By Ali Alarabi
I must say that when I heard the national media repeatedly playing out the words of Ohio talk show host, Bill Cunningham – emphasizing the name of Hussein in Obama’s name – not only was Cunningham coming across as an anti Muslim, bigoted racist, but the national media seemed to be applauding him by playing over and over again like a broken record. It is not a good feeling, to say the least, to think the media had become complicit in spreading hatred and racial discrimination simply because someone has a “Muslim” middle name. I also take it that Muslims with an obvious Muslim first or last names are viewed as suspects. This latest hatred campaign directed at Senator Barak Obama for having the middle name of “Hussein” represents a low point in American politics and some American politicians who have made it a career to demean and assault Muslim Americans and Muslims in general.
Senator Barack Obama is not a Muslims; he had said it loud and clear, even if he was, then what? Does it mean that he cannot run for office because of his faith or middle name?
This whole debate about senator Obama’s roots started by ultra conservative racists and picked up by Senator Hillary Clinton campaign, or the other way around, or even a combined effort against Senator Obama, is a desperate attempt to stop senator Obama train in its tracks, and is racist, clan-easque and certainly un-American.
Muslim Americans are an integral part of the American society. They work hard, pay their taxes, serve in the military and die in the line of duty.
My question to those hate-mongers is: how much more American you need to be to prove you are a patriotic American, it looks like it will never be enough for those racists. That said however, Muslims should not change their ethnic names or their religion so as bigots accept them as Americans! This whole idea of attacking Americans based on their faith, color and race, though not new or unusual, is nonetheless preposterous.
Dirty trick by Senator Clinton campaign was reminiscent of discrimination African Americans, Asian and Native Americans have experienced here at home and even after coming home from battles in past wars risking their lives as soldiers for this country, only to face racial discrimination be rejected as equals by certain segments of the American society.
Many Muslims were offended by Mr. Cunningham and other racists talk show hosts who kept repeating the word ” Hussein” so as to appeal to his fellow racist-Americans in a bid to create a psychological connection between senator Obama’s roots, and terrorists. Senator Obama is an American first and foremost; his faith should be a private matter, regardless of what it is, and none of the business of those bigoted individuals.
Senator Clinton’s camp, on the other hand is equally guilty for spreading false rumors and innuendos about Senator Obama’s heritage and distributing a picture of him in a traditional African clothes that includes a turban. And what’s with that. Senator Clinton and her husband former president Bill Clinton donned Chinese, African, and Asian clothing on their foreign travels. It is very respectful to other nations and their national cultures to try to show respect and understanding. The real reason however for distributing a picture like this is actually more sinister and defamatory. More, it is a form of character assassination because it appeals to the psychology of fear and it creates a mental imagery between Senator Obama wearing a traditional African turban and America’s enemies who wear turbans. Clinton’s subliminal message could be something like a vote for Obama is a vote for America’s enemies or that obama is one of them.
Senator Clinton, or I should say the Clintons because it appears that Senator Obama is running against both Hillary and Bill should focus on the real issues that face Americans instead of reaching to her old bag of dirty tricks and thus turning her election campaign into no more than a smear campaign against not only Senator Obama, but also against patriotic Americans who happened to be Muslims.
-Ali Alarabi is an Arab American writer and syndicated columnist. He contributed this article to PalestineChronicle.com. Contact him at: firstname.lastname@example.org