WASHINGTON — Muslims in Western countries say they have gotten used to the fact that as elections get closer, politicians pump up the volume of accusations against them, whether they are Sunni, Shiite or of another sect.
In some European nations, it was the debate over women wearing the veil that set off the attacks. Now in the United States, where pivotal elections are looming, accusations against Muslims have reached a new level. It seems to some that the days of McCarthyism are back.
Representative Michele Bachmann, a Minnesota Republican and a member of the Tea Party movement, cited Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton’s longtime aide Huma Abedin as the reason, questioning Ms. Abedin’s loyalty. One of the few Muslims in a prominent government position, Ms. Abedin is a trusted adviser who is known to the public; many have defended her against Mrs. Bachmann’s charge.
It is “so sad to see,” one of the women said. “There is already a lack of Muslims in government positions, but now this debate just shows no matter how loyal you are, some people will always attack you because you are Muslim.”
It is not the first time that Muslim women involved in politics have been attacked because of their backgrounds.
This accusation was a disturbing development for four Muslim women who work for the U.S. government and spoke on the condition that they not be identified because they were not authorized to make comments to the media.