For one African Muslim involved in Mott Haven affairs, there is a great divide between the two candidates for President in the Nov. 3 election.
Community Board 1 member Abdoulaye Diogo Balde believes that the Democratic nominee Joe Biden offers hope for Bronx Muslims, and Donald Trump does not. One key difference between the candidates, he said, is that Biden will listen to all communities.
“If he becomes the President, he will be a President for everybody,” said Balde, crediting Biden’s background as a public servant for his ability to better handle political decisions than Trump. However, he suspects some Muslims won’t vote for Democratic party candidates either because Democrats have a recent history of acting internationally without consulting other countries.
The Obama administration’s decision to intervene militarily in Libya in 2011 meant that “millions of Africans are suffering,” said Balde.
Still, Balde is confident that Biden learned a lesson from his decisions on Iraq and Libya, and is a good fit to lead, not only for the Muslim community.
“Every human being counts in this,” he said.
Although religious leaders from South Bronx mosques and community centers declined to offer opinions about the candidates, leaders from surrounding areas made it clear that Biden is the more logical choice for the Muslim communities.
Imam Musa Drammeh, chairman of the Islamic Cultural Center of North America in Parkchester, makes no bones about who he is voting for. The Republican Party has just as little regard for the well-being of all Americans as it does for immigrants, said Drammeh. In contrast, Biden’s 40-some years of public service qualifies him as “one of the most honorable public servants this nation has ever produced,” he said.
“Biden was older, more experienced than Obama,” said Drammeh. “But yet Biden was able to humble himself enough to listen and work with Obama, as a subordinate.”
When asked to compare the two candidates for President, Oumou Bah, co-chair of the Harlem-based African Diaspora For Biden, doesn’t hesitate to make her feelings known.
“(Trump’s) policies towards African communities, domestically and abroad, have impacted us negatively,” said Bah.
With the 2020 election less than a month away, African-Muslim New Yorkers who spoke with The Herald say they support the Democratic nominee Joe Biden.
In 2018, President Trump referred derisively to African countries, when he was quoted asking “Why are we having all these people from shithole countries come here?”
However, the support many in the African-Muslim community express for Biden is tempered by his vote to support the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2002.
Bah believes that the president has mishandled key issues like the economy, trade, immigration and education, not only for his fellow African immigrants but for all Americans.