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Is Obama the Muslim World's Superman?

Muslim Americans overwhelmingly supported Obama's election earlier this month, and his promise of a more inclusive America. But as the initial euphoria dies away (a little), what can Muslims, both at home and abroad, really expect from the president elect with the middle name Hussein. Here American Muslim playwright and author Wajahat Ali explores.

Muslims, both here and abroad, are investing their collective faith in Obama as a modern political Superman who will transform U.S. foreign policy from the abrasive "Us vs. Them" ideology of President Bush to an engaging, constructive dialogue. But as Obama begins to assemble his administration, are Muslims assuming too much about the transformative powers of the president?

Certainly among American Muslims the response has been overwhelmingly positive. Specifically, a poll by the American Muslim Taskforce on Civil Rights and Election (AMT) found that 89 percent of Muslims who voted went for Obama, and that the Muslim turnout in the U.S. elections reached 95 percent, the highest Muslim turnout in U.S. history.

American Muslims' vote for Obama reflects a repudiation of President Bush and his administration's relentless stereotyping of Muslims as extremists and terrorists. Obama's talk of inclusiveness and multi-culturalism, while not specifically naming American Mulsims, has already fulfilled one central wish of the community - to feel included in the political and cultural life of the country (whether the President-elect can fix healthcare or the economy, other pressing issues facing the American Muslim community, we eagerly wait and see, along with the rest of America).

Overseas, however, Muslims are treating Obama with considerable skepticism born from a fear that once in office, he will be overwhelmed by imperial desire and will perpetuate the rhetoric of the "War on Terror."

As Souheila Al- Jadda, Peabody award wining journalist and associate producer of Mosaic: World News from the Middle East, explained to me, "Judging from the Arab media outlets, Arabs in the Middle East don't expect to see much change in policy towards the Middle East, particularly with regards to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict."

There are already some worrying signs that on the key issue of Israel, Obama will be following in the footsteps of his pro-Israeli predecessor. The recent appointment of Rahm Emanuel as Obama's Chief of Staff deflated some optimistic expectations that the new administration would reform their policy. Emanuel is an Israeli-American dual citizen, pro-Iraq War Democrat, and son of a right wing member of Irgun, a notoriously militant Zionist organization operating from 1931 to 1948, which was responsible for acts of terrorism against the British and Palestinians.

Furthermore, Obama's selection of Sen. Joe Biden as Vice President further cemented this concern, because he once proudly proclaimed, "I am a Zionist" and has repeatedly received an extremely high, pro-Israel rating from AIPAC [American Israeli Political Action Committee.]

However, many others such as Zeba Khan, founder of Muslim-Americans for Obama, maintain such appointments will not alter Muslim's positive perception of Obama. Unlike Bush and McCain, Obama has professed a more nuanced and pragmatic relationship with Israel, one that does not automatically tow the hardliner, pro-Likud ideology. Moreover, she notes, "Emanuel has been appointed Chief of Staff not Secretary of State. He will not be Obama's go-to guy on foreign policy."

Yet, Obama's ultimate litmus test in the eyes of the Muslim world revolves around his pressure - or lack thereof - in convincing Israel to cease building settlements in the occupied territories of West Bank and Gaza and vastly improving its prejudicial treatment towards Palestinians.

As historian and writer Will Dalrymple told me, "At the heart of U.S. problems with the Muslim world lies America's complacent attitudes to Israel's continuing colonization and balkanization of the West Bank."

However, Obama's most immediate and potentially delicate diplomacy revolves around the two wars in Muslim countries. On the Afghan front, Obama must tackle the festering quagmire paralyzing the North West Frontier Province [NWFP] bordering Pakistan and Afghanistan. To most policy and security experts, this geopolitical arena is the most crucial fulcrum in battling terrorism; one that demands our utmost attention and resources.

It remains to be seen if Obama follows the selfishly myopic policy of administrations past that have recklessly supported Pakistani dictators, such as General Zia al Haq in the '80's and most recently General Pervez Musharaff, to the detriment of pushing Pakistan's electoral base, which is moderate and tolerant, towards democracy.

Furthermore, Obama's continued aggressive rhetoric towards Pakistan - one that suggests unilateral air strikes and military incursions threatening Pakistan's sovereignty - has been met with much criticism and skepticism.

"It is difficult to see how Obama plans to 'reach out to the people of Pakistan,' as he has said, if he ignores their democratically elected leaders and if he continues to illegally bomb the FATA tribal territories... which have killed many more civilians than militants, and continue to alienate the people of the region against America and its allies," states Dalrymple.

Meanwhile, Obama's declaration of seeking some semblance of diplomacy with Iran - albeit under severe restrictions - elucidates a clear break from the Bush administration's policy. Obama's promise of "dialogue" is precisely what makes him the antithesis of Bush's unilateral "shock and awe" campaign that was so disastrously employed in Iraq.

At issue is how America chooses to project its power - whether complacently, in the case of Israel, or aggressively in Iraq, Pakistan and Afghanistan. Obama's pledge to gradually remove U.S. troops from the Iraq region and help ease a transition towards Iraqi autonomy will validate Obama's intentions in the hearts of Muslims worldwide of a new, improved U.S.-Middle East policy at work.

