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Passion Islam I November 2008 ORLD NEWSW I 13
Smears against Obama
made Muslim vote: experts
False rumors that Barack Obama was whose mother was a white woman from with Republican John McCain’s campaign.
secretly a Muslim or had ties to Islamic Kansas, has the middle name Hussein, The film features suicide bombers,
extremism angered Muslim-Americans, and lived for part of his childhood in children being trained with guns, and a
who overwhelming supported him in the predominantly Muslim Indonesia. He is a Christian church said to have been defiled
presidential election, experts said. Christian. by Muslims.Read said the video was a
Unpublished polling data indicated Jen’nan Read, professor of sociology subtle attempt to link Obama to Islamic
that the Democratic President-elect got at Duke University, told the same briefing extremists but many of the states where
somewhere between 67 percent and it was handed out “were strongholds
90 percent of the Muslim vote, probably of Muslim American voters” who were
nearer the higher end, Ahmed Younis prompted to work for Obama.
of Gallup Centre for Muslim Studies, “It may actually have brought out
said in a telephone briefing. voters for Obama,” she said.
A “watershed” moment for U.S. But beyond that issue, she added,
Muslims occurred in mid-October, Muslim voters looked a lot like many
he said, when former Secretary of other American voters. They moved
State Colin Powell, a Republican who away from the Republican party, which
endorsed Obama, addressed the they had backed heavily in 2000 but less
Obama-is-a-Muslim rumors which had so in 2004 -- and voted their concerns
circulated for months, and condemned for issues such as the economy and a
the idea that this would be a slur. desire for a change in leadership.
“Is there something wrong with Mukit Hossain, executive director
being a Muslim in this country?” Powell of the Muslim American Political Action
asked on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” “The Committee, said at the briefing that
answer’s no, that’s not America ... Yet support for Obama among Muslims
I have heard senior members of my “changed dramatically” in the last three
own party drop the suggestion ‘he’s to four weeks of the campaign “when
a Muslim and he might be associated people started calling Obama a terrorist”
with terrorists.’” that not only did the whisper campaign in the crowds at Republican rallies.
Younis said that for U.S. Muslims about Obama being a closet Muslim fail, He also said a concern for erosion
Powell’s comment capped a decades- but that distribution in closely contested of civil liberties since the attacks on the
long search “to become part and parcel states of a video on Islamic extremism United States of September 11, 2001, has
of the nation.” backfired. driven Muslims away from the Republican
Muslims make up less than 1 percent VIDEO BACKFIRED party in recent years.
of the U.S. population of 305 million, More than 20 million copies of a film Although hard numbers are difficult
according to the Pew Forum on Religion called “Obsession: Radical Islam’s War to find, Hossain said from 2 million to 3
and Public Life, though some believe that Against the West” were included as million Muslims were probably registered
number is low. advertising supplements in newspapers, to vote in this year’s election.
Obama, whose father was Kenyan and distributed by a private group unaffiliated
American Muslims quick
to congratulate Obama
The largest U.S. Islamic civil rights group said in a statement just minutes after nation,” Awad said.
was among the first to congratulate Obama’s victory speech in Chicago. Obama, who will be the first black
President-Elect Democrat Barack Nihad Awad, executive director of the U.S. president and whose middle name
Obama, a man who some opponents tried group, said they hoped to offer the Obama is Hussein, is a Christian. But throughout
to portray as a Muslim because of the administration some support and advice. the campaign, false rumors circulated
childhood years he spent in Indonesia. “We look forward to having the on the Internet that he was Muslim and
“President-elect Obama’s victory opportunity to work with the Obama therefore not a suitable candidate for the
sends the unmistakable message that administration in protecting the civil rights White House.
America is a nation that offers equal of all Americans, projecting an accurate Son of a Kenyan father and white
opportunity to people of all backgrounds,” image of America in the Muslim world American mother, Obama spent part of his
the Council on American Islamic Relations and playing a positive role in securing our childhood in largely Muslim Indonesia.
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