July 13, 2024

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FACT SHEET: Biden-Harris Administration Takes Action to Counter Islamophobia

FACT SHEET: Biden-Harris Administration Takes Action to Counter Islamophobia
Statement by President Joe Biden on the Occasion of Eid al-Adha

As Muslims in America and around the world commemorate Eid-al-Adha this year, the holiday arrives at a time of deep pain for communities at home and abroad. In addition to the devastating humanitarian impacts of the ongoing fighting in Gaza, there has been a rise in harassment, bigotry and horrifying violence towards Muslim, Arab and Palestinian Americans. […]

The post FACT SHEET: Biden-Harris Administration Takes Action to Counter Islamophobia first appeared on Social Gov.

As Muslims in America and around the world commemorate Eid-al-Adha this year, the holiday arrives at a time of deep pain for communities at home and abroad. In addition to the devastating humanitarian impacts of the ongoing fighting in Gaza, there has been a rise in harassment, bigotry and horrifying violence towards Muslim, Arab and Palestinian Americans.

To address discrimination and violence, last November the Biden-Harris Administration announced the development of the first-ever U.S. National Strategy to Counter Islamophobia and Related Forms of Bias and Discrimination, including hate against Arab, Sikh and South Asian Americans (“the Strategy”). Building on work that had been underway since 2021, departments and agencies across the government are in close communication with communities regarding their concerns and recommendations on societal and institutional discrimination as we continue to develop the Strategy. Over the past year, the Administration has taken steps to support these communities, including the following actions: 

