Presidential hopeful Al Gore's recent announcement that he had chosen Sen. Joseph Lieberman as his running mate in the coming United States presidential elections sent shock waves through the Muslim world. Many feared that Lieberman, an orthodox Jew, would be a detriment to Muslim causes both in the U.S. and abroad.
However, we shouldn't be disappointed in Gore for choosing an Orthodox Jew as the next possible vice president of the United States. In fact, we should commend Gore, a southern Baptist, for reaching out to a religious minority.
But this does not necessarily mean we should support the Gore-Lieberman ticket.
In fact, if we look beyond Lieberman's religion, we may find many reasons why we should steer clear of the democrats this November.
It goes without saying that there is a legitimate concern the Connecticut senator, often hailed as a "friend of Israel", will side with the Israelis in issues pertaining to Jerusalem and other Israeli-occupied territories. And it should be of particular concern now that Clinton has all but made available the blueprints for a U.S. embassy in Jerusalem. A Gore-Lieberman White House may move even further toward recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
And as we commemorate the 10-year anniversary of sanctions against Iraq, we should take note that Lieberman was an early supporter of military action in the Persian Gulf War.
In regards to domestic issues, it was Lieberman who voted for the so-called counter terrorism bill which was passed in the wake of the Oklahoma City federal building bombing. This anti-terrorism law gives the American authorities broad-based powers to detain and deport immigrants without revealing the evidence against them. And even though it was a former member of the U.S. military who eventually was convicted of the OKC bombing, the law is used disproportionately against Muslims and Arab-Americans.
And as we head to the polls this November, let's not forget that Lieberman was among those in the senate who voted against the ban on partial-birth abortions, a heinous procedure used to terminate late-term pregnancies. The method involves partially extracting a fetus, legs first, through the birth canal, cutting the skull and draining its contents.
Yes, Lieberman does have some redeeming qualities, as he was one of the most outspoken U.S. leaders to condemn Slobodan Milosevic and his campaign to wipe out the Muslims in Kosovo. From the Jim Lehrer News Hour to NBC's Meet the Press, Lieberman openly advocated the use of NATO forces to help the Kosovar Albanians.
So how should we react to Lieberman? We should react by challenging his record on foreign and domestic issues as they relate to our Islamic beliefs. We should question his poor record toward Muslims both in the U.S. and abroad.
Criticizing Gore for choosing a member of another religious minority may some day come back to haunt us.
Hebah Abdalla is editor of iviews.com.