Progressive Revival

Progressive Revival


Obama and the Kevin Bacon Game of Persecuting Muslims

posted by Omid Safi

The Obama Campaign, at it’s best, has not been about Obama.

It’s been about a mass movement, a coming together of long time
activists and newcomers, who have dared to restore hope to politics, to dream that
there is a place in the arena of politics for the good. That’s what makes
the character assassination and subsequent resignation of Mazen Asbahi from the
Obama Campaign so hard to take, so bitter.  The lamentation has been heard
from many of the leading voices in both the Muslim and the Arab community. (See
here and here and here.) As it had been reported on
this blog
, Asbahi had been appointed by the Obama
campaign as the designated contact with both the Arab and the Muslim
populations, two distinct yet overlapping communities who have bore the brunt
of post-9/11 xenophobia. It was a long-overdue yet important step to mirror
earlier connections and indeed commitments from the Obama campaign to Jewish,
Catholic, and evangelical communities.

Yet almost as soon as this began, it was over. Asbahi was
forced to resign not due to anything he had done, not due to anything he had
said, but because of an immediate and deliberate attack on him started by
rightwing bloggers and picked up by the Wall Street Journal. At the center
of their charge, this accusation: for a period of about two weeks Asbahi
served on the board of a charity, Allied Assets Advisors Fund, that also
featured an imam of a Chicago mosque who was connected to someone who may have
been connected to someone who might have possibly been connected to… 
you get the picture. 
The
legal cases implicated in the above ended in a mistrial.
 Yet apparently we are no longer in the realm of
innocent until proven guilty. We’re no longer in the realm of fact, certainty,
or law. It is the absurdity of playing
the “Kevin
Bacon” game
with the wellbeing and
representation of persecuted communities like Arab-Americans and Muslim
Americans.

Any political campaign that would want to find a legitimate
community contact person would want to find someone like Asbahi, someone who is
rooted in a community, and is well-connected. And by the logic of the
“Six Degrees” game made famous through the actor Kevin Bacon, yes,
every Muslim can be tied to another Muslim who can be tied to another Muslim
who can be tied to… someone found not guilty of a crime.  By that logic,
can we also implicate
Karen
Hughes, who spoke before ISNA?
 How about Condi
Rice who met with ISNA leadership?
 And how
about John McCain’s connections to John Hagee, of the maniacal “Christians
United for Israel”,
with its support of right-wing Jewish settlers? Or to Rod Parsley,
who
talks about eradicating Islam?
 It is not
hard to play Kevin Bacon, and end up with not suspected evil, but actual
evil. Is this how we want to live?

The goal of the campaigns against Muslims and Arab-Americans is
much more sinister. It is no less than the disenfranchisement and
marginalization of Muslims and Arab-Americans from the political
arena. The blog that led the charge against Asbahi also identifies
other
potentially “Islamist” organizations:

  • The
    Islamic Society of North America (ISNA)
  • The
    Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR)
  • The
    Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC)
  • The
    Muslim Student Association (MSA)
  • The
    International Institute of Islamic Thought (IIIT)

In other words, every single significant group representing
Muslims in America. All
are suspect, based on this paranoid criteria. 

The right-wing bloggers that targeted Asbahi also insinuated that
since he had served in a leadership position in the Muslim Students
Association, somehow he was a secret Salafi-Wahhabi. This is part of the
problem of our age, where it is sufficient to repeat two words in the same
sentence in lieu of proving a link. Had they actually studied Asbahi’s
faith, words, and deeds, they would have seen him a part of the subtle and
beautiful community of the
Nawawi Foundation,
one of the leading lights of the American Muslim community. Yet we have
seen how simply putting Iraq
and 9/11 in the same sentence is sufficient to persuade significant portions of
the American public. And now we have another casualty in this game of
insinuation.

The real casualty is that these types of episodes are precisely
what the Muslim-haters like Daniel Pipes count on, with their public and stated
agenda of fighting against the participation of Muslims in civic life, a goal
of engagement that Muslims like all other citizens re entitled to. This is
their stated goal, after all: 
“[The]
increased stature, and affluence, and enfranchisement of American
Muslims…will present true dangers to American Jews.”
 The goal is to make sure that other Muslim activists,
leaders, public intellectuals, and citizens retreat from the public space into
a self-exile.   

We refuse to be part of this campaign of fear-mongering. To
the right-wing bloggers and their emissaries of hate, we have to respond by
saying that we will meet your hate with soul force, your ignorance with a will
to educate, and your xenophobia with  a capacity to love.   And
yet we cannot do it alone.   Here the Arab-American and
Muslim-American community is in need of help, of alliance, of networking with
others committed to the dignity of all, to make sure that there are no more
innocents thrown under the bus.  And yes, even the most ardent supporters
of Obama need to hold the Obama campaign responsible and ask that we go not
gently into this abyss of fear-mongering.

The casualty is not just Mazen Asbahi and the next Mazen Asbahi.

The real casualty is the dream where politics can be an arena for
the good.    

 



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Comments read comments(43)
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Mark

posted August 11, 2008 at 3:00 pm


ARE YOU LIVING ON THE SAME PLANET AS THE REST OF US?
For crying out loud… you act as though the political decision to remove the muslim contact from the obama case has anything to do with racism? Get with the times..this is business! if THE connection had been with some who possibly could be implicated in child abuse, fraud, murder, scandal etc..the result would be just the same. Stop pulling this Muslim-crying-foul routine and get with the program..politics endeavours to remove itself from anything at all that could damage it… happens all the time, and frankly..I’m dead tired of hearing muslims on one side saying “why oh why is the happening” . .while the other half is dictating that all should die of follow in their exact path to enlightment (by treating women like shit and the rest of the world as its bitch!) Perhaps its time moderates perhaps condemded the acts of extremists..thats why this guy has a bad percept..at the moment the only muslims speaking up are the violent ones.. time for the good people to say STOP~!