And so the world waits to see what mask Obama will wear to the macabre revelry that is U.S.-Muslim relations. Will his policies and decisions reflect his multicultural and diplomatic rhetoric, or will that idealistic - and some say naïve and improbable - vision quickly give way to Machiavellian Realpolitik? Regardless of how this relationship ultimately coexists, for the first time in a long time at least both partners can have cause, at least for the time being, to hope for a better tomorrow.

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Comments (34)

frft5 Author Profile Page:

OMEGA_MAN:


“Americans either know very little about Israel or hate Israel. Our politicians like to go before AIPAC and announce that Americans support Israel. But we don't. We are kept in the dark, therefore we don't revolt.”


The communication channels here in US and in the west are to a great extent controlled and significantly influenced by the Jews and Zionists. The westerners, Americans significantly more, are indeed kept in dark but as you mentioned this is unlikely to be everlasting and the true identity of Israel and its inhuman policies will surface worldwide and the international communities will find this unacceptable.
As for the rest of your post, no disagreements whatsoever here.


Faramarz Fathi

abhab Author Profile Page:

Zeba says:
“I am an American Muslim and do agree that radicals have ruined the name of my religion in the eyes of many Americans and many others in this world. I apologize to my fellow Americans and others for this - but will not be apologetic for being a proud American and a proud Muslim.”

It is not so much what the radicals did that concerns us, but more so the agenda of your main stream organizations. The Moslem Brotherhood organizations that claim to be civil liberty organizations have an agenda to change this country to make it mirror the failed societies they had left behind.
Check this out: from a policy statement used as evidence in a trial.

The Muslim Brotherhood “must understand that their work in America is a kind of jihad in eliminating and destroying the Western civilization from within and sabotaging its miserable house by their hands and the hands of the believers so that it is eliminated and Allah’s religion is made victorious over all other religions”
Mohammad Akram, “An explanatory Memorandum on the General Strategic Goal for the Group( Moslem Brotherhood) of North America,” May 22, 1991, Government Exhibit 003-0085, U.S. vs. HLF, et al. 7 (21).

abhab Author Profile Page:

Stacie1872

The word "al-Taqiyya" literally means: "Concealing or disguising one's beliefs, convictions, ideas, feelings, opinions, and/or strategies at a time of eminent danger, whether now or later in time, to save oneself from physical and/or mental injury

Any one who, after accepting faith in Allah, utters Unbelief,- except under compulsion, his heart remaining firm in Faith - but such as open their breast to Unbelief, on them is Wrath from Allah, and theirs will be a dreadful Penalty. {Quran 16:106}

This passage gives a Muslim the right, to ‘utter unbelief’ under the condition of ‘compulsion’. This is more than merely remaining silent. The interrogator can be misled by the words of the Muslim. The question then is, “What is ‘compulsion’?”

Whatever ‘compulsion’ is, the fact remains that dissimulation is widely practiced by Muslims. If a Muslim argues that such dissimulation goes against Islam then it can be countered that such misleading was practiced by Muhammad himself.

"(Verily) we smile for some people, while our hearts curse (those same people)." Sahih al Bukhari, v4, p45 publishers Uthmania, Egypt that Abu al-Darda' said he heard the Prophet (s) state:

http://diacrino.blogspot.com/2007/06/lying-in-islam-taqqiyah.html

omega_man Author Profile Page:

stacie01872:
"There seem to be quite a few muslims posting here, so i thought perhaps it would be a good place to pose a question to some of you. First of all, the Q'uran states that it is ok to lie or deceive, if done for the good of Allah."

The subject is Islam, why wouldn't Muslims post here? I'll be glad to answer your question about the Koran. But first, do you happen to have the number of the passage you're referring to? While you're looking that up, I'll share a passage from the Talmud:

MENAHOTH 43B-44A
A Jewish man is obligated to say the following prayer every day: Thank you God for not making me a gentile, a woman or a slave.

stacie01872 Author Profile Page:

There seem to be quite a few muslims posting here, so i thought perhaps it would be a good place to pose a question to some of you. First of all, the Q'uran states that it is ok to lie or deceive, if done for the good of Allah. Furthermore, according to the Islamic Sahria law (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sharia), the son of any Muslim man is legally muslim even if his mother is not a muslim. I heard, and read all over the internet after 9/11 that Muslims around the world stated that they would have a Muslim president in the white house by the year 2012. And of course the've said repeatedly that Sharia law would replace our constitution once this was accomplished. So I guess my question is this? Is this so called euphoria that you all are experiencing have anything to do with this accomplishment? Do you all feel that you are one step closer to bringing the western world under the dominance of Islam?

Zeba1 Author Profile Page:

I am sorry for re-posting - but my first post - had part of FLOTDC's post in it at the bottom.

I am deeply disappointed with the degree of hate in these posted comments. Firstly - thank you WP - please keep articles like this coming. Let's raise the level of dialogue. These are complex issues that cannot be solved with black and white solutions.

Secondly, I am an American Muslim and do agree that radicals have ruined the name of my religion in the eyes of many Americans and many others in this world. I apologize to my fellow Americans and others for this - but will not be apologetic for being a proud American and a proud Muslim. I have the right in this country to be both. As long as I live by the rules of this country I have the right to freedom of religion.

Thirdly, regarding this:

"American Muslims' vote for Obama reflects a repudiation of President Bush and his administration's relentless stereotyping of Muslims as extremists and terrorists."

