White House holds ‘Listening Session’ on Islamophobia

White House-Photo: REUTERS-Jason Reed

The White House held what it called a ‘Listening Session on Islamophobia,’ May 2, 2023, led  by, among others, Second Gentleman Douglas Emhoff, White House Domestic Policy Advisor Ambassador Susan Rice, and U.S. Ambassador at Large for International Religious Freedom Rashad Hussain. Also engaging in the discussion were Deputy Homeland Security Advisor Joshua Geltzer, and Office of Public Engagement Director Stephen Benjamin.

There were several Indian Americans among the Muslim community leaders who joined the discussion which was aimed at examining ongoing efforts to counter Islamophobia. The  White House described ‘Islamophobia’ as ‘hate, discrimination, or bias directed at people who are or are perceived to be Muslim.’

During the convening, Muslim leaders outlined the challenges facing their communities and shared recommendations for confronting Islamophobia and all forms of hate and bigotry, a May 3, readout of the meeting from the White House, said.

Participants in the discussions included:

  • Imam Mohamed Magid, Executive Imam, All Dulles Area Muslim Society (ADAMS)
  • Dalia Mogahed, Director of Research, Institute for Social Policy & Understanding
  • Suzanne Barakat, Board Chair, Our Three Winners
  • Rais Bhuiyan, Founder and President, World Without Hate
  • Arsalan Suleman, President and Co-Founder, America Indivisible
  • Robert McCaw, Government Affairs Director, Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR)
  • Farhan Latif, President, El-Hibri Foundation
  • Catherine Orsborn, Director of Program Operations, El-Hibri Foundation
  • Wa’el Alzayat, CEO, Emgage
  • Iman Awad, Deputy Director, Emgage
  • Maha Elgenaidi, Founder and Executive Director, Islamic Networks Group
  • Rahmah Abdulaleem, Executive Director, Karamah
  • Omar Farah, Executive Director, Muslim Advocates
  • Salam Al-Marayati, President, Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC)
  • Faiyaz Hussain, Senior Advisor for Strategy, Policy, and Programs, Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC)
  • Rahat Husain, President, Shia Muslim Foundation

Administration officials “conveyed their gratitude to the participants for their leadership and underscored the President’s commitment to countering Islamophobia,” the readout said.

The listening session followed President Biden’s White House Reception to celebrate Eid al-Fitr, “and is a part of the ongoing efforts of the President’s interagency task force to counter antisemitism, Islamophobia, and related forms of bias and discrimination within the United States,” the White House said.



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