Sen. Barack Obama's campaign apologized Wednesday after two Muslim women say they were told they could not stand behind the candidate at a rally at Joe Louis Arena on Monday out of concern for the visibility of their religious attire in published and broadcast images of the event.
"This, of course, is not the policy of the campaign," spokesman Bill Burton said. "It is offensive and counter to Obama's commitment to bring Americans together and simply not the kind of campaign we run. We sincerely apologize for the behavior of these volunteers."
False assertions that Obama, the presumptive Democratic nominee, is Muslim dogged the candidate through the primary season, forcing him to walk a delicate line between reaching out to Muslims and Arab-Americans while not providing fodder for those who may believe the rumor. . .
Muslim and Arab civil rights organizations have asserted since the start of the presidential campaign that Islam and Arabic heritage are being used by campaigns and supporters of candidates to associate them with activities that are against American interests and security. Some Muslims and Arab-Americans say they hesitate to publicly endorse candidates, for fear of tarnishing the politicians they support.
When President Bush appeared in Dearborn in the wake of the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, his staff was keen on having women in hijab and imams in their traditional attire posed behind him, according to people who attended the event…
Dawud Walid, director of the local office of Council on American Islamic Relations, said the controversy is only part of a larger problem. "We see the bigotry of Islamophobia playing a large role in the campaigns, in politics and in the country," Walid said. "These issues need to be addressed publicly, as part of a wider conversation. And we call on Sen. Obama to do that." (MORE)