In many ways he represents more than Muslims could have hoped for given the radioactive nature of Islam in America over the past several years. Someone who seemingly has a sympathetic ear and background that could build bridges.
But for many reasons, Muslims are one constituency Obama does not want to court. With a wink and a nod, Obama’s Muslim supporters continue to work for a candidate who cannot afford to wink back at them. Given his perceived “closeness” to Islam, and the fact that he shares a name with a former Iraqi dictator, it could be strategic suicide for the Obama campaign to vocally acknowledge organized Muslim support. At a time when endorsements are worn like badges of honor, no major candidate is looking for the Muslim vote….Obama’s lack of public defense of Islam is not so much an indictment against him as it is a demonstration of the infantile state of Muslim political participation in America….The only reason a candidate like Obama would not say something nice about Muslims is because he is making a clear political calculation. The votes he would gain from Muslims are far less than the votes he would lose from his association with Muslims….This is a political reality that Muslims in America must face. It is a clear demonstration that the collective efforts of Muslim institution building over the last 20 years have largely failed to make any real progress when it comes to impacting the American political process, at least at the national level. Muslims have found the perfect candidate, but cannot vocally support him for fear that if they do, they may be the reason he loses. How is that for a wake-up call.
Homan Majd looks at how a President Obama could play in the Muslim world.
Obama’s great potential to connect with the Muslim world, and to change how Muslims perceive the United States, is conspicuously absent from our national debate…. From their perspective, if a black son-of-an-immigrant with a Muslim name can become an American president, then anything truly is possible in America. And that’s a country that would be very hard to be enemies with.
Relatedly, Obama was praised this weekend, for better or worse, by Louis Farrakhan.