Beliefnet
God-O-Meter

newyorker.jpgDespite all the denunciations of this week’s New Yorker cover for the damage it might do to Barack Obama’s, there’s been relatively little outcry over its portrayal of Muslims.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations released a statement:

“Unfortunately, the New Yorker’s front cover cartoon failed to achieve its stated goal of exposing and lampooning right-wing caricatures of the Obamas. These inflammatory images and spurious associations will only serve to reinforce the racism and anti-Muslim stereotypes that the magazine says it is out to challenge.”

No surprise there. Obama and most of his allies, however, have been mum on the New Yorker’s promotion of the Muslim-as-terrorist stereotype. God-o-Meter considers that a sorry silence, given the Democrats’ vows to improve relations with the Muslim world as a cornerstone of its post-Bush approach to battling terrorism.
The silence is also a reminder that Americans hold Muslims in pretty low esteem, at least according to last year’s Pew poll asking voters whether they’d be more or less likely to vote for a Muslim candidate. 45-percent said less likely. 3-percent said more. 25-percent said they were less likely to vote for a Mormon candidate, by comparison.
Yes, the New Yorker cover is big news here. But imagine how it’s being received on the Arab Street or in the broader Muslim world. People there are likely to chafe at how they, as opposed to Obama, are being portrayed.
Update 7/16:
Mark Silk reports on Spiritual Politics that Obama decried the way that Muslims (as opposed to himself) are portrayed on the New Yorker cover in his Larry King appearance yesterday:

One last point I want to — I do want to make about these e-mails, though. And I think this has an impact on this “New Yorker” cover.
You know, this is actually an insult against Muslim-Americans, something that we don’t spend a lot of time talking about. And sometimes I’ve been derelict in pointing that out.
You know, there are wonderful Muslim-Americans all across the country who are doing wonderful things. And for this to be used as sort of an insult, or to raise suspicions about me, I think is unfortunate. And it’s not what America’s all about.


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