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zTruth

posted August 11, 2008 at 3:03 pm


There is substantial information and documentation that most of the groups mentioned above have or have had ties to the Muslim Brotherhood and/or Hamas.
This is neither a left-wing or a right wing issues. It is a national security issue. Wake up.
When Muslims stop calling people names for pointing this out and go about proving what is said is inaccurate – you may make some inroads.



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solicitr

posted August 11, 2008 at 3:09 pm


“The Islamic Society of North America (ISNA)
The Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR)
The Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC)
The Muslim Student Association (MSA)
The International Institute of Islamic Thought (IIIT)
In other words, every single significant group representing Muslims in America. All are suspect, based on this paranoid criteria.”
No, all are front groups for the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas. Don’t think we’re taken in by your taqqiyeh for a moment. These groups aren’t “every single significant group representing Muslims in America.” They represent the stealth Jihad, period.
If Muslims in America want to avoid ‘xenophobia’, as you call it, they would do well to distance themselves from and denounce the Ikhwan among them.



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Charles Martel

posted August 11, 2008 at 3:26 pm


Muslim Brotherhood:
The Islamic Society of North America (ISNA)
The Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR)
The Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC)
The Muslim Student Association (MSA)
The International Institute of Islamic Thought (IIIT)



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recovering ex-Pentecostal

posted August 11, 2008 at 3:47 pm


“The Obama Campaign, at its’ [sic] best, has not been about Obama.”
Whether at its “best” (or at its ‘worst’), you are quite correct (despite the typo).
And, thanks to Beliefnet’s loyal right-wing bloggers, it never will be. I mean, 6 freakin’ weeks of Rev’d Wright? Can anyone name McCain’s pastor, or quote anything from any one of his/her sermons?
Is McCain a Muslim? I doubt we’ll ever know. (And so many seem to have forgotten that it’s not supposed to matter.)
Can anyone tell us John McCain’s middle name (without googling)?
Instead of trashing the (no longer secret) sex life of one of Obama’s potential running mates, not a peep from the RRRers on the cheating, adulterous, wife-leaving McCain’s (secret?) sex life (nor on any of his potential running mates’ sex lives, either)!
Talk about biased.
Is McCain “Christian enough”? Hey, that question got posed to most of the Democrats.



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Paul seeking wisdom

posted August 11, 2008 at 4:57 pm


The Arab and Islamic communities are undergoing the same fear and mistrust as did the Japanese and German communities of the second world war. They are being subjected to the same treatment that the Jews were undergoing (and still do) through out the ages.
While it is not right, it can’t be helped. It is easier to fear than to trust. As long as Islam thinks of the West as evil, we of the west will mistrust them. As long as Iran and other tyrannic nations seek to destroy Israel and the West, we have a right to suspect.
This is not an issue of religion as much as it is a fear of the unknown. What the Islamic community must do is prove to the West that the mind set of the radical Revolutionary Islamics do not represent the majority of Muslims, and they need to prove it with the Koran.
But as long as people of the Near and Middle East fear and threaten the West, we will be on guard. may the God of All protect us from ourselves.



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Steven Miller

posted August 11, 2008 at 4:58 pm


Nice try….are Karen Hughs and Condi actually on the board of ISNA as Asbahi was on the board of four MB organizations (see http://counterterrorismblog.org/2008/08/a_look_at_the_resignation_of_m.php).?? Where is the evidence that “right-wing bloggers” had anything to do do with this? Is the Wall Street Journal part of the “Muslim Haters”?
Oh yes, don’t think we missed the not so subtle implication that “the Jews” are behind the whole thing.



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Steven Miller

posted August 11, 2008 at 5:02 pm


Nice try….are Karen Hughs and Condi actually on the board of ISNA as Asbahi was on the board of four MB organizations (see Doug Farah’s blog for today).?? Where is the evidence that “right-wing bloggers” had anything to do do with this? Is the Wall Street Journal part of the “Muslim Haters”?
Oh yes, don’t think we missed the not so subtle implication that “the Jews” are behind the whole thing.



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5-Pillar Scribe

posted August 12, 2008 at 7:59 am


Very well-said. It’s about time American Muslims start standing up and speaking out against this not-so-silent oppression. I address some of these issues at:
5pillar.wordpress.com



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Dawud

posted August 12, 2008 at 10:48 am


Asbahi is the 2000’s version of people such as Paul Robeson, who suffered under McCarthyism. Unlike Robeson, who actually spoke in favor of the arch-enemy of America, the Soviet Union, Asbahi has never been linked or quoted as supporting any extremists.
If all Americans don’t take a stand against this neo-McCarthysim and expansion of government into the lives of Americans, we’ll turn into a fascist state eventually.



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MY Muslim

posted August 12, 2008 at 12:16 pm


The hypocrisy of Obama’s campaign is why as a Muslim convert I am supporting Nader. Nader’s campaign is not being run by those who say he must declare himself a Zionist and otherwise pander to American Jews. Instead Nader courageously gives the facts of 60 years of Israeli occupation of Palestine, a country that refuses to die just so that Jews from Brooklyn can settle on their stolen land.
Obama is going to have to do a drastic 180 degree turn from his current direction for me to support him. Meanwhile I support those like my local Democratic Congressman for his support of the Palestinian people and peace based on justice, not occupation through military aggression.



