For the past few months, not a day went by without the words "Muslim" and "Obama" being mentioned in the same sentence. From the divisive shouts and jeers at McCain rallies to the Op-Ed pages of The New York Times to an interview with Colin Powell on NBC's "Meet the Press," Muslims--or at least the mention of them--have been more prevalent this campaign year than "Joe the Plumber."
But beyond the use of the term Muslim as a pejorative, and accusations by the far right that Obama was himself a secret follower of the Quran, what did real Muslim-Americans think of the Chicago senator? And how did they vote? The American Muslim Task Force on Civil Rights and Elections released a poll today of over 600 Muslims from more than 10 states, including Florida and Pennsylvania, and it revealed that 89 percent of respondents voted for Obama, while only 2 percent voted for McCain. It also indicated that 95 percent of Muslims polled cast a ballot in this year's presidential election--the highest turnout in a U.S. election ever--and 14 percent of those were first-time voters. The Gallup Center for Muslim studies estimates that U.S. Muslims favored Obama in greater numbers than did Hispanics (67 percent of whom voted for Obama) and nearly matched that of African-Americans, 93 percent of whom voted for Obama. More than two thirds who were polled said the economy was the most important issue affecting their decision on Nov. 4th, while 16 percent said the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan informed their vote--numbers that put Muslims roughly on a par with the general population.
Many Muslim Americans also changed their party affiliations for this election. The country's Muslim population, estimated at between 7 to 8 million, has traditionally voted along conservative, Republican lines. Today, more than two thirds of American Muslims polled say they consider themselves to be Democrats, while only 4 percent see themselves as Republicans (29 percent identified themselves as Independents.) The shift began in 2004--in part because of the GOP's mishandling of civil liberties, from wiretapping American citizens to detaining Muslims in the United States and Guantanamo without trial, and because of the war in Iraq. This year, many more were drawn into the Democratic party by Obama himself. Muslims across the country were captivated by the senator's promise of unity and hope. On the Muslim-Americans for Obama Web site (Mafo2008.com), their mission statement includes the following: "That we support Barack Obama because, among other reasons, he rejects the politics of fear, challenging our nation to embrace its collective identity, where each American has a stake in the success and well-being of every American."
"All the Muslim Americans I know were excited and electrified by him," says Salman Ahmed, the New York-based guitarist and singer of the Pakistani-American rock band Junoon. He's dedicated several recent concerts to getting the vote out for Obama. "It was not like 'Good, Obama gets the Muslim world.' It was 'Oh my God! Here's a guy who understands the world, us, America.' Voting for him was a no brainer."
But many Muslims kept their presidential preference a secret in the months leading up to Super Tuesday, fearing that an endorsement from them might in fact work against Obama. After all, this was an election year in which the word "Muslim" was used as shorthand to connote anti-American leanings and a hidden love of terrorism. A recent study by Fairness & Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR), a media watchdog group, found that the mainstream press didn't do enough to challenge the election-year smears of Islam by such conservative talk show hosts as Rush Limbaugh and Michael Savage, or counter accusations that Obama was "one of them" by detractors such as "Obama Nation" author Jerome Corsi. "We are the bogeyman now," joked a secular Muslim woman last month during a conversation regarding Obama (she preferred to remain anonymous). "Yes, I want to shout my endorsement of him from the rooftops, but I do not want to mess up any chance of Obama becoming the next president. How crazy is this position we've been put in?"
But the ploy to connect Obama to a demonized Islam may have backfired. Weeks before the election, a nonprofit group which calls itself the Clarion Fund sent out an anti-Muslim DVD titled "Obsession" in Sunday papers across America; copies were also mailed to various voters in swing states. The DVD paired images of Nazis with images of Muslims, over and over and over again. Its arrival on the eve of the election was clearly intended to scare voters into supporting McCain, turning them against the candidate whose middle name happens to be "Hussein." "It was intended to be a way of linking Obama to Islam, but it backfired when a lot of people began saying wait, what's going on?" says Jen'nan Read, a professor of sociology at Duke University. "It not only mobilized many Muslim-American voters, but brought out other undecided voters in support of Obama rather than McCain."
