Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden said Monday, “I wish we taught more in our schools about the Islamic faith … What people don’t realize is … we all come from the same root here, in terms of our fundamental basic beliefs.”
The statement, before an online gathering of the Muslim advocacy group Emgage Action, was unusual, according to National Public Radio — and strategic. NPR reported, “Historically, Democrats have been cautious about openly courting Muslim voters. Clinton never publicly spoke to Muslim groups. And Barack Obama famously visited Cairo in early 2009 to give a speech to the Muslim world, but he never stepped foot inside a mosque as president until the year he was leaving office.”
Biden has been working for Muslim votes. Although the group is small, about 1% of the country’s population, it is larger in critical states Florida and Michigan, and the latter was decided by a margin of less than 1% in 2016.
What did Biden mean when he said, “we all come from the same root?”
He was referencing the shared religious traditions of Jews, Christians and Muslims as Abrahamic religions. It is one of the issues detailed in the Bias Busters series.