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omid safi (author of post)

posted August 12, 2008 at 2:51 pm


hello folks, thank you all for taking the time to responding to this post.
I will address a few of your comments:
To “Steven Miller”, regarding your question about right wing bloggers. Yes, I stand by that comment. Do have a look at this site:
http://globalmbreport.com/wp-login.php?redirect_to=%2F
which I would classify as a rightwing blog, seeking to lump together various Muslim institutions like the ones that I identified in the post. They claim to have broken this story
Second, you state: “Oh yes, don’t think we missed the not so subtle implication that “the Jews” are behind the whole thing.”
I think your logic is flawed here, and smacks of paranoia. I said nothing about “the Jews” here, and as a matter of principle I try to avoid such generalizations, about all religious communities. I hope others return the favor.
The only person I did identify is Daniel Pipes, who is a noted Islamophobe, and I do stand by my comments on him. We should be able to criticize one particular individual, without it being seen as an attack on a whole community. Mind you, we as Muslims are particularly sensitive to this issue, given the endless litany of evil-do’er Muslim types paraded on TV!
I am critical of WSJ, particularly since its takeover by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. I am very suspicious about Murdoch, and his “fair and balanced” approach to things related to Islam. Think about the difference between Fox News, and well, reality, as one example…
all the best,
omid safi



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omid safi (author of post)

posted August 12, 2008 at 2:55 pm


To MY Muslim:
Dear MY Muslim,
al-salam alaykum.
even as a supporter of Obama, I wholeheartedly agree that his stance on Palestine/Israel has been sorely lacking, and frankly inconsistent with the refreshing honesty he has embodied on every other issue. I found his running to AIPAC immediately upon locking up the nomination disgusting.
Having said that, and mind you, I have voted for Nader in the past myself, I think in the shortrun it is wiser to vote for Obama, and hold him accountable for a global position that includes a meaningful commitment to peace in Palestine/Israel. A vote for Nader in this election is a vote away from Obama, which might bring us one step closer to the madman that McCain seems to be morphing to, and an effective third term of Bush policies.
But I do very much respect your principle. I suspect our difference may be a matter of approach and strategy.
omid safi



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omid safi (author of post)

posted August 12, 2008 at 3:02 pm


dear folks,
From the author, this one is actually intended for all of us.
One of the reasons that I agreed to become involved with this particular blog is that I believe in the redemptive value of important conversations, and that we learn by having fruitful and engaged conversations across ideological, ethnic, and religious lines.
So I do not shy away, as you might expect, from standing up to what I feel needs to be stood up to, and saying what needs to be said. And of course that implies being open to firm and direct questions, as some of you have already stated.
Yet…This is no forum for hateful speech, racial/religious slurs, and insults. It is simply inappropriate, and brings darkness to a world that needs more light. If you use that type of language, as some who have posted comments have, I will point it out, but will not respond in kind.
let us strive for a more enlightened conversation worthy of such a forum.
omid



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Alicia

posted August 13, 2008 at 9:38 am


Professor Safi, I appreciate your willingness to engage the commenters here on your blog.
Having said that I have to take issue with much of your post, especially this:
“The Islamic Society of North America (ISNA)
The Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR)
The Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC)
The Muslim Student Association (MSA)
The International Institute of Islamic Thought (IIIT)
In other words, every single significant group representing Muslims in America. All are suspect, based on this paranoid criteria.”
It’s not only right wing bloggers who link many of these groups either to Wahabism and Saudi funding (which comes to the same thing) or to the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood or other Islamist organizations.
There has been testimony before Congress about Wahabi/Saudi influence in U.S. Muslim political organizations. There have been lengthy articles in legitimate newspapers such as the Chicago Tribune about the Muslim Brotherhood’s role in ISNA. The ISNA monthly magazine, which I have read, frequently quotes Sayyid Qutb. (The Muslim Che?)
Some commenters make the comparison to the McCarthy Era Witchhunts. The fact is, the famous “Cold War liberals” such as Eleanor Roosevelt, Walter Reuther, and Hubert Horatio Humphrey were opposed to Communist infiltration of U.S. institutions (such as Labor Unions). Before Joe McCarthy went off the deep end, he was pretty tight with the Kennedys.
American Muslims should absolutely involve themselves in politics. But it is in everyone’s interest, especially that of the American Muslim community, for there to be transparency in the funding and the “provenance” of American Muslim civic organizations. And those that have questionable ties need to explain themselves.



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omid safi (author of post)

posted August 13, 2008 at 12:01 pm


dear Alicia,
I agree with you. I think the paradigm should be one of transparency and openness, applied equally to Muslims and others.
For what it is worth, the model that I advocate is similar to the argument that others have made, stating it is vital for Muslims to invest in their own institutions here, both intellectually and financially.
As for connections between the above organizations and overseas ones, you are right, much has been written about it. For example, it is well established that early on (1960’s) the national MSA had connections to the Saudi interpretations of Islam. But in time they have moved in a different direction, and today most of the national msas operate independently.
i appreciate your help.
omid



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Alicia

posted August 13, 2008 at 1:39 pm


Thank you, Professor Safi. I agree with your point about many chapters of the Muslim Student Associations choosing to move in new directions. I’ve heard the same about the Islamic Society of North America.
I understand the frustration with the brutal vetting process for any high profile position, volunteer or otherwise, in a presidential campaign or presidential administration, but I think that the brutal vetting process is across the board, and not confined to Muslims. As to whether I think Mazen Asbahi should have resigned, that is another question.
Neither the Obama nor the McCain campaigns have shown much courage in defending their high profile volunteers or employees when they came under attack. Guilt by very tenuous association isn’t fair, but it also seems to me that Mr. Asbahi made the decision to resign very quickly (see quote from the Wall Street Journal below):
“A corporate lawyer at the firm of Schiff Hardin LLP, Mr. Asbahi tendered his resignation after he and the Obama campaign received emailed inquiries about his background from The Wall Street Journal. He did not respond to the email or a message left at his law office; the campaign released a letter in which Mr. Asbahi said he did not want to be a distraction.”
Perhaps Mr. Asbahi was more concerned with damaging his own reputation or that of his law firm because of the excess publicity than with serving in this high profile volunteer position.



