Chicago: After being turned away from a White House Eid celebration, Syrian American Mayor Mohamed T. Khairullah urged US President Joe Biden to "stop" what he called racism and discrimination against Arab and Muslim Americans.
Khairullah, who emigrated from Syria in 1980 and worked as a volunteer firefighter there, was elected to the borough council of Prospect Park, New Jersey, for the first time in 2001. He has been the city's mayor since 2005. He was denied entry to Biden's Eid celebration on May 1 despite the White House's invitation, and the Secret Service has refused to explain why.
Khairullah claimed during an appearance on The Ray Hanania Radio Show that it was Biden's duty to put an end to the systemic "racism" and "discrimination" against Muslims and Arabs.
The president must put a stop to this nonsense right away. The Bush administration, which was a Republican administration, started this back in 2003. I was added in 2019 while the government was run by Republicans. Now the Democrats must demonstrate that they are not like the opposition, according to Khairullah.
"This is not a problem that is about me. I am at peace with myself entirely. The White House is somewhere I've been before. Meeting the president and other Muslim leaders would have been fantastic. But this is about those who are currently unable to speak for themselves. That list is forbidden. It's against the law. And it is discriminatory in a variety of ways. The president must dissolve it, and it must do so immediately.
Biden greeted more than 400 Muslims at the White House reception, including Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib, without mentioning Arabs or Muslims who were turned away from the event, like mayor Khairullah.
We're determined to fight against all forms of hatred, including Islamophobia, which is significant to me, said Biden. My administration has made this a top priority, which is why I formed an interagency task force to address attacks on Muslims and prejudice and discrimination against Muslims.
And at the United We Stand summit that we held in September of last year, this was one of the main topics. Being a nation built on freedom and justice for all requires us to stand up against anti-Muslim prejudice. I'll end by saying this. Muslims have always been a part of American culture. Muslims participated in the War for Independence by fighting alongside the patriots.
Khairullah stated that while he would have loved to hear Biden "stand up for justice" for Muslims and Arabs, he is instead "disappointed" that the White House and the Secret Service are giving him the "runaround" in regards to the "security list" of Arabs and Muslims on which his name is ostensibly included.
"I'm on a list of some kind. I'm a target of some description. We move to this level of making this public when they start erecting barriers and refusing to respond, when there is a lack of transparency. I'm not alone in this.
That list currently has 1.5 million entries, and it is ever-expanding. People like me lack access to a fair trial. Nothing can be done to remove your name from the list. Even the list will not be acknowledged by them. They would still be claiming they have no idea what is going on and that you have been chosen at random if it weren't for the list being leaked on January 26. This is a joke. It is not appropriate for our government to take this action.
"I suppose that someone is viewing you as a suspect because of your name and background. I'm going to put it this way. The system has a pervasive racism. Our institutions and our Constitution were created with the people in mind. However, that does not imply that racism exists within the system.
Khairullah added that the issue was more about racism than politics and that the public should be held accountable for the government, "but that is not what happens."
They won't apologise, they say. They won't actually comment on it. during the White House press briefing. Basically, they advised me to speak with the Secret Service. We are unable to comment on it, the Secret Service is going to say. We are being included in that loop by them. According to some, the event was for Muslims. It isn't racial. You simply are. Yes, the event was for Muslims, I agree. However, racism is a problem in our system.
Since his last visit to Syria in December 2015, according to Khairullah, who claims to have been "placed on the list" for the first time in 2019, when former President Donald J. Trump was in office, he has not returned. The inclusion could be explained by the fact that Khairullah is a Democrat and Trump is a Republican.
He claimed that while still in Syria, FBI agents approached him and asked him to "be an informant," to which he replied that he "doesn't have connections with anyone in Syria."
Khairullah claimed that "some people are placed on the list as punishment for refusing to be an FBI informant."
A request for comment was not answered by the White House. In a press conference, the Council on American-Islamic Relations, or CAIR, of New Jersey demanded that Biden "apologise" to Khairullah and end the alleged "watch list."