Tuesday, June 24, 2008

The "Snub" of Muslims

The New York Times reports that many Muslims in this country "feel snubbed" by Barack Obama:

As Senator Barack Obama courted voters in Iowa last December, Representative Keith Ellison, the country’s first Muslim congressman, stepped forward eagerly to help.

Mr. Ellison believed that Mr. Obama’s message of unity resonated deeply
with American Muslims. He volunteered to speak on Mr. Obama’s behalf at a mosque
in Cedar Rapids, one of the nation’s oldest Muslim enclaves. But before the
rally could take place, aides to Mr. Obama asked Mr. Ellison to cancel the trip
because it might stir controversy. Another aide appeared at Mr. Ellison’s
Washington office to explain.

“I will never forget the quote,” Mr. Ellison said, leaning forward in
his chair as he recalled the aide’s words. “He said, ‘We have a very tightly
wrapped message.’ ”

We need to be bluntly honest about reality here-just what were these Muslim groups expecting to happen? Barack Obama is not a Muslim, but he does have plenty of family members who are (by his own admission), and last time I checked we as a nation were engaged in hostile action in two overwhelmingly Muslim nations, and have been attacked many times-and in 2001 finally on our own soil-by groups acting in the name of Islam.

We can speak all we like about the fact that a majority of Muslims would not act in the way that these terrorist groups would act, but the opinions of groups like Hezbollah, Hamas, and Al Qaeda are widely-held opinions on the street in the Muslim world. The anti-American, anti-Jewish (of all sorts), and even anti-Christian (of all sorts) feeling in the Muslim world is not a creature of the Iraq War, it goes back decades to the time of Harry Truman, and foreign policy decisions made during Truman's administration. While the wisdom of these decisions is still a matter of scholarly debate, they are decisions deemed at the time to have been in the best interest of the United States, and are such that 60 years later they cannot be undone.

Many of Barack Obama's younger supporters seem to make the mistake of believing that anti-American feeling among Muslims in the Middle East is something brought about by the present Administration, when in reality the United States has either been in a state of high tension (1979 Iran Hostage Crisis, American and other Western Hostages held and/or killed in Lebanon in the 1980's) or low war (1983 Beirut Marine bombing, 1986 Libya mission, First Gulf War) against forces in the Muslim world for years. It is more than understandable why many Americans would feel uncomfortable having someone seen as being too cozy with Muslims or the Muslim world as President of the United States.

Having once roomed with a Muslim in college and having known several Muslims over the course of my life, I can attest that there is a difference between those "Muslims" who in reality choose to Westernize themselves in this country, and Muslims whose sympathies and outlook lie primarily in the Middle East. No, I don't believe that Barack Obama's Muslim supporters are lining up to bomb buildings and chant death to America.

The trouble is that Muslims in the Muslim world who would do these things have made it clear that they prefer Barack Obama, and Obama's people know that isn't good for their man.

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