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omid safi (author of post)

posted August 13, 2008 at 8:10 pm


Dear Alicia,
thanks for another thoughtful post.
my sense from Mr. Asbahi, who continues to support Obama, is that he didn’t want this episode to become another fodder for the bloggers and rightwing media, and removed himself from the position.
You are also right in the changes in ISNA. Dr. Ingrid Mattson’s recent selection as the president of ISNA is perhaps the most dramatic example of the transformation of ISNA. Even those of us like myself who in the past have critiqued ISNA for their conservatism have welcomed these changes with open arms.
all the best,
omid



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Alicia

posted August 14, 2008 at 9:54 am


Thank you, omid.



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abulafia

posted August 14, 2008 at 9:30 pm


Dear Alicia,
Prof Safi does not endorse these Islamic organizations but he has pointed out that one cannot deem an organization suspect because some people in the past might have held radical views. Of course, it is a well-known fact that members of the Muslim Brotherhood when persecuted by Gamal Abdel Nasser in Egypt sought refuge in the US. Some of those members were among the founders of ISNA and also the LA Islamic Center. The last mentioned is a citadel of liberal Islam, thanks to the leadership of Dr Hathout. Similarly, ISNA now has a female president, Dr Ingrid Mattson and is a different organization.
Just because someone reads or cites Sayyid Qutb does not turn one into terrorism.
I think you betray your political bona fides when you say Qutb is the Muslim Che. Did not Che Guevara stand as a beacon of freedom for millions of people in Latin America and around the globe on a non-capitalist agenda? It seems that you invoked Che as some kind of demon. Would Patrick Henry be in the same company as Che in your book? It seems that the only kind of freedom many people endorse is one that is designed in Europe or North America. Gandhi, Nelson Mandela and leaders of millions in different parts of the world did not regard Che or Qutb as a demon.
I find it bizarre that sensible people fall for this kind of blanket denunciation of important figures around the world. The attack on Asbahi is nothing but demonisation by association and sensible people should resist it.
Abulafia



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cheryl3

posted August 15, 2008 at 9:18 am


Hey,
Another question to roll around in your mind?Every act of terror and war doesn’t it start with the fact that people feel helpless and disenfranchised from other people?It’s a horrible feeling when people discount your feelings and because your considered not in the majority your hearts cry doesn’t count ?
Just a random thought(?)



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cheryl3

posted August 15, 2008 at 9:28 am


Hey Thinkers,
Isn’t every act of terror and violence a result of someone feeling disenfranchised,unheard and powerless in this world .Doesn’t it begin with that?In the Christian religion it all started with the story of Abraham,Sarah and Haggi.That’s why the Israelis and Palestinians are still against each other today.Haggi (rightly so)felt used and unheard but in the end God heard her and He changed Abraham and (probably reluctantly)Sarahs mind(and I as a female don’t blame her)
just some random thoughts,
cheryl3



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Alicia

posted August 15, 2008 at 9:49 am


Thanks, Abulafia. I appreciate your comments.
I’m not sure what you mean by me betraying “my political bona fides” but when I added the paranthetical question (the Muslim Che?) I was suggesting that reading and wearing or quoting Che (or quoting Sayyid Qutb) is a form of fashionable radicalism that usually betrays the ignorance of the people involved as to the actual records and ideology of the radicals they quote so fondly.
I enjoyed “The Motorcycle Diaries” but I don’t imagine that movie was anything other than a pleasant fiction. I suggest reading the following Slate review of “The Motorcycle Diaries” – “The Cult of Che” by Paul Berman:
http://www.slate.com/id/2107100/
If you haven’t yet read Berman’s terrific book “Terror and Liberalism” I highly recommend picking it up. He writes brilliantly about the similarities between Sayyid Qutb’s philosophy and other forms of ‘utopian’ totalitarianism, whether religious or secular. He suggests that every form of totalitarianism of the past century arose in opposition to Liberalism.
Thanks for listening.



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Alicia

posted August 15, 2008 at 9:59 am


Abulafia, just to give you a taste of Berman’s excellent piece on Che:
“The cult of Ernesto Che Guevara is an episode in the moral callousness of our time. Che was a totalitarian. He achieved nothing but disaster….Che presided over the Cuban Revolution’s first firing squads. He founded Cuba’s “labor camp” system—the system that was eventually employed to incarcerate gays, dissidents, and AIDS victims. To get himself killed, and to get a lot of other people killed, was central to Che’s imagination.”



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Love

posted August 18, 2008 at 12:49 pm


Dear Dr. Safi,
I just wanted to thank you for your commitment to pointed discourse and, above all, civility and mutual respect. The political conversation in the United States has turned into a spectacle; I would compare it to the 18th and 19th Century practice of “bear baiting” whereby the innocent bear was roped to the ground inside a ring while trained dogs attacked it until it died of its wounds. The bear – more fearsome to the spectators than the dogs – had its ability to effectively defend itself taken from it, so that the crowd could delight not only at the gore and violence but at watching the demise of a creature of great power. (There is a history of games like this in the Western world going all the way back to the Roman Colosseum.)
There have been many “bears” in American politics over the years, and there will probably be a few more. But it is important to remember that the game was eventually outlawed due to its cruelty. Public morality can change, and it is the responsibility of well-meaning citizens to do their parts to change it.
Peace to all!