And FLOTDC's comment response regarding the Bush Administration's inclusiveness of Muslims (http://www.whitehouse.gov/infocus/ramadan/islam.html). We thank the Bush Administration for their efforts of inclusiveness - but the Bush Administration directly and indirectly stereotyped or allowed the stereotyping of Muslism - through its actions or its inactions (its silent consent). Ask any brown person who could potentially be Muslim. As a community we have suffered great injustices in the past 7 years.

This is a great country that stands for unity in diversity - can we seek to communicate and educate each other - instead of promoting intolerance and hatred?

People ask - who is an American Muslim - honestly - we are your neighbors, your colleagues, your classmates and your friends. Please don't let the actions of a few make you incapable of seeing other Muslims as your fellow Americans who love this country as much as you do.

Zeba1 Author Profile Page:

I am deeply disappointed with the degree of hate in these posted comments. Firstly - thank you WP - please keep articles like this coming. Let's raise the level of dialogue. These are complex issues that cannot be solved with black and white solutions.

Secondly, I am an American Muslim and do agree that radicals have ruined the name of my religion in the eyes of many Americans and many others in this world. I apologize to my fellow Americans and others for this - but will not be apologetic for being a proud American and a proud Muslim. I have the right in this country to be both. As long as I live by the rules of this country I have the right to freedom of religion.

Thirdly, regarding this:

"American Muslims' vote for Obama reflects a repudiation of President Bush and his administration's relentless stereotyping of Muslims as extremists and terrorists."

And FLOTDC's comment response regarding the Bush Administration's inclusiveness of Muslims (http://www.whitehouse.gov/infocus/ramadan/islam.html). We thank the Bush Administration for their efforts of inclusiveness - but the Bush Administration directly and indirectly stereotyped or allowed the stereotyping of Muslism - through its actions or its inactions (its silent consent). Ask any brown person who could potentially be Muslim. As a community we have suffered great injustices in the past 7 years.

This is a great country that stands for unity in diversity - can we seek to communicate and educate each other - instead of promoting intolerance and hatred?

People ask - who is an American Muslim - honestly - we are your neighbors, your colleagues, your classmates and your friends. Please don't let the actions of a few make you incapable of seeing other Muslims as your fellow Americans who love this country as much as you do.


I tried to think of a polite way to address this, but all I could come up with is, "are you out of your mind?!"

This denies 7 years of the reality of Bush using explicitly inclusive language about Islam worldwide and Muslims in American life:

http://www.whitehouse.gov/infocus/ramadan/islam.html

For which he has taken quite a bit of heat for it from his base:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religion_of_Peace

Shame on you for a revisionism that is both Orwellian and mean-spirited.

Just because the guy has rock-bottom approval ratings doesn't give you license to throw in a gratuitous, dishonest kick.

asizk Author Profile Page:

Why not call a spade a SPADE:Rham's father was a member of the jewish terrorist gang Irgun which was involved big time in the ethnic cleanesing of PAlestinians in 1947/8 and he fled to Chicago as the British were on his tail in hot persuit.

Tziv Lvi's fatther was also a terrorist, so was Menahim Begin and many others..."israel" was established on the basis of terrorism, viloence and illegal immigration.

Generally speaking American jews are neither Republican nor Democrat-they are either pro-israel or israelis as the case with Rahm: observe Rahm and Joe Liberman who fervently supporthed the war on IRaq-because they believed it's a net gain for the apartheid state-israel.

America is not pro-israel:rather it's hijacked by AIPAC and other jewish lobbies.America is a secular democrcatic republic while "israel" is a racist apartheid militaristic jewish theocarcy.

US and israeli intersts are mutually exclusive:America should shake off jewish influnce and free itself from jewish zionist bondage.

Obama's change is no change so far as the Arab/Muslims are concerned:change applies to evey thing except on the Palestine issue.

palipride47 Author Profile Page:

Obama will not help Muslims. Obama shunned Muslims. He did not attend a single mosque, he spoke at an AIPAC meeting, why do Muslims think either one of these candidates will do anything for us? We are political kryptonite. Only Colin Powell even came close to speaking the truth (it shouldn't matter!) and the media paraded the "Obama's a Muslim" scam (yes, even you CNN and MSNBC) as if it was a terrible thing, to be a Muslim. If America keeps going down this intolerant road, we will see more bombings and political problems like France and Britain have. If we keep getting disparaged like this in all aspects of our lives, if America abandons its inclusionist doctrine, expect more conflict. Because not all American Muslims are willing to forgive America's transgressions.

Remember why the Black Panthers and and the NAtion of Islam (no relation to the Islamic religion) was born. They didn't suddenly wake up one day and decide they hated white people. Muslims didn't wake up one day and decide America was the Great Satan.