Did Muslims have any apprehensions of their own about Obama? The candidate's stance on Pakistan, and his willingness to sanction military strikes against the nation if the government there did not hunt down terrorist threats to the Americans' satisfaction, certainly troubled some of Pakistani descent. But a greater worry, shared by American Muslims of all stripes, was that Obama rarely seemed to defend them when the word "Muslim" was used as a slur. Instead, it took others like CNN's Campbell Brown and, remarkably, former Secretary of State Colin Powell, to say "and so what if he was?" whenever someone inaccurately accused Obama of being a Muslim. "That was not a deal-breaker for me," says immigration attorney Engy Abdelkader, a New Jersey native and Obama supporter. "I was a little disappointed I didn't hear more from him, but he did say on Larry King that the comments were not only untrue, but insulting to Muslims." Musician Salman Ahmed says he was disappointed too, but felt the need to cut his candidate some slack. "We understood that we could not hold him up to defend the entire Muslim community. It was just an unspoken thing--that he was treading this very fine line."
Muslim-American Web sites, blogs and Myspace pages have gone wild with enthusiastic posts since Obama's win ("Yes We Did!" read one on Mafo2008.com).Supporters like Abdelkader say they couldn't be happier, and that Obama's victory reignited their faith in the American dream. "His victory is a reaffirmation of what we were taught growing up in America," she says. "That you're not supposed to judge by religion or the color of someone's skin. I remember during one of his rallies, it was reported that women in hijabs were asked to move out of camera shot. When Obama found out what his staffers did, his response was to pick up the phone and call those women and apologize. It really resonated with me. What other politician would do that?"
For your info Brother, in my first prayer of the day, I recite the salawat for our Prophet Muhammad ( s.a.w ) the ahlul bait, the sahaba, and also those that followed them until the final day. I also pray for Sayidinna Hassan and Hussein ( r.a. ) and I pray for forgiveness for all Muslims.
And in my work, I do come across our other Brothers, even the Sunni and Syiah. My heart cried out for our Palestinian brothers and sisters for their suffering especially those in Gaza now. Take care Brother Zinedine, and may the Baraqah and Rahmah from ALLAH be always be bestowed upon you and family. Jazaku' Allah khairan again.
Insya ALLAH Brother, I'll keep in touch with you.
I am very touched by your kind words. They solidify our brotherhood in Allah (Al-ukhuwa fillah) which is exactly what we Muslims Shia & Sunna need most today. I try to make the most of this verse from the Holy Quran: "Wa saloo ahla dhikr in kuntum laa ta'alamoon" meaning Ask the experts if you don't know (the answers).
This is what I have been doing since 1979. I converted one of my 3 bedrooms into a library & office room. No discrimination there. I have all kinds of books Islamic & non Islamic. I even have a Chinese Quran for my Chinese friends. It's so interesting to find out sometimes in the early 1980's from reading a book that most French laws aka "Canon Napoleon" borrowed heavily from the science of jurisprudence of Imam Malik. All it takes to see this striking evidence is to read this book: (Matn Dardeer fi sharh al Imam Khalil).
Br Kris: Here is my email address [email protected] so keep in touch!
Jazaaka Allahu alfa hasana wa eid Mubaarak Saeed insha Allah!
We all learn from one another and above all, our ukhwah as Muslims created an eternal Brotherhood love in us as Muslims. It doesn't matter whether we are Maliki, or Shafie' or Hanafi or Hambali or even Wahabbi, or Syiah. I'm a Shafie' but I love all my Muslim brothers and sisters.
By the way, Imam Malik compiled the " marsalih mursalah " a code of laws, which is useful for Muslim armies in times of way. Shafi'e obligatory ibadah ethics is comprehensive. Imam Hanafi ways are good for trade and commerce. Imam Hambali methods of how to live in difficult environments and how to acclimatise with it are useful too.
