Saturday, February 9, 2008
It's Not Enough Just to Say We Aren't Muslim
Recently the RNS included this brief undated article:
Muslims say Obama's denials come up short
By Omar Sacirbey
(UNDATED) To many Muslim Americans, it's understandable that Sen. Barack Obama has vociferously dismissed allegations that he is a “closet Muslim.” But what disappoints them is that the Democratic presidential contender has not followed up the denials -- which leave the impression that being Muslim is bad -- with comments saying that there is nothing wrong with Islam. His perceived silence on the issue, to Muslims and non-Muslims alike, reinforces the impression that politicians view Muslims as personae non gratae. “I was hoping that the response would not be to proclaim the horror of being insinuated a `Muslim,”' wrote one Muslim blogger, Manan Ahmed. “This is the state of Islamophobia in America today, where a simple declaration -- `He is a Muslim' -- casts doubts on a presidential campaign.”
Why must we read so much into everything? In an election season it is expected that every word and phrase of a candidate will be parsed and dissected without mercy, but sometimes this behavior reveals the truly petty nature of this country's hypersensitivities. Did Obama "proclaim the horror of being insinuate a 'Muslim,'" or is it possible, just possible, that he simply clarified a position that was inaccurately reported? Come on now! Can we have some sensible and reasonable discussion on these matters, or must we always resort to irrational assumptions based on reasonable omissions? Only for this religion, it seems, are we required to go above and beyond normal discourse to prove that we are not "Isalmophobic." But then again, it has been this way for other matters as well, including homosexuality and gender issues. It is never enough to simply say "I do not agree." We have to follow this up by proving we are not personally attacking the individual or that we believe they are subhuman or immoral or less patriotic, or whatever. Ugh....