Miguel1 Author Profile Page:

The most dangerous government is the one which is framed religiouly. When I hear a candidate talking or sending a message, the first thing I try to identify is whether he has assembled his way to govern based on the religious steps and beliefs. If so, this government is dangerous. The other thing is if this new government makes threats to any nation in the World while preaches democracy during his speech.
Well..., though I am a Christian, the history that serves as basis for Christian and Jewish beliefs is that of God saving a people from Egyptian people, sending them to Canaan where they would slaughter the habitants of those provinces, old ones, children, women, young people and everybody. Those who survived the massive carnage were made slaves and all these things were God's will. These principles give us de sence that we (because of our religious roots) are made the chosen nation as well as Israel was that time, and that we are God people and the rest of the World, specially Muslims, but also Hindus and Buddhists and others are the people of the Evil. It is as dangerous as the radicalism of any other religion such as the extremist Muslims. Because of the puritanism of the US history, people seem to fit as Israel's continuation and sometimes are called Zionists by the extremist Muslims such as Osama bin Laden. Also because the US protects Israel in every circumstances, even if Israel is on the wrong road. There isn't any tolerance for the Muslim World on the American side, if a Muslim or Arabic nation commits a mistake. And this is because of religion influence. Iraq war was the representation of a fight of the good people against the evil people according to Mr. President Bush's words. And he is a religious evangelic puritan. He built his argument to make this war and kill Saddam Hussein on lies that he knew they were not certain. The consequence was a war thar killed too many children, old people, men and women who had nothing to do with Bush's wrath. American people also suffered the consequences because this war costs a lot of money every single day and this president spent all his time thinking on war and pointing his weaponry guns, bombs, missiles and weaponry to anyone and forgot to take care of his own people, America economy, health care, household, employment, etc., which caused the American recession that is contaminating the World by now. Americans are suffering and so are the nations around the World because the World is connected by globalization and when one makes war all the rest suffers.
The other day president-elected Obama made a speech in which he promised friendship and help to those countries that support democracy. It was good. The worse is that in the same speech he made a threat to those who are against democracy. Well, he was not wrong in his words, but they were not necessary if he wants to conquer those who are in harms way. War is a big mistake that try to solve tyranny whith tyranny. Diplomacy is the secret word and I think Obama will embrace it. Here in Brazil we believe that Obama will be the best option. Miguel - Campinas - Sao Paulo - Brazil - www.eiol.com.br - mmiguel@eiol.com.br

Imarkex Author Profile Page:

Imagine that.

citystreet Author Profile Page:

Obama, a Black American, rise to the highest office in the US to becoming the most powerful human being on the face of the planet is the ultimate response to the voice of reason in America. We anxiously await “The One” in the Muslim world to emerge…

iftakhar Author Profile Page:

I refer to the comments made by Mahantys.
Mahantys comments represent certain Hindu,Judeo and Neo-Cons ultimate goal towards break-up of Pakistan and use misnomer slogan ISLAMIC BOMB to scare rest of the world to acheive this goal.
The Hindu,Jewish and Christian Bombs resulted in the chaos of today's World as these bombs have emboLdened the bomb holders unilateral repreSsion to the armless and weak who are fighting for THE SAME basic human dignity and values which these bomb holders provide its citizens.
I do not think Mr.Obama will bring any shange to this repressive process as these policy holders are well entrenched.

omega_man Author Profile Page:

"America is a pro-Israel country, and the American people support Israel vs the Palestinians by a margin of 7 to 1."

No.

Americans either know very little about Israel or hate Israel. Our politicians like to go before AIPAC and announce that Americans support Israel. But we don't. We are kept in the dark, therefore we don't revolt.

Anyone who does a cursory study of the Israel-Palestine situation invariably sides with Palestine. Those who don't are Zionist Jews. Anti-Zionist Jews also side with Palestine.

But every day there are more Americans who are catching on. The wrongdoing of Israel is unrivaled in the modern age. Let US citizens find out about Rachel Corrie. Then we'll put this notion of unlimited support to the test.

Rachel Corrie was a 23-year-old American girl. The Israeli Defense Forces killed her by running her over twice with a bulldozer. Zionists will say that she laid down in front of the bulldozer. But every eyewitness will tell you that she only stood in front of the Palestinian home she was protecting. Zionists will say that the driver didn't see her. But her colleagues can tell you that she was wearing the bright orange vest of international peace protesters.

But nevermind the details. What can't be disputed is that Rachel Corrie's killer was never identified, never charged, never tried. Even the accidental killing of an American national surely warrants an investigation?

Just because Israel is our Friend And Ally doesn't mean the legal process vaporizes. In this country, if a cop shoots a raving knife-wielding junkie there is STILL an IAD investigation. Because that is the nature of the rule of law. But Israel prefers to blame the victim, and then label anyone who asks further questions an anti-semite.

There are more examples. Many, many more. The USS Liberty, Imam al-Hams, the Cave of the Patriarchs Massacre, the killing of the four UN peacekeepers in Lebanon, the systematic destruction of the Lebanese infrastructure culminating with the unleashing of thousands of cluster bombs that remain to this day, etc.

In the end, there will be justice for all of the innocent dead. Israel is finished. Founded by violence, sustained by violence. It will end in violence. Israel will collapse into chaos and ruin, just like every ethnic cleansing nation before it.

Live by the sword, and by the sword you will perish.

mustafacenter1 Author Profile Page:

To CARealist:

Muslims are not blaming others entirely. But the fact remains that US foreign policy viz a viz Israeli-Palestinian conflict has always been lop-sided. We condemn 9/11. We condemn suicide bombings. But these condemnable, reprehensible acts would not have occured and would not be occuring if US foreign policy was "fair and balanced" and not dictated by AIPAC's super-lobbyers and fundamentalist Christianity's doomsday tenets of faith (the whole thing about clearing up the Holy Land for Jesus). It's not too late to change it. Will Obama be the one to do it? He is the one best positioned to do it, thus restoring equilibrium to a dangerously one-eyed world.

mshalt Author Profile Page:

Obama supposed middle name Hussein means nothing. It belonged to his father who later became atheist. Obama is Christian and has never been a Muslim. Traditionally most Africans do not have middle names in their cultures. It is just an imitation that some are trying to copy from the West. Hussein is not a name from Obama's father family. It is what Africans call religious names which are Arabic for muslims and Europeans for Christians. Many Christian congregations have begun to allow African adepts to keep their African names. Islam always impose an Arabic name. If you look at Obama's aunts, uncles, cousins... you won't see the name Hussein. You may see Obama and other African names. Hussein is being used for political or religious interest reasons. You may know some famous Africans like Nelson Mandela, Koffi Annan, Wole Soyinka, Haile Selassie, Wangari Mathai, Desmond Tutu, Miriam Makeba... What are their middle names? None because it is not in African cultures. If some Africans want to introduce middle name they will likely use African names from their ancestors and not Arab or European names.
May be we may ask ourselves: What's in a name?

wdv1137 Author Profile Page:

Obama really let me down by appointing a Zionist as his chief of staff. When are we going to remove Israelis from our government. Shouldn't we be required to be loyal to America and only serve America if you work for our government? It is preposterous to continue this practice considering what we get in return from Israel. Which is nothing but problems, then on top of that they spy on us constantly and steal secrets. Some "friend". If they didn't own our media we would hear more about it, instead of all that we hear about Iran. Iran cannot do anything to the United States so why should we care?

mohantys Author Profile Page:

It will be most unfortunate and dangerous if President -elect Obama attempts to preside with a communal bias. And Muslims want to color it to bring Islam as a part of the change.It will be disaster for the whole world adding the current terrorists goal to entangle the USA. Any change in Obama's views on Pakistan should be to send more troops to Afghanistan and finish the war in victory. Pakistan is a real threat to world's security.

First, Pashtuns in the tribal areas of NWFP, Baluchistan of Pakistan, and Afghanistan want a separate country with nothing common with Pakistan . They did not want to join Pakistan from its inception. Afghanistan does not recognize the Durand line with Pakistan.Even Afghanistan did not recognize Pakistan at the time of its creation in 1947. These Pashtuns think America is siding with Pakistan to thwart their goal of separate country and now there are billboard sign in Peshawar about Pashtunistan or Paktoonistan. Afghanistan is too weak to defend its territory.
Second, no amount of money can stop Pakistan's ISI to stop the insurgency as these insurgents are front line defense of Pakistan military and it is their state instrument for strategic depth in Afghanistan. The aid money directly goes to support these insurgents.
Third, there is no need to go inside Pakistan to hunt for Talibans and Al Qaeda terrorists.It is time now to stop all aid as it has not worked for the last eight years except enriching Pakistan defense budget
Fourth, Afghanistan should be helped militarily and economically until it is stabilized.
President Karzai has been telling this for the last eight years, but America has listened and relied with General Musharraf and Pakistan's ISI.It was a mistake to other way when Pakistan developed the nuclear arsenal.
Pakistan's nuclear arsenal are Islamic bombs and it will be used against any threat to Muslims or Pakistan.
Thanks,

mharwick Author Profile Page:

THE BIG LIE OF THIS ARTICLE THAT GEORGE W. BUSH AND HIS ADMINISTRATION IS GUILTY OF RELENTLESS STEREOTYPING AMERICAN MUSLIMS AS TERRORISTS-THIS BIG LIE TECHNIQUE REMINDS THOSE WHO ARE NOT IGNORANT OF HISTORY OF HITLER'S ATTACKS ON THE JEWS: THE TRUTH:

New U.S. TV messages target Arab-Muslim stereotyping
Regional-USA, Politics, 12/21/2001

Two members of US president George W. Bush's administration on Thursday were present to launch two new television public service announcements that discourage ethnic stereotyping of Arabs and Muslims.

The brief film spots will run in more than 71 million American households under a joint effort involving six major cable operators, the national cable and telecommunications association and the direct broadcast satellite TV industry. U.S. Energy secretary Spencer Abraham, a Lebanese-American, said that Bush is "deeply committed to ensuring that we do not single out patriotic Americans, who just happen to be Muslim or of Arab descent, during these difficult times. And that is where this campaign comes in and why it is so important."

"Tolerance and acceptance of Muslim and Arab-Americans isn't just our duty in these times, it is a hallmark of American freedom," Abraham said.

Transportation secretary Norman Mineta, a Japanese-American, said the US administration wants to ensure that "the Arab-American and Muslim-American community are treated with the same dignity, with the same respect, afforded every citizen of the United States of America."

"The president has made it clear that our enemies do not include the millions of Arab-Americans and Muslims who call this country home, nor the hundreds of millions of true followers of the Islamic faith around the world," Mineta said.

"Our national conscience will not tolerate racial and religious scapegoating," Mineta said. "Surrendering to actions of hate and discrimination makes us no different than the despicable terrorists who rained such hatred upon our people."

"Lashing out against our fellow Americans just because they might look like the evil doers violates the very freedom that we so cherish," said John Sie, chairman and chief executive officer of Starz Encore Group, which produced the TV spots that specifically focus on Arab-Americans and Muslims.

The spots began running last Sunday in the heaviest rotation ever on all Starz's 13 movie channels, between every movie, said Sie who had immigrated to the United States from China in 1949, he said.

"With more than 500 movies a month, that is a lot of reach and frequency," He said.

