In a recent turn of events, US President Joe Biden found himself privately apologizing to a group of Muslim Americans for what they perceived as ‘excessive skepticism’ regarding the Palestinian death toll released by the Hamas-run Ministry of Health.
The controversy unfolded after Biden publicly dismissed the Palestinian death toll on October 25, prompting a heated meeting with five community figureheads who were hand-picked by the White House.
The press conference at the White House captured Biden expressing doubt about the accuracy of the Palestinian-reported casualties, stating, ‘I have no notion that the Palestinians are telling the truth about how many people are killed.’
This sparked frustration and anger among the selected community leaders, extending their discussions beyond the scheduled time.
The attendees, including notable figures like Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison and interfaith leader Imam Mohamed Magid, aimed to press Biden on the issue of a ceasefire, expressing their dissatisfaction with the president’s public dismissal of the high death toll in Gaza.
The controversy was amplified by the fact that Hamas, a known terrorist organization, provided the death toll figures, leading to cautious consideration of the numbers at the beginning of the conflict.
Despite the carefully chosen group expressing personal connections to those affected in Gaza, Biden allegedly apologized during the meeting, acknowledging his disappointment and vowing to ‘do better.’
The episode raised concerns about the impact of Biden’s statements on the Muslim community in the United States, with attendees linking the suffering in Gaza to an increased likelihood of Islamophobic attacks domestically.
Despite the tension, some participants expressed hope that Biden’s empathetic response during the meeting would translate into meaningful actions.