Our present Syiah brothers in Iran are known for resilience and temerity, they stood up against the Zionist in midst of pressure and we must support them. This is no time for discussing trivial mazhab differences, the enemies of Islam doesn't care whether it's a Sunni or Syiah, they'll maim us and try to onslaught us if and when they can. My argument is always, what is it that binds both Sunnis and Syiahs together, it's the same Quran that we hold on to, unlike the Christians who have different versions of Bibles.
At at the end of the day Brother, it is ALLAH pleasure and Rahmah that we, all Muslims sought for.
Jazaku' Allah Khairan Khatira to you again Brother and may the Rahmah and Baraqah from ALLAH will always be bestowed upon you and your family, and to all our Muslim Brothers and Sisters worldwide.
I must admit brother Kris that I am no expert at all in Finance and Economics. My bilingual degree is in Sociology & International Relations.
I have learned something new from you today. I am Maliki but open of course to the other four schools of fiqh. I will take a look at my three volume book "Fiqh Sunnah" by Sayyed Sabeq & check the economics and finace section in Islamic jurisprudence.
Jazaaka Allahu Khairan again:)
As law is my discipline, let me be proud to share with you here that the maxim of common law " that it's better to acquit 10 guilty person than to convict one innocent individual " , while the British Common law traditions takes pride of, is actually originating from the Hanafi school of thoughts.
And yes, I do read the Islamic economics of muamalat, it was comparative studies for my other degree. The Hanafi school of thoughts are very much advance in the field of economics, and one evident is the al Mejelle, the Turkish economic transactions during the Othmaniah rule.
Infact Islamic economics covers matters comprehensively, it includes banking, insurance, mortgage, land developments, or Ihya al mawat, pawning or mortgage or al rahn and many other areas. Today the Islamic Bank of Malaysia is the 2nd. or 3rd. biggest bank and it operates on Islamic principles. And many conventional banks are trying to emulate Islamic banking. On the recent financial crisis and the market meltdown globally, like I said in one previous post, no one actually knows why financial markets crumbled, and why capitalist business are failing. And the free fall continues. But Brother, I say this in one post, and I say this again ; this is ALLAH retribution to the oppressive capitalism and their ways of oppressing and arm twisting the weaker countries. In fact I believe I was right because recently George Bush denied that the market meltdown was because of failed capitalism. But it is the disaster that was brought by capitalist ways that leads to this global crisis.
Thank you Brother and we'll share more knowledge in the future.
I am very proud of your objective attitude towards your co-workers. Did you know that the overtime pay was an islamic idea first introduced to the world by Khalifa Umar Ibn Alkhattab! The idea of a pension plan was also an Islamic idea and a old man ( A Jewish old man) also benefited from it. We're talking about 7th century here. Not to mention Bayt Mal Almuslimeen (modern day Welfare State) is also an Islamic idea so was Human Rights idea. Also, I wonder if Romesh, I suppose you're Indian. Do you know that India had no recorded history until the advent of Muslims and Islam? Thanks to historian and scientist Al Bayruni & other Muslim historians your country has a history.
So stop lecturing to us and insulting our civilisation because no matter how underdevelopped we are today like India is, our civilisation is still the greatest especially that of THE MOORS!!!
In your comment, you suggest that practicing the aspects of one's religion is not an important ideal. You also state Muslims should learn from the Jews in the ways of getting rich. May I ask you a question? Do you think everybody's wish on Earth to get rich (quick)? I assure you it is not. Practicing one's religion is also important. Can you imagine what it would be like if all humans dropped their religious values and and moral ettiquitte in oreder to get rich? The world would become more choatic than it already is. You should reconsider your thoughtless opinion.
- A concerned, Muslim
Obama will be no different - look at his 1st appt. BTW, look at who Sonal Shah is on his staff. Put 1+1 together and if you still cannot see his perspective, then you deserve to support Obama.
