A Lebanese Catholic priest calls on believers around the world to pray for the people of his country following two explosions in Beirut that left dozens dead and thousands injured. “We ask your nation to carry Lebanon in its hearts at this difficult stage, and we place great trust in you and in your prayers, […]
At the “Million Muslim Votes” summit hosted by Emerge Action on July 2oth, Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden said he wished more American schoolchildren were taught about Islam. The comment, “I wish we taught more in our schools about the Islamic faith”, set social media ablaze.
Social media users were angry after the snippet of the comment made its rounds online. Conservative activists, including Charlie Kirk, tweeted out the comment and went on to say Biden didn’t support prayer or studying the Bible in schools. One former Republican candidate called him anti-Christian. Biden is a lifelong Roman Catholic.
There was context left out of the comment. Biden said he wished schools taught not only the Islamic faith but “all the great confessional faiths.” He also said that he is interested in theology and “we all come from the same root here in terms of our fundamental, basic beliefs,” referencing his own Catholic background. His reference to “confessional religions” includes different denominations of Christianity, Judaism, and Islam, which are religions that each have their own statements of faith.
“I wish we talked about all the great confessional faiths. [Islam is] one of the great confessional faiths. What people don’t realize is … we all come from the same root here, in terms of our fundamental basic beliefs. I just want to thank you for giving me the opportunity for being engaged, for committing to action this November.”
Biden further said during the summit that there has been an unnecessary rise in Islamaphobia under the Trump administration.
“Donald Trump has fanned the flames of hate in this country, across the board, through his words, his policies, his appointments, his deeds and he continues to fan those flames,” the 77-year-old Biden, who served as vice president under former President Barack Obama, said. “Under this administration, we have seen an unconscionable rise in Islamophobia, including kids being bullied at school and hate crimes in our communities.”
Biden also commented on people who have “open Islamophobia” that were placed in “key leadership roles” by Donald Trump.
“It is an insult to our values, it weakens our standing in the world,” Biden said. “What message does this send to the rest of the world?”
Emgage Action, the country’s largest Muslim American PAC, endorsed Biden in April after initial endorsing Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., in the Democratic presidential primary. A number of Muslim American officials, including Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison, Rep. Andre Carson, D-Ind., signed a letter organized by Emgage Action endorsing Biden on Monday.
“Our number one goal is to remove Donald Trump from office and to replace him with someone who can begin to heal our nation,” the letter said. “A Biden administration will move the nation forward on many of the issues we care about,” it said, citing racial justice, affordable healthcare, climate change and immigration.