The Starz spot -- over images of the September 11 world Trade Center attack, followed by faces of Arab-Americans and Muslims -- says, "our nation has suffered a horrific tragedy perpetuated by a band of evil people."

"Many law-abiding, peaceful Arab and Muslim Americans resemble them in appearance. If we vent our anger toward them just because of how they look, we are actually attacking individual freedom, a founding principle of this great nation."

"We must avoid ethnic stereotyping, as we stand behind our president to preserve our cherished freedoms," the ad voice-over says.

The second TV spot carries this message: "in a war on terror, some say we cannot see who our enemies are. But there is one enemy we can see very clearly. It is a defaced neighborhood mosque; an Arab-American storekeeper in fear of reprisal; a Moslem child blamed because she is different."

"Hate is our enemy. And when we start to hate other Americans, we have lost everything. Hate has taken enough from us already. Don't let it take you," the ad warns.

Also helping launch the TV spots were Jack Valenti, president and chief executive officer of the motion pictures association of America; James Zogby, president of the Arab American institute; Peggy Binzel, executive vice-president of the national cable and telecommunications association; and Jennifer Chagin, Brokaw agency director of marketing services.

Valenti said a new trailer targeting Arab-American and Muslim discrimination will be aired at movie theaters around the united states, and will be shown in many different languages for movie theaters around the world.

iftakhar Author Profile Page:

It is amazing how the few ungrateful among Caucus race and supporters of Israel blame ISLAM for the problems in today's world.
ISLAM was used by the West to create radicals in ISLAM to counter Communism which was knocking at its doors for 40 years and would have taken over all the oil producing countries in Middle East and the West would have to fight nuclear war to destroy its own caucus race to keep oil flowing.
The neocons and jews should thank ISLAM for saving jews during the Second World War and then coming again to save the humanity after the Second World War.
There were no radicals in ISLAM committing terrorism in 50's,60's,and 70's until the imperialist West decided to radicalise some innocent muslims into freedom fighters to fight Soviet Union in 80's.
The term ISLAMIC FUNDAMENTALISM was created by the West after the collapse of Soviet Union as an imaginary enemy in 90's to protect its need for OIL.
Now under the pretext of WAR ON TERRORISM to keep the OIL flowing for next 50 years to the benefit of West, again radicals and terrorist are being created in ISLAM by the ever scheming West and its Jewish Allies.
Then the war is being waged against its own creation of radicals and terrorist where OIL is flowing under the land of the faithful to ISLAM including the Central Asian Muslim countries.
ISLAM can survive without the West but West cannot survive without OIL produced by the faithful to ISLAM.
Mr.Obama is no friend of muslims as during compaign he made himself clear to all as a devout CHRISTIAN but never defended 'what is wrong being muslim'to avoid political labeling.
As a matter of fact Mr.Obama as President of USA will remain and stregthen loyalty to the jewish lobby and Israel to prove his CHRISTIANITY.

felix155 Author Profile Page:

Couldn't find anything about Mr. Emanuel's dual Israeli-American citizenship. Even it is a fact how does it matter? What relevance has the fact that his father was a member of an organization, some claim being a terrorist one, that ceased to exist in 1948, i.e. 60 years ago? And, finaly, let me remind the esteemed in Muslim circles gentleman that "pushing a nation toward democracy" was a signature policy of the Bush administartion, that flopped spectacularly. So much for consistency.

B2O2 Author Profile Page:

It's a thoughtful article, but I wonder when the comparable, and just as badly needed, one will appear:

Mr. or Ms. So-and-so explores how CHRISTIANITY is influencing and "adapting to the the modern world."

Though our cowed media was told in no uncertain terms not to go near the topic during the campaign, we just watched the American Christian fundamentalists throw one of their own Taliban leaders in the ring for Vice President of the United States. This was a spectacularly ignorant person who believes that dinosaurs roamed the earth with modern humans, that the world is less than 6,000 years old, that witchcraft exists (she had some exorcist cast the demons and spells off of her before her run for Alaska governor), and that there is some Angry Volcano God in the Sky who for some reason has it in for men who lay down with other men.

These people are CLEARLY dwelling in the Middle Ages. When will we get a piece in the post exploring how these people are struggling to find a place in the modern world, amongst their educated and more evolved counterparts of the homo sapiens sapiens subspecies?

Right, fat chance. The Post doesn't want to lose the advertising dollars these hordes of primitive tribespeople represent. And so we continue to be saddled with their holding the country back in some bygone century, all because the media refuses to look honestly at the problem.

duguyisheng Author Profile Page:

What if he did something unusual and asked for something--better governence and more human rights.How about freedom of religion and the end of apostasy punishment. How about equality of all people regardless of religion in a Shariah court. How about less corruption. How about declaring all terrorism wrong--without exception. If they did things like this themselves, there wouldn't be any need to worry about US positions in the middle east.

CARealist Author Profile Page:

Absurdly revisionist regarding the Bush administration. We were attacked by radical islamists with no provocation. The rest is revisionist. The world doesn't owe islam any opportunity or understanding. Islam owes the world decisive action and elimination of the radicals. Anyone who behaves peacefully, rationally, respectfully to others should expect the support and good will of the United States. Anyone who behaves otherwise should expect the full wrath of the United States.

Robert2008 Author Profile Page:

Mr. Wajahat Ali,

America is a pro-Israel country, and the American people support Israel vs the Palestinians by a margin of 7 to 1. And almost the entirety of this support for Israel comes from Christians (Jews are only 2% of the US). If Obama hopes to be re-elected in 2012, he will remain a good friend to Israel.