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J Langlois

posted August 20, 2008 at 11:26 am


There is nothing “potentially” Islamist about the mentioned organizations. They have been named as the Muslim Brotherhood front organizations in documents. To state ortherwise is evidence of continued taqiya by this and other apologetic blogs.
Shame on you!



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Jane

posted August 20, 2008 at 12:06 pm


From a “white bread”, Protestant American who once thought we were all following God, just calling Him/Her by different names due to cultural and language differences: here is the real issue confronting all of us, whether we are Muslim, Christian, Jew, Hindu, black, brown, white, yellow or red: for over two decades radical Islamists have been waging a war against America. They entire Muslim community is teaching, from Mother’s breast on up, that everyone who does not convert to Islam is the enemy and therefore the true believer is commanded by “Allah” to kill them. A “religion” and a system that believes it is not only “okay” but encourages men to kill and/or disfigure women who don’t manage to stay “in their place” (kind of harkens back to black slavery days huh?). I won’t be voting for Obama – I may not vote for McCain. I would like to see the Muslim religion declared subversive and outlawed from the United States, but our Constitution guarantees freedom of religion – something Islam does not embrace by the way. So while you lament about someone having to resign from Obama’s campaign, you might consider that the rest of American just doesn’t trust you if you are Muslim because of your backwards beliefs and practices. Islam doesn’t allow for democracy, equal rights or much of anything else that is American and yet American allows Islam. Hmmmm? I wonder if there is a lesson there?



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Nancy

posted August 20, 2008 at 12:17 pm


I have learned a lot from your Muslim website. My ideas about God have been( often reflected and been elucidated better than I can explain)in your passages from the Koran and other Islamic writers that you feature. I am still a Roman Catholic, but the universality of religious thought amazes me. I think the Prophet lived in an era when mathematical and scientific thought was advancing in the Middle East- that’s why some of the ideas about God seem progressive (mathematically progressive). Some learned people make a religion out of persecuting religious thinkers-feeling superior or unique. Then they probably go to an AA meeting and admit there is a “higher power” that they must relinquish their power to. I can’t believe young Western people go on about the liberation of Tibet from China, and conveniently forget about the wars in the Middle East. The Dali Lama hardly offers a secular,democratic leadership. What hypocrites our politicians are! Buddhists are fine, but not Muslims. The C.I.A. trained some Tibetians to fight against the Chinese, but it was a completely failed mission. The C.I.A. guy told the Dali Lama that, he too, was a peaceful man at heart, but weapons were needed. The Dali Lama is not adverse to using Americans arms. As for hope in Obama or Mc Cain in the realm of religious tolerance, it is fairly non-existent. Hagee supports extremist Jews that the Israeli government use as a human wall to defend the rest of Israel. The Palestinians aren’t the only religious fanatics guilty of using civilians in that fashion. I don’t know why evangelists don’t figure in the separation between Church and state equation. Maybe we should ban the Republican and Democratic parties like the secular military in Turkey tried to do with the AK party that has Islamic roots!



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Miriam

posted August 20, 2008 at 12:30 pm


Hello Jane,
I am reading your post. I am a bit surprised. I want to tell you that I am a Muslim woman. I have many friends of all different religions. I am not sure about the hadith, but the Prophet Mohammed had a mention of saying, “To you, you have your belief, and I have mine.” Islam does not condone the pactice of the violence which you are lead to believe. Also it mentions in the Quran that Christians and Jews are “People of the book.” It refers to the belief of the Holy Bible and Torah. We all come from Abraham and are of the same. We have differences, but for me and millions of muslims in the world, we do not condone voilence, intolerance and oppression. Unfortunately, in the world, there are many people who follow cultural and tribalistic traditions, rather than Islam itself. Islam came about to get rid of these negative ways of life, for the people to imbrace a relationship with a monotheist God, (Allah, which is prefred in Islam), and to stop the horrific acts they placed on one another.
Perhaps you have had some bad experiences with somebody of the Muslim faith, and I am sorry about that. People are people, and nobody is perfect for sure. I hope maybe you would meet many other Muslims who can show you what Islam is really about. You most certainly don’t have to agree with it, because it’s nobody’s place to tell you what to do or what to believe. I just wish that people would step back and realize we are all human beings together on this earth and we need to concentrate on the important matters at hand. We must have respect, kindness, charity, taking care of the old, young, less fortunate and take care of the animals and earth. If we all look concentrate on these important matters that I just mentioned above, we would be such happier people, more giving and understanding of each other. I am a firm believer of being positive, and I care for everybody and everything, no matter who they are, what they believe. Allah made every living thing and being, so I must respect them. That is one of the main beliefs in our Islam, the deen. It isn’t just about our salah, but about how we live our lives. We will all be accountable.



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HotConflict

posted August 20, 2008 at 12:36 pm


Just when you thought it was safe to get back in the water…JAWS !
Muslims will have to get used to being a target of vitriol. Yet the fact remains that it is up to the next generation of Muslims to keep standing up and explaining themselves. No one else will do it for you. You want the rights and liberties enjoyed by others because you are American. Well those who came before you had to fight for their civil right. For Muslims it will be the same, but harder.
When I say fight for your rights. I dont mean an armed violent struggle. Even thought the post above makes it sound like the Muslims community has been trained to hate from birth, the reality is that there is a lot more in common with a majority of the Muslim world.
Start with Humanity.
We are all human and work on from there. Just convincing others that Muslims are Human is a good start!
Back to the point, the answer is more involvement not less. More speakers , leaders, representatives of Islam.
For the last few years the HotConflict.com groups has been putting out all kinds of alternative Islamic content online. Focusing on media and internet marketing to help understand the “War on Terror”
http://www.HotConflict.com
ps. If I personally know Mazen Asbahi does that mean they are coming to get me?
I dont know Kevin Bacon, so I think I am ok…..for now!



