Presidential elections are in full swing in the United States. Both candidates’ are being vetted extensively by the media and the pundits on various issues that include the economy, health care, foreign policy, security, education and much more.
“American Muslims” (as Americans of course) care about all such issues as they live side by side with other Americans. However, American Muslims have other issues as well that concern them – issues that have not been discussed as thoroughly as the rest. To other Americans, although such issues may not be as important, but for American Muslims these issues are vital as besides directly impacting their quality of their lives these issues also have a bearing on their basic freedoms and civil liberties.
Unfortunately, all those who doubted the presence of bigotry in America were proven wrong during this election season. We all saw and heard it time and again as Obama was “accused” of being an “Arab” and a “Muslim” – as if being an Arab and Muslim is a bad thing. To some Muslims’ dismay, neither the Obama campaign nor the McCain campaign tried to put an end to such rhetoric by asking the obvious: “So what if he is a Muslim or an Arab?”
Very recently, Campbell Brown from CNN in one of her shows finally dared to raise this obvious question: “When did Arab or Muslim become dirty words?”
We thank Campbell for taking that stride in the mainstream media.
What irks us Muslims is obviously the question that why has it taken so long for a country supposedly imbued with journalistic spirit and free speech principles to challenge this bigotry?
Only time will tell.
In the mean time, American Muslims never had the opportunity to ask the candidates about the issues that specifically concern them. In this forum and blog post, we challenge you to raise a question if you were given the opportunity to directly ask one to any of the candidates. Please post your questions in the comment box below.
Some of the questions that could be raised to these candidates are the following:
– While everyone aspires to quickly resolve the Palestinian problem, it has taken quite long with no immediate solution in sight. In the mean time while the strategy and tactics are worked out, what specifically would you do to ease the plight of the Palestinian people who struggle for basic life necessities?
– What would you do differently than the earlier Presidents to push forward peace in the Middle East – specifically to get closer to a “two state” solution?
– Question for Senator Obama – During the presidential campaign you got a taste of what it’s like to have false allegations attributed to your character – something that Muslims have been facing extensively for the past few years. Having lived through this experience of defending “yourself”, what advice would you give to Muslims, especially those living in the western countries to deal with such bigotry?
– Question for Senator McCain – Many feel that the Republican party’s general philosophy of achieving peace by keeping engaged in a state of war would tend to make more enemies, thus never ending the cycle of violence. Do you agree or disagree? Why not be flexible and stress more on diplomatic channels than confrontation for finding potential peaceful solutions?
– Questions for Senators McCain / Obama – Many American Muslims feel that their civil rights have been violated over the past few years while living in the United States. For those Muslims, what measures would you take to ensure that American Muslims’ civil rights are fully protected without compromising on national security matters?
Again, if you have a question that you can pose to each of these candidates, please state it clearly below. One can never tell whether any of the campaigns can actually become bold enough to take on these questions before the elections. Feel free to forward this post to others to challenge them on posing questions to any of these candidates.