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SMF Quoted in Politico Regarding White House Nowruz Statement

(WASHINGTON DC - March 28, 2024) The Shia Muslim Foundation (SMF) supports President Biden’s recent acknowledgment of Nowruz and his mention of the humanitarian crisis in Gaza. Executive Director Rahat Husain has expressed concern over the anti-Shia bias evident in some groups’ criticism of the President’s statement. Mr. Husain's discussion of the President's comments were recently featured in Politico article.

RAHAT HUSAIN, of the Shia Muslim Foundation, said he thought that Biden’s decision to mention Gaza in the statement was “entirely appropriate.” He hoped, in fact, to see the president speak more directly to the crisis.
“Most people that I know who are celebrating or commemorating Nowruz in my community and other communities are entirely concerned about Gaza. And it’s colored our celebration of Nowruz,” he said. “How much can you celebrate when people are suffering?”

Contrary to the claims of these critics, Nowruz is not exclusively a non-Muslim celebration nor solely an Iranian holiday indifferent to Gaza. This festival is observed by numerous Shia communities across India, Pakistan, Azerbaijan, Iraq, and Turkey. The debate on whether Nowruz is a cultural festivity or has Islamic roots does not diminish its significance to these communities.

The SMF emphasizes that the humanitarian crisis in Gaza transcends religious, regional, and ethnic boundaries; it is a matter of universal human rights. The Foundation commends President Biden for addressing this issue in the Nowruz statement and urges for more substantial action rather than divisive rhetoric online.

Executive Director Husain, whose insights were sought by Politico, reiterates that unity and scholarly discourse should prevail over attempts to isolate Shia Muslims or any community.

The SMF remains committed to fostering understanding and advocating for the rights of all individuals, regardless of their background or beliefs.


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