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Mariam

posted August 20, 2008 at 1:00 pm


Jane’s comment contains almost every stereotype of Islamophobic thought in America. It almost makes me wonder if it isn’t something deliberately placed in this forum because it seems to me that someone like Jane, with all this fear and loathing of Islam, would be anywhere near a Muslim web page and would not be inclined to contribute to it.
I think that indeed were “Jane” to be snooping around Muslim websites she would be losing her misconceptions and negativity and would come to a better understanding of Islam. Jane, if you are real and are interested, I will be happy to send you some links to some very good websites.
Senator Obama needs to be much more aggressive in reaching out to the Islamic community. It is truly a pity that he has marginalized us because he is so concerned with protecting his image. I just can’t bring myself to vote for him.



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MY Muslim

posted August 20, 2008 at 1:05 pm


Dear Dr. Safi,
I am counting on the media to blow the election again as they did in 2000 between Gore and Bush. In my local viewing area, the media was already declaring victory in my precinct for Bush before the polls even closed! With that in mind, I figured correctly then that I had a chance to vote for Nader to express my disgust in Gore’s choice of Lieberman for V.P. It looks like my gut was right 8 years ago about the traitor Mr. AIPAC Lieberman as many Democrats are now discovering!
I will continue to proudly display my Nader bumper sticker on my car so long as the Obama campaign shows the spinelessness of a jellyfish regarding Israel’s abuses of Palestinians. As we all know from our trips to the beach this summer, the torturous multiple stings of a jellyfish are not a pleasant occurance to wish upon even our worst enemies. I am tired of being stung by the spineless Obama campaign throwing Muslims under the bus for their own political expediency. I refuse to go along with being a doormat for their political ambitions.
It’s going to take perhaps another trademark spellbinding speech by Obama to convince me that he has not sold out to the AIPAC lobby. How can he pander to the Jewish vote, declare himself a “Zionist”, and come back to face our community as an honest broker?! I don’t trust Obama to commit to do what he knows is the right thing. Instead I see him taking the easy way out with AIPAC contributors to fulfill his ambition of living in the White House. In the meantime, Obama will be obliged to politically pay back AIPAC supporters with promises such as making Jerusalem the capital of Israel. This is a disgusting flash forward image of a two-faced Obama that I cannot fathom supporting. I’d love to go out and campaign and otherwise support Obama, but his nauseating pro-Israel stances have tied my hands and angered my heart.
Unless we all stand up now for who we really believe supports our issues of concern (Nader), we will continue to self-sensor ourselves out of the national political debate that’s necessary to enact meaningful democratic change. We should all be putting pressure on Obama’s campaign that we will not be intimidated by scary McCain stories into voting for him. Obama must first prove to us that he himself is willing to support our causes and not stab us in the back every chance he gets to cozy up with AIPAC.
May Allah give us all the strength and courage to challenge Obama and others with the political and moral fallout of their choices. In the end, we will be held accountable before Allah for not speaking up for the millions of Muslims needlessly suffering with great pain because of the greed and lust for power by a few. It is up to us to be firmly outspoken about our grievances and to not soften up to soothing snakeoil salespitches. We need real results, but first we must demand them in the political process.



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bdoon

posted August 20, 2008 at 2:47 pm


I do not see the Jane comments everyone ie criticizing…were they removed? If so who removed them and why? Whoever removed them is thereby worse than Jane in my opinion….no matter what she said. By removing them , if they were removed you prove the validity of her thesis whatever it was. Fear leads to censorship and fear is the emotion of the guilty and those who have no connection with the spiritual and universal.



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bdoon

posted August 20, 2008 at 3:11 pm


Okay I see Jane’s comments…what she says about no democracy in Islamic thought as practiced I have to agree with. I have read the Koran and many Sura call for what can only be interpreted as armed conflict. If so-called moderate Muslims do not fight these monsters from the middle-ages fundamentalists then they are no better than the Japanese and German citizenry were prior to and during WW 2.
Certainly Palestine was stolen from the Palestinians but radical Islam preceeded that deed calling for reestablishment of the Caliphate and worldwide conversion. Palestine was simply another devious act by the western powers consumed with guilt about the death camps (and rightfully so). It played into the hands of the Islamic radicals who already had an agenda.
The West, not willing to give away their own backyards gave away someone else’s but to a people who had greatly improved that land which they claimed as Israel from the time of King David.They have made that land shine and prosper….without mind you, any oil wealth.
It is time Islam left the Middle Ages and recognized the fact that Israel is here to stay, that women will no longer except bondage, and that the faith they profess is not superior or inferior to any other faith. (Personally it is hard to think of any organized religions which , within a few generations, did not end up at counter points to the original spiritual tenets of their faith).



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Mariam

posted August 20, 2008 at 6:46 pm


bdoon, you are so far off in your perception of the history of Palestine that I can’t help but ask, where did you get your information?
At the risk of sounding repetitive, I think both you and Jane need to find out more about Islam and stop assuming that the propaganda of the news media is the truth. What, for example, are you talking about when you refer to women and bondage? By that remark alone, you reveal your ignorance about Islam. I think you are one of the atheists who troll around on religious websites making uninformed postings. This is unfortunate because you don’t learn anything from it.
In contrast, MY Muslim has made some very lucid and valid comments here. Thank you for your valuable insights.



