obama9.jpgChicago Tribune religion writer Manya Brachear reports that some in the Muslim world–well, one person, at least–is calling on Barack Obama to denounce Americans’ anti-Muslim bias as he attempts to dispel false rumors that he’s a Muslim.
The key graphs:

“At this point, he should call out people’s bigotry,” said Salam al-Marayati, executive director of The Muslim Public Affairs Council. He and other religious leaders defended Obama when the rumor mill first fired up last year. A letter signed by 11 Jewish, Christian and Muslim leaders denounced the rumors as a calculated attempt to “divide us as children of God.”
As the attacks continue, though, Obama should denounce “this kind of religious litmus test in politics which is anathema to our Bill of Rights and reframe the conversation,” al-Marayati said. Being labeled a Muslim isn’t an insult, he said.
A source familiar with the Obama campaign said that’s unlikely to happen. It’s not the Muslim characterization that bothers Obama. It’s that his faith, which plays a significant role in his life, has been mischaracterized. Period.
“The primary goal is truth,” the source said. “It’s important to set the record straight.”

God-o-Meter notes that in its Obama interview this week, the Illinois Senator did have some kind words for Muslims and noted that he’d be less likely to demonize them because of his background:

….I absolutely believe that having lived in a country that was majority Muslim for a time and having distant relatives in Africa who are Muslim, that I’m less likely to demonize the Muslim faith and more likely to understand that they are ordinary folks who are trying to figure out how to live their lives and raise their kids and prosper just like anybody else. And I do think that that cultural understanding is something that could be extremely valuable.

And in his interview with CBN’s David Brody this week, Obama said that just because he’s never been a Muslim doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong with them:

I think that those who are of the Muslim faith are deserving of respect and dignity, but to try and feed into this fear-mongering and try to question my faith commitments and my belief in Jesus Christ, I think is offensive. And I want to make sure that people are absolutely clear about what’s going on with this, and if they get another one of these e-mails that they’re deleting it and letting their friends know that it’s nonsense.

A full-throated defense of Muslims? Not exactly. But with polls showing that so many Americans have negative views of Muslim candidates, can you blame him?


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