Photo Credits: HIV Plus
This years Islamic Society of North America's annual convention took place in Houston and it attracted some major names. Amongst them was Senator Bernie Sanders who became the first presidential candidate to address the country's biggest gathering of Muslims together with former U.S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro, who is also a Democratic presidential candidate. They spoke about the necessity to create progressive coalitions and build solidarity between communities if any Democratic candidate hopes to win in 2020 election race and defeat President Trump.
“I am here today because I believe in the concept of solidarity, and the need for all of us, no matter where we come from or what our background is, to stand together in the struggle for justice and human rights,” Sanders told the approximately 6,000 attendees at the forum, according to Religion News Service. Sanders’ remarks — carefully tailored for his audience to include discussions of health care and hate crimes, mass shootings and Middle East interventions — received a standing ovation, thunderous applause and chants of “Bernie!” Sanders also pointed out that thousands of non-Muslims protested at the airports all across the country when the Trump administration imposed Muslim travel ban. He also reminded the audience that Americans have responded to the Trump administration by voting Muslims into Congress and state governments across the U.S. showing solidarity with Muslim people.
Sanders has already done a lot to win the hearts of the convention audience even before he addressed them from the stage. He has criticized Israel's treatment of Palestinians, he has helped pass a bill to end American involvement in Yemen's deadly civil war and he defended Muslim congresswomen, Ilhan Omar, when she was accused of anti-Semitism by Democrats. Besides all of this, Sanders was introduced at the convention by Faiz Shakir, his campaign manager, who is the first Muslim to manage a major presidential campaign.
Shakir told Religion News Service in an interview that the candidate’s outreach to Muslims is “consistent with his larger ecumenical approach.” He pointed to Sanders’ meeting with the rabbi of Pittsburgh’s Tree of Life synagogue as well as his visits to various churches. “He goes to share his vision of community that he thinks we need to build in America,” said Shakir, as Religion News Service reports. “An overarching premise of his domestic policy agenda is to say, ‘I should think about your family as if they are my own and you should think about my family as if they are your own.’”