Enjoy the Obama Kool-Aid. We Muslims should not look to non-Muslims for hope. By his own account, Obama has said he is a Christian. Remember the words in Qur'an: 'Never will the Jews and Christians be satisfied with until you follow their way...' Whose words do you believe - Allah (SWT) or Obamas word - and will you compromise to get into the graces of Obama.
I can't blame him for not having Islam in his life, his father was not practicing or present in his life. But I do wish he had kept in touch with his Kenyan family and show some love for them, as he did for his grandmother who raised him.
I concurr with the views of my dearest Brother Babandi A.Gumel, and Brother Zinedine. I need not add anything here. But just to re-emphasize what Brother Babandi said that a true Muslim harbours no hatred to anyone. He invites them to the true deen of Islam. I have non Muslim staffs under my charge, yet when it comes to working overtime on Sundays, I excuse them to attend their mass in their church. A true Muslim respects the choice of other human beings, and yet he adopts wisdom in calling them to the truth of Islam.
To Romesh, I think you are the noisiest old wind bag that I've come across in this website. If you accuses Muslim of being noisy and ineffective, then you are actually saying all that is right about atheist. Is atheist communist Russia effective, they were terrible at industrial reforms, they bankrupted a continent and fell into defeat to the western capitalist. Is atheist North Korea effective, they starve of the whole nation,and put millions to hunger or death with their madness of becoming a nuclear club. If you are so convince that atheism is right, then why surf this website, why read articles that are meant to draw people to the truth of Islam ? Why continue the reading, and later the moaning and groaning ? What actually is it that made you frown ?
Your assertion of facts lately are also misleading, to say the least, yet you continue to put up with the pretense of being the Mr. know it all. Well, you don't know much mister, so save your antics or show for your atheist comrades.
To Kevin: It's not Biblical Christianity that continues to spread like wildfire; it's Bounty hunter & destroyer of original Christianity St-Paul (shame on him) who came with deformed version of Christianity that continues to spread. Jesus (pbuh) said: "I am not sent but the lost sheep of the house of Israel" but the imposter St Paul went to Greece and Anatolia (modern day Syria and Turkey) and spread his corrupt version of Christianity and changed many aspects of Christianity as the messenger of God, Jesus Christ (pbuh) & the original Christians know it!!!.
Re: America, it's been acting as the United States of Israel since 1967 if not b4 & Obama like other previous presidents know well that if they want to have an office or keep it, they would have to play the political game & serve the interests of AIPAC & the Zionist bankers that own & run the National Reserve Bank!!!
To Romesh Chander: The true nuisance is still here. You said that we "Muslims are a nuisance minority". In my country, we say: "Only dirt sticks between a nail and a finger" we say this because when a third party meddles in the affairs that does not concern them they become a nuisance. Thus, you need to MYOB (mind your own business) because you are neither a Muslim nor a Jew!!! So Not us Muslims that are a minority nuisance, I's you Romesh and the the likes of you are!!!
May ALLAH bless Muslims, and bless AMERICA.
Look at his family tree below:
NSA Susan rice was assistant secretary of state for africa under Albright.
Rahm Emanuel is too pro Aipac.
Axelrod another person of Judism faith.
>"All the Muslim Americans I know were excited and >electrified by him," says Salman Ahmed, the New >York-based guitarist and singer of the Pakistani->American rock band Junoon.
this would be the SAME Salman Ahmad who had his relatives setup the MuslimsforBush.com website?
Do you understand what the word "credibility" means? Do you have any spine or backbone to even publicly show your face given how many Muslims have died as a result of people that you have publicly supported and campaigned for (Bush/Musharraf)?
Sadly, Muslims still suffer from the disease of NOT holding those who speak, talk, and act in the name of Islam accountable.
Regarding those two muslim girls, I doubt he would have done anything if he had found out in time about them, when they were being removed. It's always convenient to apologize later.