Beliefnet
God-O-Meter

obama13.jpgOmid Safi, a professor of Islamic Studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, argues that the six-million-strong American Muslim community is likely to break for Barack Obama, in a piece brought to God-o-Meter’s attention by the Dallas Morning News Religion Blog. Here’s his rationale (notice the reference to McCain’s Beliefnet interview):

As for the likely Republican nominee, Sen. John McCain, he continues to promise “victory” in Iraq by increasing the level of troops and arms. And this is the same McCain who has said that America is a Christian nation, and that Muslims are less fit to lead this country.
Many American Muslims are genuinely invested in finding a candidate who actually sees the United States as responsible member of a global community, and not just a bully.
And that’s why the overwhelming support of the Muslim community now has shifted to the Democratic side, and specifically to Sen. Barack Obama.
Sen. Hillary Clinton generates little interest among Muslim-Americans. She favors an “undivided” (i.e., all Jewish) Jerusalem, which would signal even further suffering and catastrophe — even ethnic cleansing — for Palestinians who for more than a thousand years have called Jerusalem home.
And Clinton has signed on to a bill that makes war with Iran more likely, as it specifies that Iran is waging a “proxy war” against the United States in Iraq. It is this kind of language that got us ensnared in Iraq in the first place.
Obama, on the other hand, condemned Clinton’s vote on Iran and stressed diplomacy. Obama’s cosmopolitanism — raised in Hawaii and Indonesia, son of a white Midwestern mother and a Kenyan father — also resonates with many Muslims who want their president to be a global citizen, for a change.
When he began his political career, Obama courageously supported the idea that the United States should be a real honest broker between Israelis and Palestinians. Over time, however, he has distanced himself from the Palestinian side.
Yet many American Muslims remain hopeful that a President Obama would bring his vision of peace and justice back to all the areas of U.S. foreign policy, including the bleeding wound that is Palestine/Israel.

Safi’s point about Muslims skewing Democratic after the Bush administration’s response to 9/11 and the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq made God-o-Meter wonder how Muslims voted previously. The Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life says they broke for George W. Bush in 2000 after a robust GOP lobbying effort for their votes. Oh how the world has changed since then.


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