Neither the Palestinians nor the greater Muslim world will make progress until you all stop blaming the US, stop blaming Israel, and start taking responsibility for yourselves. You yourself could make a good start by denouncing all the jihad crap, the fascism, and the hatred, and start expressing some appreciation for countries like Israel who do the freedom and democracy thing so much better than you do.

MFASA Author Profile Page:

Muslims For A Safe America encourages honest and informed discussion about how to make Muslims and America safer.

http://muslimsforasafeamerica.org/

KraftPaper Author Profile Page:

We will be surprised to find the Muslim world won't invite him for tea either. He is after all an American, a Christian, a westerner. And most of all diplomats are not polite. In the words of Sean Hannity I speak the word which he seems to have surrendered not to civility but to public depravation: the boring adolescent n**** word. When poor Sean is himself too embarrassed to mask his sense of inferiority and greed in an accompaniment to the accomplishments of Wagner than we are indeed in the awe. He has described and among his peers on Fox and in Georgia, Montana, Alaska etc that Mr. Obama is no more enlightened than a monkey. Surely this makes Sean Hannity and Rupert Murdoch very happy. For the joy of destroying this country has unequivocally been passed from a stranger in Texas, a bankrupt humanoid who allowed, nay preached the bankruptcy of this country round the world as he spoke of mass destruction, the Temple of Doom in Damascus erstwhile allowing Israel to surrender its mettle for naught. The Republicans are w.o. a merit. They have long forgotten the word equal in favor of hate. And yet they were unable to reward the Saudis for their disdain of our continent, our country our western heritage because the Bush elites saw nothing in front nor back that couldn't be stamped on stomped and relegated to the gates of the Netherworld until they met freedom. May the likes of Bush never cross our paths again. But Arabs. I doubt among them are there sufficient cause to believe they will sit down with anyone of America regardless of skin color and intelligence. They are too slick from oil lest we forget. Build intelligent alternatives with science not alternate consciences with creationism.

OldAtlantic Author Profile Page:

Obama says he is Muslim on his own web page.

"I felt I heard God's spirit beckoning me. I submitted myself to His will,"

http://www.barackobama.com/factcheck/2007/11/12/obama_has_never_been_a_muslim_1.php


"When his Lord said to him, Be a Muslim (aslim), he said: I submit myself (aslamtu) to the Lord of the worlds."

http://www.answering-islam.org/Quran/Contra/first_muslim.htm

Garak Author Profile Page:

WeThePeopleofVA asks "how many more U.S. Cole's should we allow the radical element of Islam blow-up." How many more USS Liberty's should we allow Israel to attack with utter impunity? How many more cover-ups of Israeli aggression against the US should we allow? How many more US citizens of Palestinian descent should we allow Israel to brutalize without consequence? How many more US military secrets should we allow Israel to sell to China? How many more Israeli spies in the US should we allow? When will Israel take personal responsibility for its own fate and admit its own history of using mass terror not only its founding and then turning around and electing blood-stained terrorists like Ben-Gurion, Begin, Shamir, and Sharon as Prime Ministers?

The supporters of Israel have long framed the debate as "us vs. them." Those who do not support the Zionist enterprise are demonized. They are denied tenure and forced from office. The US media gives only the Israeli side of the story. Bombings of Israelis get page 1 coverage. The survivors are featured on TV, telling how the victim was an innocent, nice boy. But when Israel bombards Palestinian refugee camps or drops 2-ton bombs on apartment buildings, coverage--if any--is relegated to the back pages.

And then we have the deliberate masking of what really riles the Muslim world to oppose us. The rest of the world knows it's specific, concrete actions we take that directly affect the Muslims of the Middle East. Overthrowing democratically-elected governments and replacing them with monarchial dictators. Actively supporting corrupt, brutal dictators who use WMD against their own people. Ignoring free and elections because we don't like the winners. Supporting UN resolutions against the opponents of Zionism while ignoring UN resolutions against Israel. Making excuses and rationalizations to protect Israel while pontificating against Arab nations for the same offenses. All while claiming to seek freedom for the rest of the world. The Arabs are not so stupid as to not see the rank hypocrisy. But we just continue ahead, blindly ignoring our own intelligence and national interests.

The defenders of the status quo speak as if all the world's problems will vanish if the Palestinians would just commit mass suicide. They seek to quench the flames of radical Islam by throwing gasoline on the fire--and then blame the fire when they are burned Would you give the same freedom to Muslims and Palestinians, including Christian Palestinians? Would you have us put our money where our mouths are and really, truly, press for human rights in the Arab world?

Oh, wait a minute...you're writing from the comfort of safe haven in the US...never mind.

Welcome to freedom. Would you not want this for the people you so despise and demonize? Or just for yourself?

brucerealtor@gmail.com Author Profile Page:

GEE, MAYBE THIS IS ACTUALLY WORKING NOW -- IT WASN'T ALL NIGHT LONG !!!

OBAMA HAS A RELATIVE IN THE GOVERNMENT IN KENYA WHO HAS BEEN KNOWN TO PERSECUTE CHRISTIANS IN KENYA --- NOT HIS FAULT, I GUESS.

