Arabs, Arabs, and More Arabs. . .And That’s A Great Thing for America

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arab american soldiers.jpg
This morning, a friend of mine, Marwan Kreidie, has a passionate and smart oped in the Philadelphia Inquirer that challenges the slur that John McCain indirectly embraced when an elder woman at a McCain rally said “I don’t trust Obama. . .He’s an Arab.”
While McCain said that Obama was a good and honest man, those terms seemed to be juxtaposed against being an Arab.
Kreidie writes:

At a campaign stop in Virginia this month, a supporter told John McCain, “I don’t trust Obama. . . . He’s an Arab.”
The Republican candidate took the microphone away from her. “No, ma’am,” he said. “He’s a decent family man, a citizen that I just happen to have disagreements with.”
Say it ain’t so, John. Well-meaning as you may have been to Barack Obama, can you condone using Arab as a demeaning label? The exchange suggested that all Arabs should be regarded as toxic, kind of like those mortgage-backed securities threatening to topple global financial markets.
Well, I am an Arab – “you betcha” – and darn proud of it. Arab Americans descend from a people who helped civilize the world. Arabs not only made our own important contributions, from algebra to sorbet; we also preserved ancient wisdom in universities while Western civilization’s Dark Ages threatened to extinguish any connection with its classical roots.
Who are Arabs? People who are native speakers of Arabic, hailing from the 22 countries that today constitute the Arab League – mostly in the Middle East and North Africa – and their descendants. Arabs are mostly Muslims, but they can be Christians. An Arab can be a blond-haired, blue-eyed, bikini-clad woman on a beach in Beirut, or a black woman wearing a traditional hijab (head covering) in southern Egypt.
Arabs started immigrating to the United States in the mid-19th century, and today, more than three million Americans can trace their heritage to the Arab world. Among them: Dr. Michael DeBakey, the famed cardiologist; Danny Thomas, the entertainer who founded the preeminent pediatric cancer research hospital, St. Jude Children’s; Doug Flutie, the storied quarterback; Cabinet secretaries Donna Shalala and Spencer Abraham; and Gen. John Philip Abizaid, who led the U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM), overseeing American military operations in a 27-country region, from 2003 to 2007.

Colin Powell reached out on on Sunday to Muslims in his powerful and moving endorsement of Barack Obama — and I’m pleased to see that other national leaders are beginning to roll back the bigotry that was becoming accepted even in liberal circles about both Muslims and Arabs.
At least in one case I know of personally, a leading national Arab American Republican activist in Washington wrote a check to Barack Obama after the McCain encounter with the “Obama’s an Arab” lady above.
For those who have the time, it’s worthwhile visiting the Arab American National Museum in Dearborn, Michigan. It’s fascinating to see the long roster of prominent Arab Americans profiled there.
One of these Arab Americans is former New Hampshire Governor and George H.W. Bush chief of staff John H. Sununu. I ran into Sununu last week at both a reception at the Embassy of Saudi Arabia and then at the annual dinner of the American Task Force on Palestine.
Sununu told me that when he ran for Governor in New Hampshire twenty-five years ago, everyone told him that he’d never win in the conservative state with a name like “SUNUNU”. Then when his son, John E. Sununu, ran for and won a Senate seat in New Hampshire, the pundits said it was because of his name “SUNUNU.”
Another interesting point is that Jeanne Shaheen who looks as if she is going to take that seat from the Sununu clan is married to one of the power players in New Hampshire’s well-networked clan of Lebanese-Americans Bill Shaheen.
I have traveled with Bill and Jeanne Shaheen to the Middle East along with Arab American Institute President James Zogby — and I’m pleased to know that there will continue to be a Senator from New Hampshire who will stand against the increasingly worrisome trend of embedded racism and bigotry against Muslims and Arabs in a lot of our national discourse.
Bottom line. Kreidie is right. Americans need to stop tolerating bigotry against Arabs full stop.
— Steve Clemons

Comments

38 comments on “Arabs, Arabs, and More Arabs. . .And That’s A Great Thing for America