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Camille McCoy-Sledge

posted August 21, 2008 at 5:22 pm


I hate to say this but Obama could care less about Muslims and Jews. Obama and those who have helped his campaign (ie powerful Washington people including the Bresenskys’, Rice and others), only view these two communities as a side show. Of course Obama and the elite in Washington (who support him) are advicating change. But the question is what sort of change? Obama is yet to give the American people a clear definition of what sort of change he wants. For these people running this campaign, Muslim votes are expendable. So they’ll say what the Muslim community wants to hear, but not acknowledge and grant Muslims positions in the political campaign. I truely fear if this man becomes President, it will further divide our country. I doubt that Obama (and powerful supporters)has the true intent on “paving the way” for peace in the Middle East (or any other part of the world for that matter), rather, I fear that an Obama Administration will “pour salt on old ethnic wounds” in that region (refering to the tentions between Arabs, Jews, Christians and other ethnic/religious groups who live in that region). Furthermore, I fear that an Obama Administration would seek to re-start the Cold War with Russia: basiclly Cold War Part Two. And in the prossess, why not use countries like Israel, Iran, and Iraq as “puppets” to conduct a proxy war with Russia (so that the US doesn’t have to attack Russia directly; get the Arabs and Jews to do it for you.). Basically, the Muslim community needs to get its own leaders in politics, expecially at the state level. I pray you Muslims would see through the empty promises Obama is making and start your own Independent political party. I personally am a registered Independent, and I truely believe we the people need to get an Independent canidate who is commited to peace and unity (not to empty promises and war).



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Alicia

posted August 22, 2008 at 10:10 am


Camille, with all due respect, the argument you advance against Obama (about his not really caring about Muslims and Jews) could be made against any and all politicians who are going to any and all constituencies for votes. The proof of caring (or not) is in what the politician who is elected our next President actually does in office.
I do think it’s fair to say that the Obama campaign has been in a tizzy about how to approach Muslim voters. Given all the rumors that Obama is a Muslim himself, and the fears that Obama may be defined by the Republicans as too “foreign” or possibly too left-wing or extremist to be President, this really isn’t a big surprise.
I was a Hillary supporter, now I am a lukewarm Barack Obama supporter. I hope that, if he is elected President, Obama will turn out to be both more courageous, and more pragmatic a leader than he has been in the campaign. That includes not keeping the Muslim community at arm’s length, and having the courage to appoint Muslims to positions within his administration.



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Chaslee

posted August 23, 2008 at 4:08 pm


Obama doesn’t discriminate. He throws Muslims (Asbahi) and Christians (Rev Wright) under the bus when it suits his purposes.
Neither Christians nor Jews, nor Muslims can trust him.
I resent the term “Muslim haters” as well as “Jew Hater” or any other use of the Hatred, unless supported by specific comments and people. I respect Islam just as I respect Christianity (my faith) and Judiasm and all religions that work for peace and Justice in the world.
Sadly, the news of the day is more of Muslims killing Muslims than for Muslims seeking peace, justice, and wanting to get along with other faiths. If there is fear and prejudice against Muslims it is a result of that news and not the visceral reaction of Americans who live in a great country that respects and protects religious freedom and promotes religious tolerance.
Muslims should spend more time condemning the daily carnage of Muslims killing Muslims (about 50 per day in recent days) and then they may find less discrimination and concern about Islam in all political parties.



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Luvjust4u

posted August 24, 2008 at 7:36 pm


We have to remember this nation has been structured in a manner to allow freedom of religion, while at the same time keeping the state from catering to any particular one. The reality is candidates do have their own personal religious choices and by law are not obligated to favor any one religion’s views over another in the governing of the national family of American Citizens. With the tragedies in world history, we should wish it remain so among humanity. People need to be vigilant as individuals in honoring the 14th Amendment which prohibits discrimination against anyone based on their religious preference as long as that religion isn’t in general posing a clear and present danger to life and property of other US Citizens.
In that context, presidential candidate Obama is not obligated to be trying to court anyone’s vote based on showing favoritism towards one religion or another, even his own. His job and approach should remain the best interest of the national family of Americans which he has over and over again articulated. Americans who are have espoused Islam, Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism, Taoism etc., should not be pressuring any political leader to cater exclusively to any religious groups’ interests as this will only fuel sectarian divisions. He is doing the right thing in keeping focus on leading Americans as a nation of human beings US Citizens, not a religion. Religion divides and these kinds of issues only affirm that. We need to be united as a national family for the good of each member of society regardless of their religious preferences, as long as that religion is not a clear and present danger or corruption of humanity.



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Mr. Jim

posted August 24, 2008 at 7:43 pm


We have to remember this nation has been structured in a manner to allow freedom of religion, while at the same time keeping the state from catering to any particular one. The reality is candidates do have their own personal religious choices and by law are not obligated to favor any one religion’s views over another in the governing of the national family of American Citizens. With the tragedies in world history, we should wish it remain so among humanity. People need to be vigilant as individuals in honoring the 14th Amendment which prohibits discrimination against anyone based on their religious preference as long as that religion isn’t in general posing a clear and present danger to life and property of other US Citizens.
In that context, prsidential candidate Obama is not obligated to be trying to court anyone’s vote based on showing favoritism towards one religion or another, even his own. His job and approach should remain the best interest of the national family of Americans which he has over and over again articulated. Americans who are have espoused Islam, Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism, Taoism etc., should not be pressuring any political leader to cater exclusively to any religious groups’ interests as this will only fuel sectarian divisions. He is doing the right thing in keeping focus on leading Americans as a nation of human beings US Citizens, not a religion. Religion divides and these kinds of issues only affirm that. We need to be united as a national family fo the good of each member of society regardless of their religious preferences, as lng as that relgion is not a clear and present danger or corruption of humanity.