  • On March 15, 2024, President Biden became the first U.S. President to recognize the International Day to Combat Islamophobia. In his statement, President Biden recognized the violence and hate that Muslims worldwide too often face because of their religious beliefs—and the ugly resurgence of Islamophobia in the wake of the devastating war in Gaza. He rededicated his Administration to help build a world where people of all faiths and all backgrounds are free to live without fear of persecution. To mark this day, the Department of Education’s (ED) Office for Civil Rights (OCR) issued a Dear Colleague Letter reminding schools of their legal obligation under Title VI to address discrimination, including harassment, based on race, color or national origin, including discrimination against students who are or are perceived to be Muslim, Arab, Sikh, South Asian, Hindu or Palestinian based on shared ancestry or ethnic characteristics. U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland also issued a statement recommitting the Justice Department (DOJ) to protecting Muslim Americans from discrimination and hate-fueled violence, and DOJ published resources on hate crimes, combating religious discrimination, combating national origin discrimination and religious land use protections.   
  • Through the Fiscal Year 2024 National Security Supplemental, President Biden secured an additional $400 million for the Nonprofit Security Grant Program, which funds security improvements and training to nonprofits and houses of worship, including mosques. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and DOJ published a resource guide titled, “Protecting Places of Worship: Six Steps to Enhance Security Against Targeted Violence,” outlining actions Muslim and other faith-based communities and houses of worship can take to increase security through easily implementable steps that sustain an open and welcoming environment. In addition, DHS conducted a series of regional and online workshops on protecting places of worship, including with Muslim organizations and communities, which featured opportunities for communities to offer feedback to help inform DHS policies and practices. To receive information about future engagements, please contact [email protected]
  • The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) published a fact sheet titled, “Anti-Arab, Anti-Middle Eastern, Anti-Muslim, and Antisemitic Discrimination are Illegal,” which highlights employees’ rights related to disparate treatment, segregation, harassment, religious accommodations and retaliation, and which the EEOC has shared at over 70 outreach and education events already this Fiscal Year.
  • ED shared federal campus safety resources that schools, faculty and staff, parents and students can use, including a hate crime response guide, a resource guide on the threat of doxing and information about how to file a complaint alleging discrimination based on race, color or national origin. To safeguard religious freedom rights of K-12 students, ED also continues to disseminate its recently updated guidance on protected prayer and other religious expression in elementary and secondary schools. Ahead of the start of Ramadan, the ED-funded National Center for Safe and Supportive Learning Environments released an expanded collection of specialized K-12 educator resources for supporting Muslim students. 
  • ED OCR issued a Dear Colleague Letter in May 2024 providing information on the legal analyses it uses to determine whether discrimination exists and examples of conduct that, depending on facts and circumstances, could raise concerns under Title VI of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. This letter also includes a section on First Amendment considerations.
  • The Department of Labor released a “Know Your Rights” document for union members on discrimination based on actual or perceived religion, shared ancestry or ethnic characteristics. It notes that union members and workers—including those who are, or are perceived to be, Muslim, Arab, Middle Eastern, Palestinian, Sikh and South Asian—have the right to be free from workplace discrimination based on religion, national origin or race.
  • The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced the availability of $500,000 to support partnerships between state and local fair housing agencies and community-based organizations. Among the overall funds available to support state and local partnerships to combat housing discrimination, HUD has prioritized use of these funds to combat religious discrimination, including Islamophobia and Antisemitism, through education and outreach activities. These funds are available to jurisdictions that enforce fair housing laws under cooperative agreement with HUD through its Fair Housing Assistance Program.     
  • USDA has worked to increase access to culturally appropriate foods for USDA customers with religious dietary needs, including those who need halal food. This work has included engagement with halal food producers, processors and vendors; expanding and creating greater awareness of the number of halal or halal-certified foods in USDA’s food procurement and available to program operators; training schools on how to meet students’ religious dietary needs for the National School Lunch and School Breakfast programs; developing resources for food bank partners; and expanding outreach and technical assistance for halal or kosher meat processors. USDA hosted a discussion with the commercial U.S. halal food industry to discuss opportunities for further collaboration, including to address food insufficiency in schools and underserved communities across America. Also, USDA organized a summit in Omaha, Nebraska on countering Islamophobia, Antisemitism, and related forms of hatred and bias in rural America.
  • The Office of Management and Budget announced that Middle Eastern or North African (MENA) is now a reporting category that all federal agencies must use when collecting information on race and ethnicity, including in the decennial census, to generate more accurate and useful data across the federal Government. Federal agencies, including the Census Bureau, will continue ongoing engagement with MENA communities as they begin implementing this update into censuses, surveys and forms.
  • The President’s Committee for the Arts and the Humanities, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Institute of Museum and Library Services, and the National Endowment for the Humanities launched Artists for Understanding, a new initiative that brings together a diverse community of artists and cultural luminaries who share a common belief in the power of the arts and humanities to counter all forms of hate, including bias and discrimination against Arab, Jewish, Muslim, Palestinian, Sikh and South Asian Americans.
  • For the first time, eight agencies—the Departments of Agriculture, Health and Human Services, Homeland Security, Housing and Urban Development, Interior, Labor, Transportation, and Treasury—clarified in writing that Title VI of the 1964 Civil Rights Act prohibits discrimination based on shared ancestry or ethnic characteristics, including certain forms of Islamophobic, Antisemitic and related forms of discrimination and bias in federally funded programs and activities.
  • The Department of Defense leveraged existing survey data to estimate the prevalence of potential Islamophobic and Antisemitic behavior in the military workplace to evaluate its policies to counter discrimination, discriminatory harassment and extremist activity. This analysis was the first to specifically estimate the prevalence of potential Islamophobic and Antisemitic activity in the military workplace, with the goal of identifying gaps to be addressed in future policies, programs and procedures.
  • The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) incorporated training on countering anti-Muslim and anti-Sikh bias, Antisemitism and related forms of bias and discrimination into its Chaplain Orientation Program, which teaches VA chaplains how to respond to and connect with veterans.

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Official news published at https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/statements-releases/2024/06/16/fact-sheet-biden-%E2%81%A0harris-administration-takes-action-to-counter-islamophobia/

The post FACT SHEET: Biden-Harris Administration Takes Action to Counter Islamophobia first appeared on Social Gov.