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Secretary Cardona Discusses with National Muslim, Arab, and Sikh Leaders the Alarming Rise of Islamophobia and Anti-Arab Hate in Schools and Colleges

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U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona, Deputy Secretary Cindy Marten, and other senior Biden-Harris Administration officials today met with national Muslim, Arab, and Sikh organization leaders. During the meeting, they discussed new actions and resources the Biden-Harris Administration has announced to counter the alarming uptick in instances of Islamophobia, Antisemitism, and hate-fueled threats and violence more broadly, in schools and college campuses. 

The Administration officials heard from the leaders about the extremely disturbing pattern of hate and threats of violence in schools and college campuses since the October 7 Hamas terrorist attacks in Israel. Secretary Cardona unequivocally denounced Islamophobia, anti-Arab bigotry, Antisemitism, and all forms of hate.

This meeting follows a similar engagement with Jewish leaders to discuss Antisemitism in schools and college campuses.

Last week, the U.S. Department of Education’s (Department) Office for Civil Rights (OCR) released a Dear Colleague letter reminding PreK-12 schools and institutions of higher education of their legal obligations under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VI) to provide all students, including students who are or are perceived to be Jewish, Israeli, Muslim, Arab, or Palestinian, a school environment free from discrimination based on race, color, or national origin. OCR also expedited its update of its intake form for discrimination complaints under Title VI of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, to specifically state that certain forms of Islamophobia and antisemitism are prohibited by this law.

The Department also announced a series of resources it has released since the October 7 attacks. The Department’s Center for Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships published a landing page specifically for resources to address Islamophobia. Earlier this month, the White House announced that the Biden-Harris Administration will develop the first-ever U.S. National Strategy to Counter Islamophobia

Under the leadership of President Biden and Vice President Harris, the Administration and the Department will continue to engage with leading organizations and students to hear from them directly and take additional actions to counter Islamophobia, anti-Arab bigotry, and all other forms of hate.

Additional participants in the meeting included:  

  • Rahmah Abdulaleem, President-Elect, National Association of Muslim Lawyers
  • Dr. Debbie Almontaser, Founder and CEO, Bridging Cultures Group
  • Wa’el Alzayat, CEO, Emgage
  • Lina Assi, Advocacy Manager, Palestine Legal
  • Abed Ayoub, National Executive Director, American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee
  • Maya Berry, Executive Director, Arab American Institute
  • Dr. Amal David, Co-founder, Arab America Foundation
  • Dr. Amaarah DeCuir, School of Education, American University
  • Maha Elgenaidi, Founder and Executive Director, Islamic Networks Group
  • Johaer Jilani, Muslim Students Association National
  • Tasneem Noor, Programs Director, Muslim-Jewish New Ground
  • Harman Singh, Policy and Education Director, Sikh Coalition
  • Dr. Shirin Sinnar, Stanford University

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