  1. Lima says:

    A few points about the racist UN – Durban “anti-racism” conference
    Why Western countries tend to boycott it.
    1) Since Muslim nations (OIC & Iran) push to criminalize criticism of Islamists’ bigotry, doesn’t it mean that anything being said in that conference is the opposite of tolerance and of truth?
    2) How can the UN avoid the largest practitioner of racism, which is Arabism (against: Kurds, Berbers, Africans, Jews, Assyrians, Asians, etc.), but focuses on the so called “anti-Arab racism”?
    [ Arabism is racism! ]
    3) When will Arab racists & Islamic bigots let go of the UN and stop hijacking it with it’s lobbies (silencing Arab racist genocide in Darfur, yet daming innocent Israelis who merely try to survive)?
    4) Why is Arab terror singling out Jews not racist?
    5) Why is the essence of the entire “conflict'” in the M.E. not a form of bigotry by Arab Muslims who can’t “accept” the non Arab non Muslim pluralistic democratic Israel?
    6) Are Jews living, or even allowed to live in racist “Palestinian” controlled territories (Judenrein – ethnic cleaning)?
    7) When will lefty radicals (Meretz/B’Tzelem) talk about preferential treatments to Arabs OVER Jews inside Israel, like in Hebron and in other cases?
    8) Why are (Arab Palestinian or Hezbollah) the ones using its own kids as cannon fodders considered “innocent victims”?
    9) Is Israel battling just terrorism or an ARAB MUSLIM CAMPAIGN OF GENOCIDE since the 1920’s?
    10) Is it not anti-Jewish racism to brand Israel’s fight to defend lives as “racism”?
    11) How more racist can the Durban-conference get, If the two oppressive regimes: Libya & Iran are the “stars”?
    Libya – whose Muamar Qaddafi, besides his own persecution of non-Arabs, especially millions of blacks in his country, who describe themselves as living like: slaves or animals, Qaddaf the one of the champions in today’s racist Arabization, and Arabist racism push against Africa (whose “vision” has been compared to Hitler’s “lebensraum”), in: Chad, Nigeria, etc., ultimately his crimes in the Sudan region helped in leading the current Al-Bashir’s genocide on Millions of Africans (financed mainly by Libya and S. Arabia).
    Iran, the regime of Islamic bigotry’s oppression on its own population with an added special persecution on all on-Muslims: Christians, Baha’i, Jews, etc. or on non-“pure-Persians” like: Ahwazi – Arabs, Kurds, Azeris, Baluchis, etc. now under the leadership of: Mahmoud Ahmadinejad [EichmannJihad – the Islamic Hitler] who plays as if he “denies” the holocaust only in order to prepare for (his wishful) the second, “wiping off Israel”.
    Thus, the shame of the UN, kidnapped by the epitome of intolerance today, the infamous twin fascism: Arab racism, as in Gadhafi, and Islamic bigotry as in Amadinejad, are going to be “preaching” (and determine) to the world on tolerance.

    Reply

  2. Barbara Ferguson says:

    Thank you for your words of tolerance and understanding.

    Reply

  3. longhorn71 says:

    Points well taken, I appreciate your thoughtful response.

    Reply

  4. longhorn71 says:

    Points well taken, I appreciate your thoughtful response.

