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. (MORE)