“‘We have a message: Muslim Americans are as American as apple pie,’ Lalani said. ‘Ignoring us is the politics of exclusion and exclusion, I would suggest, is un-American.'” Fine. I don’t want to ignore Muslim Americans. I want to ask them questions about their stance on bringing Sharia to the U.S., and related matters. But even asking such questions only gets you charges of “Islamophobia” — and no substantive answers.
“US election: Muslim Democrats make political impact despite negative attacks: Muslim activists and political leaders say that they see no need to play down their political involvement,” by Paul Harris in The Guardian, August 26:
The lilting sound of the Koran, sung in haunting Arabic, rang through the unlikely setting of a basement hotel conference room. A local imam intoned the verses, exhorting the audience of Muslim Democrats to reject Satan and give thanks to Allah.
Then a troop of Boy Scouts strode onto stage carrying the American flag and the entire room stood up, many with hands over heart, as the Star-Spangled Banner was sung with equal gusto.
For the first time Muslims have banded together to hold a political gathering as a united body at a Democratic convention. The event in Denver – called the American Muslim Democratic caucus – was the brainchild of retired Texan doctor, Inayat Lalani.
It could not have come at a more unusual time for Muslims in America. Their community is still suffering from suspicion in an age of the war on terror and the conflict in Iraq, but there is also an intense internet whispering campaign portraying Obama – who is a devout Christian – as a Muslim.
That has led to anger among Muslim Democrats that the mere accusation of being a Muslim could be seen as a political negative.
“So what?” Lalani said. “He is not a Muslim and he says that. But I am a Muslim and if I was running for office would it be right to hold that against me?”…
Not if you will be so kind as to clear and honest about your views on political Islam and your connections, if any, with Muslim Brotherhood-linked groups in the U.S.
At the Denver gathering, which featured Muslim Democratic delegates from all over the US, attendees said they would not be turned away from public life. “There is nothing un-American about Islam. The best ideals of America are the best ideals of Islam,” said Minnesota Congressman Keith Ellison, who in 2006 became the first Muslim to be elected to Congress.
He was later followed by Andre Carson, who admitted that any Muslim being elected to such high office in America was going to face difficulties. “Keith took the heat and the shots before me. He took the pain, though they came gunning for me too,” Carson said.
But he added that no Muslim should be put off from running for office. “Muslims needs to be engaged more actively in public life in our country. Where are our Muslim councillors? Where are our Muslim mayors?” he said.
In fact Muslims are growing in political power in the US. […]
He said that includes some 245,000 possible votes in the vital swing state of Michigan and another 63,000 in the equally important Pennsylvania.
That should make Muslims an attractive voting bloc for either political party, just like politicians court the Jewish vote or the Hispanic vote. But in 2008 nothing is that simple for Muslims.
At the Denver meeting the battle was not simply about the ballot box, it was also about fighting prejudice and expressing a genuine desire to belong.
“We have a message: Muslim Americans are as American as apple pie,” Lalani said. “Ignoring us is the politics of exclusion and exclusion, I would suggest, is un-American.”