    Reply

  5. Paul Norheim says:

    “The muslim religion, generally speaking has a long way to go
    on human rights issues. If you don’t agree with this your not
    only a fool, but you really don’t believe in democracy.”
    (longhorn)
    I disagree. However, a lot of countries containing a majority of
    Muslims have a long way to go on human right issues (just like
    some countries not containing a large Muslim population (an
    example: the “Christian” Ethiopia, which has a minority of
    Muslims, counting 20-25 %, or Zimbabwe)).
    Why? The issue is complex, but I would suggest a handful of
    basic factors:
    Most of these countries have a large agrarian population (where
    “traditional” or old fashioned values are channelled trough and
    “legitimized” through the Quran, just like similar values found
    their language trough the Bible or other holy texts in other
    societies in the past.
    Secondly, a lot of these countries have autocratic rule or
    authoritarian political systems, which fits nicely into some old
    agrarian, patriarchic mind sets.
    Thirdly, some clerics have achieved a monopoly regarding
    interpretation of the texts in many of these religious societies;
    sometimes in alliance with, sometimes against their
    government. This tells more about those clerics and men in
    power than about Islam “as a whole”.
    And a fourth point: given the disadvantage of a lot of people
    during a period of “globalization” and transformation in
    technology and economy, the “traditional” values are
    accentuated as a defense against the confusion, loss and
    perceived threat.
    And then there is the real and perceived threat of “the West”,
    attacking Muslim countries, exploiting their recourses, and
    being a very aggressive force promoting their values and way of
    life, through technological, economical, political and martial
    means. This creates a collective wage of resentment, reinforcing
    the conservative or reactionary approach to religious and moral
    issues.
    This is just an ABC on a general level, admittedly too general,
    but still more useful than claiming that one world religion “as a
    whole” is oppressive, while other world religions are not.
    Longhorn, I think you are aware of the fact that the Bible and
    Christianity have been used to justify just about anything
    through history, good and bad. The same applies to the Quran
    and Islam.

    Reply

  6. Paul Norheim says:

    WigWag, Arthur, POA… we`ve been fighting a lot, and some of us
    may even have scars from some of those fights, but I just have to
    say that I enjoy this brief (?) moment of peace among us.
    It`s a pity that we could not achieve this without the help of a
    much bigger bigot than ourselves…
    cheers!

    Reply

  7. arthurdecco says:

    Thank you for your posts WigWag. They’re thoughtful and truthful – a winning combination.

    Reply

  8. Matthew says:

    Hey idiot: “You cannot have an intelligent conversation with someone who is ignorant, Anti-American, and for whatever reasons, hates Christians. I hope this newspaper article explains some things for you….can you read?”
    Your article doesn’t support anything you said. You are just human garbage.
    I am not anti-American. I am not anti-Christian. I am just anti-knuckle dragger; you know, anti people like you.

    Reply

  9. longhorn says:

    that’s all you’ve got? I’m just keepin it real, you guys talk a lot of shiz!

    Reply

  10. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Isn’t it ironic that the truly ignorant prove it by thinking they’re smart?

    Reply

  11. longhorn71 says:

    World News
    US turns over control of 12th Iraqi province 9 dead in suspected US missile strike in Pakistan
    , Pakistan — Suspected U.S. missiles struck a Taliban-linked school in northwest Pakistan on Thursday, killing nine people in an apparent sign of Washington’s frustration with the country’s anti-terror efforts, intelligence officials said.
    The strike came hours after Parliament warned against any incursions on Pakistani soil in a resolution that also condemned the wave of terrorism tearing at the country, while stressing the need for dialogue.
    Nuclear-armed Pakistan is also in the midst of an economic crisis brought on by high fuel prices, dwindling foreign investment, soaring inflation and militant violence.
    The International Monetary Fund said Wednesday that Pakistan had requested its help to avoid a possible loan default, a decision that could cost the administration political support at home.
    Shaukat Tareen, the Pakistani official leading the fundraising effort, said Thursday the country urgently needed up to $5 billion. He said the government still hoped to get it from donors such as the World Bank and avoid the need to tap the IMF.
    The suspected U.S. missiles hit the religious school on the outskirts of Miran Shah, the main town in the militant-infested North Waziristan region, four intelligence officials said. The school was not believed to have any students in it at the time of the attack.
    Relying on informants and agents in the area, two officials said nine people were killed, including four pulled lifeless from the rubble hours after the strike, and two others were wounded.
    The religious school belonged to a local pro-Taliban cleric, the intelligence officials said. The cleric has been linked to veteran Taliban commander Jalaluddin Haqqani, considered a top foe of the United States, they said.
    The intelligence officials gave the information on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the media.
    Militants in the northwest are blamed for rising attacks on U.S. and NATO forces in neighboring Afghanistan as well as surging suicide attacks within Pakistan.
    The cross-border missile attacks have angered many Pakistani lawmakers and the pro-U.S. government has protested them as violations of the country’s sovereignty.
    The parliamentary resolution broadly supported the government’s current approach, but it was vague and had few details, apparently a result of political compromise after two weeks of closed-door debate.
    It did not directly mention two of the most divisive issues surrounding the terror fight: army offensives in the northwest and calls for unconditional talks with the extremists.
    The major opposition parties recognize the need for military action against the insurgents but rarely forcefully express this because they need to maintain support among ordinary Pakistanis who are deeply suspicious of the war.
    The seven-month old government — which is desperate for lawmakers to support its military offensive — hailed the 14-point document as a “historic moment for the country.”
    “This will definitely help to improve the situation and to rid the country of the menace of terrorism,” Information Minister Sherry Rehman said.
    The resolution calls for an “independent foreign policy,” a sign of wariness of American influence. But it also states Pakistan will not let its soil be used for terrorist attacks elsewhere — an apparent nod to U.S. complaints about militants hiding in northwest Pakistan.
    The resolution also alludes to the U.S. missile attacks, stating that Pakistan “stands united against any incursions and invasions of the homeland, and calls upon the government to deal with it effectively.”
    While saying dialogue “must now be the highest priority,” it stipulates that talks should be pursued with those “elements” willing to follow the constitution and the “rule of law.”
    The Pakistani army is engaged in two major offensives in the northwest — one in the Swat Valley and one in the Bajur tribal area. The latter has killed more than 1,000 militants, officials say, including 25 in an ongoing operation begun on Wednesday. The U.S. has praised the crackdowns while warning that peace deals simply let militants regroup.
    ___
    Associated Press writers Bashirullah Khan in Miran Shah and Zarar Khan and Nahal Toosi in Islamabad contributed to this report.
    You cannot have an intelligent conversation with someone who is ignorant, Anti-American, and for whatever reasons, hates Christians. I hope this newspaper article explains some things for you….can you read?

