(h/t Red Tory)
“Muslim in his blood“? What, like cancer, or *ahem* an opiate? Naomi Klein throws a bucket of common sense on the bonfire of racist stupidity that is fueling Middle-Namegate, calling on Obama to forcefully douse the “controversy” once and for all:
Occasionally, though not nearly enough, Obama says that Muslims are “deserving of respect and dignity.” What he has never done is what Singer called for in Poland: denounce the attacks themselves as racist propaganda, in this case against Muslims.
The core of Obama’s candidacy is that he alone–who lived in Indonesia as a boy and has an African grandmother–can “repair the world” after the Bush wrecking ball. That repair job begins with the 1.4 billion Muslims around the world, many of whom are convinced that the United States has been waging a war against their faith. This perception is based on facts, among them the fact that Muslim civilians are not counted among the dead in Iraq and Afghanistan; that Islam has been desecrated in US-run prisons; that voting for an Islamic party resulted in collective punishment in Gaza. It is also fueled by the rise of a virulent strain of Islamophobia in Europe and North America.
As the most visible target of this rising racism, Obama has the power to be more than its victim. He can use the attacks to begin the very process of global repair that is the most seductive promise of his campaign. The next time he’s asked about his alleged Muslimness, Obama can respond not just by clarifying the facts but by turning the tables. He can state clearly that while a liaison with a pharmaceutical lobbyist may be worthy of scandalized exposure, being a Muslim is not. Changing the terms of the debate this way is not only morally just but tactically smart–it’s the one response that could defuse these hateful attacks.
Expanding on Klein’s sentiments, some “politically isolated” American Muslims (yes, they vote, too) feeling singed by the flames of bigotry say they want more than empty apologies from pols for perpetuating the proxy attacks on Muslims and their faith (h/t Kate Sheppard @ TAPPED):
American Muslims complain their faith is being used as a scare tactic, possibly inflaming prejudices already heightened by the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, the subsequent war and terrorist bombings. The recent ploys, leaders say, insinuate that simply being or associating with Muslims is sinister.
“It would be good if the president and leaders of both parties would say: ‘Enough. We’re better than this,’ ” said Salam Al-Marayati, executive director of the Muslim Public Affairs Council. “It’s disconcerting to me they haven’t.” Republicans have criticized some of the tactics, as has the National Council of Churches. Muslim leaders say while the politicians’ admonishments are needed, they fall short of the full-throated defense other religions would receive.
“They’re not apologizing for the bigotry, but rather it’s unstatesmanlike to insult each other,” ElGenaidi said.
And while the Village Idiots endlessly parse the difference between “denounce” and “reject” as it relates to (evilscaryangryMuslimneegro) Louis Farrakhan’s unsolicited support of Obama, John Sidney McCain III openly and actively courts anti-Papist
apocalyptic end-timer “Christian Zionist” John Hagee, who recently endorsed the Maverick.
Yes, that John Hagee:
I don’t have to agree with everyone who endorses my candidacy. They are supporting my candidacy. I am not endorsing some of their positions. . . .
And I am very proud of the Pastor John Hagee’s spiritual leadership to thousands of people and I am proud of his commitment to the independence and the freedom of the state of Israel. That does not mean that I support or endorse or agree with some of the things that Pastor John Hagee might have said or positions that he may have taken on other issues.
Glenn Greenwald nails it:
“White evangelical Ministers are free to advocate American wars based on Biblical mandates, rant hatefully against Islam, and argue that natural disasters occur because God hates gay people. They are still fit for good company, an important and cherished part of our mainstream American political system. The entire GOP establishment is permitted actively to lavish them with praise and court their support without the slightest backlash or controversy. Both George Bush and Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert sent formal greetings to the 2006 gathering of Hagee’s group.
By contrast, black Muslim ministers like Farrakhan, or even black Christian ministers like Rev. Jeremiah Wright, are held with deep suspicion, even contempt. McCain is free to hug and praise the Rev. Hagees of the world, but Obama is required to prove over and over and over and over that he does not share the more extreme views of black Ministers.“
Or, as dnA succinctly puts it:
So Hagee hates black people, Jews, gays, and on and on. McCain has appeared in public with this man. So why is he acceptable while Farrakhan is viewed with such hate?
Because he’s white [and Christian, and a Republican – mb].
Simple answers, kids. Somebody wake my ass up on November 5th.