By Sabrina Gledhill
Although it's not strictly speaking a "racial" issue, I've been struck how segments of the Muslim community - particulary the courageous Muslims against Sharia - are enraged with Obama for his failure to add a "so what if I were?" to his denial that he is a Muslim. He has changed the accusation on his "Fight the Smears" site to "is a secret Muslim," but that has done nothing to assuage the fury.
First, I believe that Muslims against Sharia are absolutely right - Barack Hussein Obama should and could have taken a firm stand from the very beginning. If blacks and women have a right to be elected President of the United States, then so do Muslims - there is nothing in the US Constitution to the contrary.
Branding someone a terrorist because he or she is a Muslim - or is a Christian with a Muslim name - is just as absurd as it would have been to call everyone with an Irish name a terrorist when the IRA were setting off bombs in Northern Ireland and other parts of the UK. That would have included every Kyle, Kevin and Connor in the US of A. (I'm also reminded of the time when Kennedy's opponents railed against him because he was a Catholic, claiming that he would be controlled by the Pope.)
Although Obama should have said "I'm not a Muslim, but even if I were, there would be nothing wrong with that," the Muslims' worst enemies are Karl Rove and all those who use Rovian tactics, Fox News commentators and conservative bloggers and emailers who fuel and pander to prejudice and bigotry by sending out scurrilous libels of Obama and, by association, the Muslim community, such as emails and comments about 99% of terrorists being "Muslim males between the ages of 18 and 40" (try Googling the words in quotes or variations thereof). The injustice to the Muslim community is so staggering that the fact that Obama is 46 and a Christian seems hardly worth mentioning. Even NY Mayor Bloomberg has denounced the "whisper campaign". In this regard, it is worthwhile reading this NY Times article on how lies live and grow in the brain.
If Senator Obama is elected President of the United States, I hope he will feel secure and confident enough to take a firm stand in favour of the peaceloving Muslim community and start the healing process. They, too, have a right to fight off slurs and live the "American dream."