban on Muslims, these stances on race and religion that are shouted at MAGA rallies will still plague Biden’s America—they don’t just disappear as soon as it’s politically convenient. 

The future of this country concerns me. When white supremacists and Neo-Nazis storm the Capitol, they are seen as individuals able to be separated from an ideology, as humans we have to unite with. But Muslim people still face the same prejudice and violence. In China, a genocide of Uyghur Muslims is taking place yet it is less politically expedient to deal with, so few American officials fully acknowledge it. We never know what Biden is actually going to do, but we know what he has failed to do.

Joe Biden used the Arabic word, “Insha’Allah” during a presidential debate, which I see as a temporary distraction. Joe Biden in no uncertain terms is better for this country than Trump, but neither of these candidates are suited for international decisions or for addressing the racism and prejudice in our country. In my opinion, Biden has managed to blind our eyes into accepting his “term and conditions.” He’s the new iPhone 12, with a better camera, in a new shape, but it’s the same old hard-ware—and I’m not buying it.

Opinion articles in The Lasso reflect the opinion of the writer(s). They do not necessarily reflect the opinion of the Lasso Editorial Board or of George Mason High School.