    Reply

  12. Matthew says:

    Longhorn, I’ll use small words so that you can understand.
    Today, the US military cowardly fired missiles into an Islamic school in Pakistan and murdered eight children. That missile was most likely fired by a Christian. Our country is not ashamed of this murder. Using your idiotic logic, that means that Christians justify the murders of innocent children. We routinely murder innocent civilians in Afghanistan wtih cowardly missiles.
    The next time you want to call someone an idiot, you might want to look in the mirror.

    Reply

  13. WigWag says:

    Woody Allen from the 1988 Movie, Antz:
    “I was not cut out to be a worker, I’ll tell you right now. I feel physically inadequate. And I have lots of issues. It’s not easy being the middle child in a family of seven thousand.”

    Reply

  14. PissedOffAmerican says:

    I wonder what this bigot Longhorn thinks of Suffi Muslims?
    He sure paints with a wide brush, doesn’t he?
    Using his logic, all Catholics are pedophiles, therefore, by extension, all Christians are pedophiles, all Mormons are bigamists, and all Jews are Woody Allen.

    Reply

  15. WigWag says:

    “I made a simple statement, that I think the Muslim religion is an oppresive religion as a whole.”
    Your statement, longhorn71, is not “simple” it’s simple-minded and it’s bigoted. Islam is no more and no less oppresive than Christianity, Judiasm, or any other religion.
    Your statement about Turkey is simply untrue. Christianity and Judiasm are freely practiced in Turkey and Christians and Jews are fully integrated into Turkish society. The article that you posted proves exactly nothing. And by the way, if Jews are so oppresed in Turkey, why is it that Turkey is one of Israel’s closest allies? Why is it Turkey that is seeking to broker a peace settlement between Israel and Syria?
    You’re a bigot, longhorn71.
    And naami, yes Arab nations have done some pretty terrible things. Guess what? So have European nations, North and South American nations and the one Jewish nation too.
    At the risk of getting longhorn71 too excited by quoting the one religious figure he seems to think is legitimate, “let he who is without sin, cast the first stone.”

    Reply

  16. longhorn71 says:

    Ugh, It’s amazing how you can write so much yet say so little. The muslim religion, generally speaking has a long way to go on human rights issues. If you don’t agree with this your not only a fool, but you really don’t believe in democracy. I believe in freedom of religion for all-bad and good. Your argument is circular. I am not a poster child for the Christian faith, so please don’t paint me as an evangelical. I never said Barack Obama is a Muslim, he says he is a Christian, and I believe him.