UNTIL ISLAM UNDERGOES A GROWTH PERIOD AKIN TO THE 'HISTORICAL JESUS' MOVEMENT, THAT HAS PROVIDED A GREAT WEALTH OF LARGELY FACTUAL ANALYSIS OF CHRISTIAN GOSPEL, RADICAL CLERICS WILL CONTINUE TO HOLD SWAY IN SOME REGIONS OF THE WORLD. AND THIS WILL CONTINUE AS LONG AS THESE CLERICS CAN ISSUE FATWA'S IMPOSING DEATH SENTENCES ON EVEN SERIOUS ISLAMIC SCHOLARS, WHO ATTEMPT TO SEPARATE MYTH FROM FACT --- SOMETHING HARDLY EASY TO DO.

AFTER OBAMA'S HONEYMOON PERIOD ENDS, IN WHO KNOWS HOW LONG AFTER HE BECOMES AMERICA'S 44TH PRESIDENT, ISLAMIC NATIONS WILL BEGIN AFRESH TO SEE AMERICA AS 'THE EVIL EMPIRE OF THE INFIDEL' ---- THAT IS ONE THING THAT CAN BE 'BANKED ON' IN THESE UNCERTAIN FINANCIAL TIMES.

WeThePeopleofVA Author Profile Page:


Your portrayal of US Foreign Policy towards the Middle East is simplistic and limited considering the complicated environment that currently exists throughout the world. First and foremost, a large portion of the U.S. Muslim community overwhelmingly voted for Barack Obama because of racial similarities and not some religious ideology or foreign policy issue a world away. The ideologies towards the issues in the Middle East espoused on the campaign trail will shortly give way to the realities of the world, or as you characterize, "U.S. foreign policy from the abrasive "Us vs. Them" or what has easily become my new favorite, your "selfishly myopic policy of administrations past".

Please tell us, the American public and our European allies, how many more U.S. Cole's should we allow the radical element of Islam blow-up, how many aircraft should we let them hijack and crash into buildings, how many trains should we let them ignite with explosives, how many more kidnappings and citizen beheadings should we endure . . . and you classify U.S. Foreign Policy towards the Muslim world as a "Selfishly myopic".

When are you going to take responsibility for your own fate and denounce the radical element of Islam. U.S. Foreign Policy is not anti-Muslim. The "Us vs. Them" characterization was a challenge to the Muslim world to stand with the U.S. against the radical element of Islam. That is what we have been battling in Iraq and Afghanistan. That is who we will have to battle in the future as new fronts emerge. There are no talks or peace agreements that will appease this element. The radical element of Islam will not be happy until their beliefs dominate the world. Look towards the recent history of Lebanon and the destabilization of their government, and you will have a complete picture of what they have in store for the rest of the world. The U.S. is doing the job the Muslim world cannot do for itself and that is stand up against the radical tyranny that exists in your communities. The U.S. is giving the Muslim world the necessary breathing room to take control of their surroundings and better their lives by ridding it of the radical elements of their faith.

You speak from a Muslim perspective and make it sound as if all U.S. Muslim's are of Middle Eastern descent or have a vested interest in the politics of the region, when in fact there are many elements to your faith in this country. I would venture to say, the U.S. Christian community of Middle Eastern descent is not as enthusiastic of the policies Barack Obama portrayed on the campaign trail. There in itself lies the problem to the solution of the Middle East. Everything else in the region will fall into place once the radical element of Islam is overthrown, then again you can choose to ignore this element and continue to live your life in fear or reprisal from those that choose to fight . . . oh wait a minute, you're writing your piece from the comfort of a safe-haven here in the U.S. . . never mind.

Welcome to Freedom. Why would you not want this for your community back home?

fltodc Author Profile Page:

Regarding this:

"American Muslims' vote for Obama reflects a repudiation of President Bush and his administration's relentless stereotyping of Muslims as extremists and terrorists."


I tried to think of a polite way to address this, but all I could come up with is, "are you out of your mind?!"

This denies 7 years of the reality of Bush using explicitly inclusive language about Islam worldwide and Muslims in American life:

http://www.whitehouse.gov/infocus/ramadan/islam.html

For which he has taken quite a bit of heat for it from his base:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religion_of_Peace

Shame on you for a revisionism that is both Orwellian and mean-spirited.

Just because the guy has rock-bottom approval ratings doesn't give you license to throw in a gratuitous, dishonest kick.

bastiji Author Profile Page:

I agree with the first poster. It is too early to tell what an Obama administration will be or won't be doing for the Muslims of the world. I suspect though that Muslim concerns are not at the top of his to-do list, and rightly so!

Nonetheless, I think Obama is a pragmatic, patient and thoughtful person, and hopefully this will translate into a tad saner policy for Muslims and the rest of the world then the outright craziness we've seen over the past 8 years.

goaway4 Author Profile Page:

"But as the initial euphoria dies away (a little)," ??? Good grief, what is wrong with you? You Washington Post people are so far removed from the realities of life that you think we (the lower economic classes, the working poor, or whatever you like to call us) have already written off Barack Obama. We are still euphorically pleased, no matter what religious philosophy we believe in, including Judaism, Christianity, Islam, or whatever. We are not as stupid and self-centered as you think we are.

PostGlobal is an interactive conversation on global issues moderated by Newsweek International Editor Fareed Zakaria and David Ignatius of The Washington Post. It is produced jointly by Newsweek and washingtonpost.com, as is On Faith, a conversation on religion. Please send us your comments, questions and suggestions.