Obama’s Muslim Problem

Posted by Mike Merritt in Election 2008, Politics on

Geeze, this guy is starting to have a lot of “problems,” isn’t he?  First it was “the Appalachain problem” and now it’s his “Muslim problem.”

For those hiding under pebbles, his campaign seems to be actively trying to dispel that age old rumor that Barack Obama is a sooper-sekret Muslim.  Anybody who’s actually paying attention knows by now that this is simply not true.  Anybody who’s been geeking out on election issues for the past 17 months (like me), knows that Obama made a speech some months ago that I argued would not seem out of place at a church that’s a member of the National Association of Evangelicals.

However, they seem to be a little paranoid about the issue.  The campaign seems to be doing anything they can to stop the Republicans from associating Obama with terrorists.  This would seem to include barring a couple of Muslim women wearing headscarfs from sitting behing Obama at one of his speeches.  Obama later personally apologized to the women, and I have read that they are content at his apology.  Obama’s campaigned also told Democratic Congressman Keith Ellison, a Muslim, that he shouldn’t make a speech promoting Obama at a mosque.

Whoever is handling Obama’s religious outreach ought to be fired, since they’re not doing outreach toward Muslims, and I think it’s important that they do so.  Just as important as reaching out to Christians or Jews.  Face it, Obama campaign.  Islam is still a major religion in this country, even if not the biggest.  You need their support, and ignoring them is just as dangerous as being perceived as a terrorist symphaphizer.

I can see why they’re doing it.  All those endorsements from Hamas and Iran certainly are not helping him.  Yet, I’d argue Obama can reach out to Muslims without being perceived as a friend of terrorists the world over.  I think he needs to meet with Muslim groups, and quickly.  Perhaps even call a religious summit, including leaders from various denominations from around the U.S.  Then, and this is important, he needs to make a speech about his support for Muslims.  Such a speech should also emphasize his Christian faith, and maybe a comparison to the strong faith of many Muslims around the U.S.  Finally, it should include his willingness to work with the Muslim community to root out terrorism.

The last part of such a speech would also show he’s continuing goal of dimplomacy over military action, while also showing committment to ridding the world of terrorism.

These things are important because the man who has been called a uniter is quickly losing this title.  I think quick and effective outrich to the Muslim community would help repair both rifts.

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