    Reply

  17. Paul Norheim says:

    “People who claim they are Christians but are not tolerant of
    others are not really Christians.”
    So, “real” Christians are tolerant, and “real” Muslims are
    intolerant.
    Really?
    What about those Muslims WigWag mentioned above, who were
    tolerant toward Jews and Christians during those centuries when
    European Christians were very intolerant – those Muslims were
    not “real” muslims then? Or perhaps they were Christians in
    disguise, just like the bigots in America today say that Obama is
    a Muslim in disguise?
    Your claims lead to absurd conclusions because you argue that
    the most intolerant muslims of today represent that religion “as
    a whole” – regardless of history and circumstances beyond
    religion, which may influence and transform that religion;
    regardless of the many different, often contradictory aspects of
    something as large as a world religion.
    It`s just as absurd as saying that “all Americans are
    tolerant/intolerant”, or “all Turks are rude/polite”.
    As a matter of fact, YOU HAVE TO “DO NUANCES” when you talk
    about something as big as that, if you want to be taken
    seriously.

    Reply

  18. naami says:

    ARABISM = RACISM! link…
    ‘Arabism Equals Racism’, in an elaborated article, Gerald A. Honigman writes on the “acceptance of anyone else’s political rights in a multi-ethnic region that most Arabs see exclusively as “purely Arab patrimony.” That’s the Arab-Israel conflict in a nutshell; but it is also the core of the Arab-Berber, Arab-Kurd, Arab-Black African, Arab-Copt, Arab-Assyrian, Arab-non-Arab Lebanese conflicts, as well, among others. The Arabs’ Anfal Campaign against the Kurds and their actions in Darfur and the rest of the southern Sudan are just a few of many examples of Arab genocidal actions against all who might disagree.”

    Reply

  19. longhorn71 says:

    I made a simple statement, that I think the Muslim religion is an oppresive religion as a whole. Has Christianity had a terrible past..yes. Any religion taken to the extreme is terrible. People who claim they are Christians but are not tolerant of others are not really Christians. The United Arab Emirates is the only Muslim country that is tolerant of other religions, however, there society and it’s laws are based on their religion. It’s funny how you guys picked Turkey. Why don’t you answer my questions…. I guess you don’t do nuances either.

    Reply

  20. Paul Norheim says:

    Posted by longhorn71 Oct 22, 7:07PM – Link
    To Wig Wag and Matthew, you are both idiots.
    ————–
    Longhorn71, I would be honored if you added me on that list as
    well. I grew up as a child of Christian missionaries in Africa, and
    I`m well aware of the fact that both Christianity and Islam have
    changed, sometimes more tolerant, sometimes less through
    history – and both religions currently contains sects and groups
    that differ widely regarding moral principles and tolerance.
    Why am I saying this? You obviously don`t “do nuances”, so I
    guess it`s a waste of time to argue with you. But again: feel free
    to add me on your list of “idiots.” I would get a bit worried if
    people like you claimed that I am intelligent.

    Reply

  21. longhorn71 says:

    To Wig Wag and Matthew, you are both idiots. Truth be told, I’m not a very religious person, but when idiots talk, I feel the need to correct them. If you think it’s not oppressive to BOTH men and women, that they are arrested when they are seen in public together and not married or related, then you more stupid than I thought. Saudi Arabia has morality police who go around and check to make sure if a woman is seen in public with a man, he is her husband or relative. That’s oppressive.
    I don’t think you finished high school, but I couldn’t let your ignorance go as an accepted truth. Our Founding Fathers considered religion the bedrock upon which the nation stood. Declaring in the Constitution that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,” was a necessity for the various Christian denominations that made up the United States to be able to live together. The idea that religious beliefs were meant to be excluded from public dialogue is historically insupportable. Yet that is how the establishment clause is interpreted today, to the point where religious men and women are told that they must check their beliefs at the door when they enter the public arena, especially should they seek to hold public office.
    If you think Turkey practices freedom of religion you’re a total idiot. Turkey is extremely violent towards anyone who is not Muslim. I provided an article below, if you would like to “bone up” on your “civics”
    The brutal murder of three Christian missionaries in the southeastern city of Malatya on Wednesday, less than a year after the slaying of an Italian priest in the Black Sea region and the assassination of ethnic Armenian journalist Hrant Dink — all by young, unemployed, lower-class men at a time of increased political tension — are likely to cause a sober questioning of the process whereby Christian missionaries were made into objects of hatred, and at the same time, and an uneasy examination of just where Turkey went wrong with its young people.
    Until just six years ago, Turkey’s Christians drew the ire of small radical Islamist groups only. However, in 2001, a National Security Council (MGK) meeting chaired by then-prime minister Bülent Ecevit included “missionary activity” on its list of national security threats, making it a widespread concern across the country. A wide range of ideological groups from nationalist, neo-nationalists and Islamists, started claiming that missionaries were carrying out separatist activities and turning millions of Muslims into Christians. Some even went so far as to suggest that the 2002 killing of a neo-nationalist academic was the doing of Christian missionaries. All the aggravation directed at missionaries finally worked, and Christians across the country came to be eyed suspiciously by all segments of society, sometimes manifesting itself in outright criminal activity. Attacks against churches became more frequent and the long process hit its peak when Italian priest Andrea Santoro was killed in Trabzon last year in February by a 16-year-old whose mother later commented to the media that her son would “do jail time for Allah.”
    The author of the article quotes several Turkish politicians, who were not exactly positive about missionaries / Christians in their country in the recent past. For instance:
    Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahçeli in a rally in 2005 in the southern city of Adana also expressed concern about missionary activities. In an earlier speech in 2002, Bahçeli had stated that “missionary activity in Turkey is on the rise, and evaluating recent attempts to revive the Pontus ideology from all sides is an absolute necessity.” Neo-nationalist Grand Unity Party’s (BBP) leader Muhsin Yazıcıoğlu, following the killing of Father Santoro in Trabzon, claimed that Christian missionaries in Turkey were backed by the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).
    Saadet (Happiness or Contentment) Party (SP) leader Recai Kutan in a recent conference had complained that the real extent of missionary activity was “not adequately being relayed to the public.” Another politician, Haydar Baş, who heads the Independent Turkey Party (BDP), claimed only last year that missionaries were trying to “convert our children.”
    There seems to exist a campaign in Turkey to turn the Turkish people against missionaries / Christians. This campaign resulted in the death of three missionaries this week. Before that, an Italian Priest was murdered as well.
    Some say that it was not as much as religious murder, as it was a nationalist murder. Others blame society as a whole for becoming increasingly violent: “urkey’s overall crime rate last year went up by a worrisome 61 percent. Parricides, rapes, murders and school violence hit the newspapers every day.”
    Again other blame poverty, lack of education, etc. etc.
    Of course, it is probably a mixture of some, or all of the factors mentioned above. Experts, analysts and politicians should look at all factors, but I have to admit that I find the growing hatred towards Christian missionaries as described in the article, encouraged by quite some politicians, to be very worrisome.

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  22. Matthew says:

    Robert Hume said: “For example, imagine that it were revealed that Biden was actually a Protestant but that he was masquerading as a Catholic to go after the Catholic vote. Nothing wrong with being a Protestant, but such a revelation would be devastating.”
    Yeah, right. The situation is identical. And when someone stands up at a McCain rally and says, “I’vb heard that Biden is a Protestant,” I’m sure McCain would have grabbed the microphone and said, “No, ma’am. He’s a decent family man.”
    There is a name for people who have “rational” concerns about Obama “hiding” his non-existent Islamic faith: bigots.

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  23. Matthew says:

    Thanks Wigwag. It is so tireness to hear numbnuts yap about how oppressed Muslim women are. Ironically, they are usually just Evil-gelicals trying to use Muslim women as a hammer against Islam.

