- February 1, 2008
Muslims for Barack Obama? – It May Be Too Early To Tell!
Barack Obama has been criticized for a lot of things. He’s not black enough for some – not Christian enough for some. There was a smear campaign over his brief childhood attendance at an Indonesian Madrassa (school). The ever vigilant Robert Spencer accused him of being a Muslim apostate. Some have accused him of being a “radical, ideological Muslim“, and some have accused him of being a Muslim who is concealing his true faith. These are attacks on his perceived connection with Islam (his father was a Muslim), and have nothing to do with his character or the political positions he might hold.
The Muslim Observer has a poll on who is the best candidate for President of the U.S., and so far Barack Obama is leading. On the new site United Muslims there is a group listed called Muslims for Barack Obama which makes the following statement: “He’s not just a change from George W. Bush, he’s a change from the emerging crop of Democratic presidential nominees, all of whom are still equivocating on the war in Iraq. Obama is the only candidate who was on the correct side from the beginning, and unlike most politicians, understands our concerns because of his unique background. Through this group, we hope to work Muslim Democrats to ensure Obama gets the party nomination, and then work hard to get out the vote in key districts throughout America.”
What do we actually know about Barack Obama?
In the current debate in Congress about cutting off funding fo the Iraq war, he seems to be unwilling to hold firmly to his original anti-war stance. He said: “I think that nobody wants to play chicken with our troops on the ground,” he told the Associated Press, adding: “I don’t think we can muster at this point a majority of Senate Democrats or Republicans to vote for a cutoff of funding.”
At the recent AIPAC Conference Obama said: “Nobody is suffering more than the Palestinian people.” and he also said: “I am pro-Israel.” According to another source he also said: “Israel is our strongest ally in the region and its only established democracy.” and “we must preserve our total commitment to our unique defense relationship with Israel by fully funding military assistance and continuing work on the Arrow and related missile defense programs.” and he called Iran “one of the greatest threats to the United States, to Israel, and world peace.” While advocating “tough” diplomacy with Iran he confirmed that “we should take no option, including military action, off the table.” (Full text of Obama’s speech at AIPAC.)
In an interview with Haaretz Obama said: “My view is that the United States’ special relationship with Israel obligates us to be helpful to them in the search for credible partners with whom they can make peace, while also supporting Israel in defending itself against enemies sworn to its destruction.”
He told the New York Sun “The world must work to stop Iran’s uranium enrichment program and prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons. It is far too dangerous to have nuclear weapons in the hands of a radical theocracy. And while we should take no option, including military action, off the table, sustained and aggressive diplomacy combined with tough sanctions should be our primary means to prevent Iran from building nuclear weapons.”
In Congress Obama has been active in Immigration Reform including supporting the border fence. He has worked to limit the influence of lobbies, and for election reform. He is for universal health care and is pro choice.
At this point in time, I am also unsure about where he stands on Israel-Palestine, and on further sanctions, or a possible war with Iran. I hope that the Muslim community will look carefully at all the candidates and their actual record and statements before jumping on the bandwagon for any candidate. It helps to remember that they are first and foremost politicians, and that it won’t be the first time that our choices are limited.
Obama Says He’ll Use Force Unilaterally to Protect “Vital Interests” “I will not hesitate to use force, unilaterally if necessary, to protect the American people or our vital interests whenever we are attacked or imminently threatened. We must also consider using military force in circumstances beyond self-defense….” (6/14)
“Allowing Iran, a radical theocracy that supports terrorism and openly threatens its neighbors, to acquire nuclear weapons is a risk we cannot take,” Democratic Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois said in a letter to the Israel Project, a pro-Israel group that educates the public about Israel and advocates an end to investment in Iran. (7/26)
Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama issued a pointed warning yesterday to Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf, saying that as president he would be prepared to order U.S. troops into that country unilaterally if it failed to act on its own against Islamic extremists. (8/07)
Most of the news published after this article was written was about Obama’s “Muslim connection”:
However, there are other news items that raise some serious concerns:
Obama’s letter to U.N. on Israel 1/25/08
” … the presidential hopeful urged the United Nations Security Council on Tuesday to either condemn Palestinian rocket attacks on Israel or remain silent about events in Gaza.”
“White House Democratic front-runner Senator Barak Obama believes Israel must remain a Jewish state and Palestinian refugees must forget about every returning to their homes. “The right of return is something that is not an option in a literal sense.” … “The outlines of any agreement would involve ensuring that Israel remains a Jewish state.”
Barack Obama’s Foreign Policy, Stephen Zunes
“In the face of widespread international condemnation over Israel’s massive attacks against Lebanon’s civilian infrastructure during the summer of 2006, Obama rushed to Israel’s defense, co-sponsoring a Senate resolution defending the operation. Rather than assign any responsibility to Israel for the deaths of over 800 Lebanese civilians, Obama claimed that Hezbollah was actually responsible for having used “innocent people as shields.” This assertion came despite the fact that Amnesty International found no conclusive evidence of such practices and Human Rights Watch, in a well-documented study, had found “no cases in which Hezbollah deliberately used civilians as shields to protect them from retaliatory IDF attack,” an analysis confirmed by subsequent scholarly research.”