(RNS) — I spoke this week at the 2020 Democratic National Convention’s Interfaith Council meeting. As refreshing as it was to hear voices encouraging change from the last four years, it felt like some things were still being missed.
Although Muslims were present at the DNC, it definitely seemed like we were being kept on the sidelines.
Anti-Muslim sentiment is unsurprisingly commonplace among Republican politicians in the United States. Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign promises of a “total and complete shutdown” of the country’s borders to Muslims were not a starting point, but just one of many Islamophobic public statements made by a Republican candidate for president that year.
These days, it would be hard to find a Republican politician who hasn’t said something xenophobic about Muslims, and although the acknowledgment is not where it could be, there is still some acknowledgment of Republican Islamophobia nonetheless.
Yet, for some reason, the role Democrats play in deepening Islamophobia is hardly ever acknowledged or discussed.
This week, Joe Biden tweeted a note of thanks to Ady Barkan, an Israeli American lawyer and progressive activist who spoke on the main stage of the DNC’s second night of programs: “Thank you, @AdyBarkan for your courage and for all that you do to ensure a more just, more equal America. #DemConvention.”
The day after, Barkan demonstrated this ethic in a tweet that supported Linda Sarsour in response to the Biden campaign’s disavowal of her.
Sarsour is a Palestinian Muslim woman well-known for her social justice work on behalf of marginalized communities of all backgrounds. She spoke at the DNC as well and, to no one’s surprise, her presence was immediately controversial.
She speaks out against anti-Blackness, mistreatment of women and so much more.