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  24. WigWag says:

    “America is based on Christian principles”
    This may be the single most ignorant statement I’ve ever read on this blog. Perhaps longhorn71 can site for us where in any of the founding documents of the United States Christianity or the name of Jesus Christ is mentioned. It is true that the Declaration of Independence (a document with historical but no legal effect) alludes to God bit it does so in the context of “the laws of nature and of Nature’s God.” It also refers to God as the “Creator.” The Constitution makes no reference to God at all.
    It’s time to go back and study some high school civics, longhorn71. If you do, you’ll learn that the United States was not based on Christian principles, it was based on enlightenment principles. And while it is true that the enlightenment was born in Christian Europe, the enlightenment was in large part a reaction against Christian orthodoxy not an affirmation of it.
    And as for your request for the name of a Muslim country that allows freedom of religion, Turkey is one. Christians, Jews and Muslims all live in harmony in Turkey with religious freedom. In fact, while nominally Muslim, Turkey is, in many respects, more secular than the United States. Muslim women are freer to wear head scarves in public in this country than they are in Turkey.
    And while you’re cracking open your high school civics text, you might try to find your high school history books as well. If you do, you will discover that for decades when Christian Europe was murdering and dispersing its Jewish population, that population was welcomed with open arms in the Muslim Ottoman Empire.

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  25. Robert Hume says:

    While I agree that there need be nothing objectionable about an Arab or Muslim running for President, I think that there has been a great failing in understanding what is behind a major part of the unease about Obama.
    It is that these voters are not sure that Obama is not *hiding* the fact that he is a Muslim. If he were hiding such a fact then it would be very bad. It would mean either that he was ashamed of being a Muslim or that he had some hidden agenda.
    Of course, I do not believe that Obama is a Muslim, but I think that the motivations of some voters are being stereotyped as racist whereas they may actually be quite rational.
    For example, imagine that it were revealed that Biden was actually a Protestant but that he was masquerading as a Catholic to go after the Catholic vote. Nothing wrong with being a Protestant, but such a revelation would be devastating.

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  26. longhorn71 says:

    Please, someone tell me one Muslim country that allows freedom of religion. America is based on Christian principle’s, however, we believe in freedom of religion. The muslim religion oppresses it’s people on a daily basis. Where is the outcry for human rights in Saudi Arabia. I don’t care what you say, when a religion requires a women to cover her entire body, except for her eyes, it is oppressive, whether that women thinks so or not. Please don’t tell me not all muslims require the women to wear coverings. The prominent theme in that religion is oppression to woman, thereby oppressing both men and women. I do not have a problem with someone being arab, but being muslim does bother me. Where is the outcry for democracy for all people. They treat their woman like second class citizens.

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  27. Kathleen Grasso Andersen says:

    Rational…if you refuse to embrace an ideology of conquest, slaughter, slavery and abominable treatment of women…you might have to become an ex-patriot…
    WigWag… I’m with you on Team Obama pushing Arabs and Muslims out of sight.. Didn’t he also cancel an event with Congressman Keith Ellison because he is a Muslim, the only one in Congress??? This makes me uneasy…I don’t like it….

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  28. Dan says:

    The event was not in Virginia, but in Minnesota. So just watch, the Republicans will claim it is all a lie because the writer placed the incident in the wrong state.

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  29. Matthew says:

    Rational says: “But I refuse to ’embrace’ an ideology of conquest, slaughter, slavery, and abominable treatement of their own women (never mind women of their enemies!).”
    Applying this logic, I could not support Christianity or Western Civilization. You need to learn a little more about Islam.

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  30. Steve Clemons says:

    Rational — I confused nothing. I mentioned Powell’s outreach to Muslims – clearly a larger umbrella than Arabs, who can be Christians, atheists, whatever. I mentioned it because it was offered in a similar spirit as Kreidie’s comments about Arabs. I agree with both and was careful to designate exactly when I was discussing Arabs and why the Muslim issue fit in. There is discrimination against both in America.
    Your comment is flip. Read the piece more carefully before posting again.
    Steve Clemons

    Reply

  31. rational says:

    I thought it was going to be a good essay; but shortly into it you confused the issue by listing ‘muslims’ right next to ‘arabs’ in every sales-pitch for total acceptance; as if they were synonymous.
    Arab is a description of sub-species, of race.
    Muslim is a description of ideology-adherence.
    Two very different things.
    Muslims adhere to the ideology (NOT religion’) that is Islam.
    My partner is an Arab, and I work with a number of others…great guys. But I refuse to ’embrace’ an ideology of conquest, slaughter, slavery, and abominable treatement of their own women (never mind women of their enemies!).
    If you’re truly concerned with acceptance of Arabs, may I suggest that you stop confusing two entirely different issues within your text.