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Grace Rahim

posted September 6, 2008 at 7:47 pm


I do not know about other faiths, but I do know that Obama and his campaign hate Islam and Muslims. They will say and do anything to stay away from us. I volunteered for the Obama campaign during the primaries. Now, a truckload of donkeys cannot haul me to volunteer for his campaign again. A friend once asked me, “Why you stop supporting Barack?” I said- we, the Muslims are not part of Obama’s message of change and unity. He does not want to be associated with anything Islamic because he is afraid of being labeled a Muslim. Oh, please! If Obama is a Muslim then I am a Hindu. Obama does not respect what is important to me as a Muslim (my faith) why should I support him. Besides, I will not be welcome as a volunteer at his campaign – I am a Hijabi (Muslim woman with headscarf) and proud of it. I was thinking McCain before he selected that VP. Come Election Day, I am going Hijab shopping, inshallah.



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Luvjust4u

posted October 4, 2008 at 11:39 am


Greeting Mrs Rahim. You stated,”A friend once asked me, “Why you stop supporting Barack?” I said- we, the Muslims are not part of Obama’s message of change and unity. He does not want to be associated with anything Islamic because he is afraid of being labeled a Muslim.”
Are you the spokes person for all Muslims? With respect to your personal choice of faith/religion, would you say living as a US Citizen under the laws of the US Constitution is of less value than living as a Muslim under the laws of Islam? Would you want president catering to each personal religious preference or do you want a president that caters to our needs as US Citizens while protecting our rights to exercise our personal religious beliefs as long as they are not violating the rights and privileges of our fellow Americans? Understanding the reason there is church/religion and state separation can be very confusing to people who put their whole heart and soul into their espoused religion. That mandate,total surrender to God, found in most theistic religions, should not be taken to mean God commands us to abandon being peaceful cooperative citizens in the country we are born.
Political leaders will obviously bring their own personal values into their office. The most important thing about America is the ability of leaders to distinguish what’s good for all citizens from what will only be good to a group of their own preference based on religion, gender, special interests, or race. We see the bad economic results of catering to corporate interests to shun regulation over protecting employees'(working class) best interests. Sen Obama is verbally showing concern for middle class best interests in tax relief as opposed to this adminstrations and McCain’s preference for tax relief to the wealthy. Muslims need to be concerned with those kinds of issues.
Political leaders, good ones, have to stay that kind of humanitarian neutral course as it pertains to governing a democratic republic of diverse groups of citizens. Religious groups should not be offended if he does not come right out and verbally endorse a particular religion over the needs of the general population.
You stated, “Oh, please! If Obama is a Muslim then I am a Hindu. Obama does not respect what is important to me as a Muslim (my faith) why should I support him. Besides, I will not be welcome as a volunteer at his campaign – I am a Hijabi (Muslim woman with headscarf) and proud of it. I was thinking McCain before he selected that VP. Come Election Day, I am going Hijab shopping, inshallah.”
The term Muslim means one who is surrendered to ILAHA/GOD. Some monotheists surrender to one Al-Ilaha named Allah who rejects having humans as adopted or spiritually reborn sons and daughters and absolutely rejects the term begotten son. Some surrender to THE ONE AL ILAHA YHVH (Jehovah) who adopts and endears humans and angels as HIS Sons/ Children. HE prophesied in Psalms and confirmed in the Gospels, which Allah claims in the Quran to have inspired King David and the Apostles write in Hebrew, that HE would call a Human Body HIS Begotten Son. So, once one considers the implications of that claim, it’s not correct to say Sen. Obama, any true Christian, or follower of Judaism doesn’t respect the faith of Muslims since based on the Quran most are Hanif Muslims following the faith of Abraham the Hebrew.
I personally accept being a Hanif Muslim and accept the Quran’s claim to merely be confirming the Book of Moses in the Arabic language. The Quran was given specifically to the desert Arabs who thought sons of God and begotten son meant literal coitus between ILAHA and women which was NEVER the case. Anyway, I make this point to say many Muslims really don’t understand True Islam doctrinally until they study Hanif Islam, the TRUE Islamic(Arabic for Surrender to Peace by Submission to The Will of ILAHA YaHuVaH) faith of Abraham. If your faith is so important, I’m amazed at how many don’t know these details.
So, is saying “Obama does not respect what is important to me as a Muslim (my faith) why should I support him.”, is that being fair to him? If your faith leads to you making false judgments about people based on rather or not they verbally show public support for a faith that’s not even clear in it’s doctrines and claims, then the problem isn’t Sen Obama, it’s your mis comprehension of your own faith.
What should matter to Muslims as US Citizens is which presidential and vp candidates are going to preserve our freedom of worship and religious freedoms, Sen Obama and Sen Biden or Sen.McCain and Palin? If you choose not to vote, you are will still be choosing to leave who gets in office to others and you may wish level headed intelligent candidates like Senators Obama and Biden were in office. Muslims need to realize they are US Citizens first. We are born human beings first which is why we still have to choose our religions for ourself. I’m not telling you who to vote for, but don’t make an enemy where there is none. If Sen Obama is a Freemason, as most political leaders are, he already has accepted the Quran as a valid important religion.



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Leelee

posted February 9, 2009 at 9:50 pm


I just want the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the Truth concerning Obama’s birth place. Many of us in Canada just cannot pass by the possibility that the gentleman is not a true American. We are Worried.



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