DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Hillary Clinton’s campaign on Sunday requested the resignation of a second Iowa volunteer coordinator who forwarded a hoax e-mail saying Barack Obama is a Muslim possibly intent on destroying the United States.
Obama is a member of the United Church of Christ and says he has never been a Muslim, but false rumors attempting to tie him to Islamic jihadists are circulating on the Internet.
“Let us all remain alert concerning Obama’s expected presidential Candidacy,” read the e-mail. “Please forward to everyone you know. The Muslims have said they Plan on destroying the US from the inside out, what better way to start than at The highest level.”
Comment from Rafik Beekun:
What is sad is that this bigoted email is like the proverbial question “Have you stopped beating your wife yet?” Any answer (Yes/No) is problematic. Once this bigoted email started from the Clinton campaign (the same one which denies that no planted questions have been knowingly asked of Senator Clinton), it has put both Obama and Muslims in a bad light, and people are beginning to believe it and to spread it around. Just the other day, someone told me that she would vote for Obama, but for the fact that he is Muslim!!! Now some are copying this false rumor into blogs as if it is the truth.
According to a November 29 article in the Washington Post, an August poll by the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press revealed that 45 percent of respondents said they would be less likely to vote for a candidate for any office who is Muslim, compared with 25 percent who said that about a Mormon candidate and with 16 percent who said the same for someone who is an evangelical Christian. Clearly, being associated with Islam and running for political office in the United States already puts one at a major disadvantage, and the bigoted email from the Clinton campaign volunteers just harnesses the apparent distrust of Muslims in America by their fellow citizens.
In fact, the Washington Post Nov. 29 article is very disingenous: it is written in a way that almost condones the spread of these rumors, and blames Obama for them. The authors of the article state that, “Despite his denials, rumors and e-mails circulating on the Internet continue to allege that Obama (D-Ill.) is a Muslim, a ‘Muslim plant’ in a conspiracy against America, and that, if elected president, he would take the oath of office using a Koran, rather than a Bible, as did Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.), the only Muslim in Congress, when he was sworn in earlier this year.”
Contrary to what the Washington Post and other political pundits assert, American Muslims do not agree that being associated with Islam makes one a pariah when running for political office. If we work, obey the law, pay taxes, serve in the U.S. military (like my wife has and my son currently is) and vote, why should our faith make it less likely that we are elected to political office? Or once a Muslim is elected to political office, why should her faith make it less likely that she would serve her country to the best of her ability? As noted by Ibrahim Hooper, communications director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, a Washington-based civil rights and advocacy group for Muslims, in the same Washington Post article, “It’s good for America to have a president who has diversity at many levels in his background. That would be a benefit in reaching out to the rest of the world, particularly the Islamic world.”
My suggestion? Senator Clinton should personally apologize to Senator Obama for these underhanded tactics from her campaign volunteers, and should apologize to American Muslims for the bigoted email, and the manner in which they have been smeared.
Please also read this article: Using the “Muslim” label as a dirty political trick in U.S. presidential campaigning.