Washington, D.C. – January 11, 2024 – Rahat Husain, Executive Director of the Shia Muslim Foundation, participated in a briefing today hosted by the White House Office of Public Engagement, alongside Assistant to the President for Domestic Policy Neera Tanden and U.S. Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom Rashad Hussain. The briefing focused on the ongoing development of a National Strategy to Combat Islamophobia and related forms of bias and discrimination.
This briefing marks a significant step forward in the Biden-Harris administration's efforts to address the rise in hate crimes and discrimination targeting American Muslims, Arabs, Sikhs, and South Asians. The strategy builds upon the foundation laid by the United We Stand Summit in 2022 and the subsequent release of the U.S. National Strategy to Counter Anti-Semitism, which also acknowledged the need to address Islamophobia and other forms of hate.
"The Shia Muslim Foundation welcomes the development of this comprehensive strategy," said Mr. Husain. "Islamophobia has far-reaching consequences, impacting not only individuals and families but also hindering our nation's ability to live up to its ideals of inclusivity and equality. We are hopeful that this strategy will pave the way for concrete actions and meaningful change."
The briefing highlighted several key points about the National Strategy:
* Community Engagement: The strategy will prioritize engagement with affected communities, ensuring their voices and perspectives are heard throughout the development and implementation process.
* Long-Term Vision: The goal is to develop a strategy that stands the test of time and drives lasting change within federal government agencies, influencing their policies and practices towards communities facing discrimination.
* Addressing Specific Needs: Recognizing the unique manifestations of Islamophobia, the strategy will tailor its approach to effectively address the challenges faced by American Muslims, Arabs, Sikhs, and South Asians.
* Interagency Collaboration: The Interagency Policy Committee, established in December 2022, plays a crucial role in coordinating efforts across various government departments and agencies, ensuring a unified response to combat Islamophobia and related forms of bias.
The briefing also acknowledged the recent rise in anti-Muslim, anti-Arab, anti-Palestinian, and anti-Sikh hate incidents surrounding the conflict between Israel and Palestine. This underscores the urgency of developing a comprehensive national strategy to address these issues.