In Democratic primaries this year the overwhelming majority of Muslim Americans voted for a man who has, throughout the campaign, vigorously knocked down rumors that he is a Muslim.
But support for Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., during the primaries doesn’t mean the Democrat has a free pass from the Muslim American community.
Last week’s incident at an Obama rally in Michigan put some added strain on Obama’s support in the Muslim American community. A campaign volunteer reportedly barred two Muslim American women from appearing in camera-range behind Obama’s podium after they refused the campaign representative’s request to remove their headscarves. After the incident received media attention, Obama called the women personally to apologize. But the hurt still lingers for some Muslim Americans.
“I was quite disappointed. The Obama campaign to me, represents a change from traditional politics and embodies an America which supersedes discrimination and racism. This incident is in stark contradiction to that notion,” said Lydia Habhab, a 23-year-old Arab Muslim-American graduate student and Dearborn, Michigan native.