The Muslim advocacy group Council on America-Islamic relations, contended that Barack Obama is not to blame for his nonexistent outreach to American Muslim leaders. CAIR Spokesperson Ibrahim Hooper said that Obama’s reticence to reach out to American Muslims is partly due to people making use of the senator’s middle name. “Senator Obama has been targeted by anti-Muslim extremists who have falsely claimed he’s Muslim,” says Hooper. “… [I] think he is reacting to that concerted effort to smear him with false allegations …. Unfortunately, in reacting to these [smears], he can have the perception of keeping the American Muslim community at arm’s length,” Hooper said.
In an op-ed to the International Herald Tribune, Roger Cohen explores Islamophobia in the United States, and why he believes it is important that Senator Obama reach out to America’s Muslim community, and visit mosques, just as he has visited churches and synagogues to reach out to their faithful. While Cohen is aware that Obama’s middle name of _Hussein’ has and will continue to draw suspicion from opponents and the fearful, he argues that Obama’s multi-cultural background may put him in a unique position to present, from his own knowledge and experiences, that Islam is not a monstrous specter. More on Cohen’s opinions can be read at the link below.
New arguments about US Presidential hopeful Barack Obama’s religious history have been brought up in the media this week. While Obama has repeatedly stated that he is a Christian and belongs to the United Church of Christ, others are intent that Obama has had a history with Islam – and may be an apostate. An Op-ed by the New York Times writes that opinion in the Muslim world has been strongly in favor of Obama; but the op-ed warns against conflating his half-African identity with his Muslim heritage. As the son of a Muslim father, Senator Obama was born a Muslim under Muslim law – and it makes no difference that his father later renounced his religion. Choosing Christianity, in Muslim eyes, makes Obama an apostate – or irtidad or ridda in Arabic – the worst of all crimes that a Muslim can commit. For more information about this issue, additional details can be found in the articles and reactions in the links below.