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  32. TonyForesta says:

    Excellent post Steve. Powell did an outstanding job of articulating this tricky and disturbing issue which is often lost in batting down the slime hurled upon Barak by McCain/Palin and the gop. And WigWag’s point is poignant. Theleft and theright must work to prevent and tamp down this kind of blind ignorance.
    All muslims and Arabs are not terrorits, and in blindly lumping entire cultures, nationalities, and religions into this slurry, – Americans of all stripes feed into the underlying racism and biggotry that tragically defines much of America’s history, and pervades the hearts and minds of far too many America’s. Echoing Waleed Hazbun, real leaders guide the people by articulating messages that speak to all people, in every walk of life, in every culture, creed, class, gender, sexual persuasion, and age group.
    The fascists in the bushgov, the McCain/Palin camp, the gop in general, and their lockstep partisan followers promote, promogulate, advance, and feed on fearmongering, division, divisiveness, hatred, biggotry, racism, classism, exclusionary policies and practices, ignorances, and pathological lying. Dems need to mark concrete divides between the politics of hate, and the politics of inclusion.

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  33. Zathras says:

    In defense, sort of, of the Obama campaign, making sure the television images that come out of its rallies conform to its message seems to trump spontaneity of all kinds.
    Turkish Americans, Brazilian Americans, Sri Lankan Americans, I don’t think it matters. Approved message only! — which is interesting, since rigid message discipline has been so important to George Bush’s campaigns and administration for the last decade. Those of us who wondered about the extent of Bush’s influence on American political culture may be about to find out.

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  34. Waleed Hazbun says:

    thanks for this post. one of roles of the US president is to be a leader and a communicator, presenting a vision for what the nation should aspire to and guiding us there. both leading candidates have missed many opportunities to reach out to arab- and muslim- american communities..doing so could help make americans more aware and proud of this aspect of their diversity as well as might even assist in their efforts to better understand the world beyond our shores.

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  35. WigWag says:

    Steve, as long as you are mentioning bigotry against Arab Americans and Muslim Americans, you should not forget that it was Barack Obama’s campaign that removed two female Muslim supporters from a stage on which he was going to appear merely because they were wearing head scarfs.
    I personally attended a get out the vote rally for Obama yesterday in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida where Hillary Clinton and former Senator (and Governor) Bob Graham spoke on Obama’s behalf. There was a group of about ten people holding signs that said Turkish Americans for Obama. I witnessed one of the Obama staff people in charge of the event ask them to leave or hide their signs. He was apologetic and polite. His excuse was that no signs were allowed except for the ones being distributed by the rally organizers.
    But this still seemed odd and inappropriate to me. These folks were big Obama boosters and their feelings were hurt for no reason. Of course, Turks are not Arabs and it is possible that these people were not Muslims but Orthodox Christians or even Jews (or perhaps like many Turks they were firmly secular), but the sensitivity on the part of the Obama Campaign organizers seemed out of bounds and bigoted to me.
    My point is not that Obama himself should be criticized (he didn’t even attend the event I was at). My point is that the problem you are pointing out is, unfortunately, very pervasive.
    Of course, your hero, Richard Nixon, was one of the most vociferously Anti-Muslim leaders in modern times. But of course, he was an equal opportunity hater; he didn’t like Muslims or Jews.

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  36. Kathleen Grasso Andersen says:

    Don Bacon… xxx..I love Ralph Nader…always have, always will…and I am grateful to have a candidate for whom to vote whose ethics and competence I trust so completely…this might be the last time we can vote for him..
    I’m glad to see a frank discussion about the bias against Arabs and the reminder of all their contributions to enlightened civilization….as a Sicilian American, I can empathize with the subtle put-downs and the concerted efforts of the MSM to characterize one’s culture in a certain negative light, always re-inforcing defamatory stereotypes…

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