The retired general and former secretary of state appeared on "Meet the Press" last Sunday to endorse Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama, and then he had this to say about Obama's religion:
"The correct answer is: 'He is not a Muslim. He's a Christian. He's always been a Christian.' But the really right answer is: 'What if he is?'" Powell said. "Is there something wrong with being a Muslim in this country? The answer's no. That's not America. Is there something wrong with some 7-year-old Muslim-American kid believing that he or she could be president?"
Some of us — me, included — have been so quick to remind people that Obama is not a Muslim that we forgot to finish the sentence: So what if he is? The result of distancing Obama from Islam makes it appear that the religion is a bad thing. John McCain made the same mistake when a woman at a town hall meeting falsely said Obama is an Arab, and the Republican presidential candidate responded that no, he's a decent family man. Arabs can be that, too, and Muslims can be president…
The Cincinnati chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations-Ohio has been working with the mosque, said council executive director Karen Dabdoub. Roughly 30,000 Muslims live in the Cincinnati area, she said, and the community picked up on the Obama Muslim denial months ago.
"No, he's not a Muslim, but there's nothing wrong with being a Muslim," said Dabdoub, who converted to Islam from Christianity. "That's the way it always is. Unless it's directed at you, it doesn't appear on your radar usually. And I have to say, I'm guilty of it as well." (MORE)