The Making of an American Muslim President

A Muslim for the President of the United States? Not in this lifetime many would say. But again, history is always in the making and it is currently unfolding in the United States – Although not a Muslim this time, but never before has a black candidate won the nomination to lead a major political party. Never before has a woman come so close to become the nominee of a major political party. And never before has a major party nominee in the United States had a Muslim father or a background that comes so close to being a Muslim as can ever be imagined in these times.

Whatever little Muslim background Senator Obama has hailed from his biological and step fathers, the media and the public bedeviled him more than what he had asked for when he stepped into the presidential race. Obama obviously fought back – but to the dismay of many of those Muslims, the manner and intensity with which his campaign has fought back to dispel claims about him being a Muslim was quite disappointing. It has prompted many Muslims ask a few questions – What is wrong even if the Presidential candidate happens to be a Muslim? Why would the media and the general public make such a big issue of Obama being a Muslim? And why would the Obama campaign so vehemently attempt to disassociate his image as a Muslim?

Consider these statements on the Obama campaign’s website:

  • “Barack Is Not and Has Never Been Muslim
  • Barack Never Attended a Muslim School
  • Obama Has Never Been A Muslim, And Is a Committed Christian”

There is obviously nothing wrong in clarifying that you are not a Muslim when you are not. Everyone also knows that most of the anti-Islam feelings that lurk today were largely stoked by the events of 9/11 and others that followed. Some may even argue that such a climate therefore makes it challenging for politicians to be Muslims or to even have close associations with them. However, by disassociating Obama from the label of a “Muslim”, his campaign seems to indicate holding of anti-Muslim attitudes that are no different than the ones who are making such claims.

Who would have also thought that a candidate’s legitimacy could be questioned merely on the basis that he is a “Muslim” instead of his merits and qualifications? So, even though times may have changed in America where a black candidate has managed to counter the racial prejudices and has become the nominee of a major political party, America still has ways to go to overcome its other recently acquired prejudices. More than race, religious barriers may be the biggest ones to overcome for America to become a society where race, religion and ethnicity are supposed to be a non-issue in the first place.

But that’s not the focus of this article. In this political drama, one does wonder what if a Muslim does become a serious contender for the candidacy of the office of President of the United States. Is that really possible in the near future? What challenges would such a candidate face during his campaigning? How would the media take on his candidacy? How could his beliefs influence his national policies?

As for merits and qualifications, that should be a non-issue. Muslims have excelled on different fronts in many countries. For example, there is nothing new about Muslims in western politics. Muslims have become members of parliament (MP) in many countries in Europe, such as the United Kingdom and Denmark. In the US, Muslims are very well educated compared to other religious minorities. According to one survey by Cornell University, 77% of Muslims in America have a Bachelor’s degree or higher. Many Muslims have also earned Nobel prizes. As for their values, Muslims’ lifestyles built upon Islamic teachings have contributed to very low crime rates in western nations. The challenge therefore in becoming a US Presidential candidate or a President therefore will be based on other factors.

The transformed Political Environment – It’s clear that if and when that were to happen in the future, it would be quite a different political environment than what exists today. The focus would have pivoted away from Middle Eastern and Muslim nations, and the domestic political environment would be much less charged with anti-Muslim sentiments. With time, the American public would have come to understand the true nature of Islam and would have been able to cut through the toxic layers of bigotry and ignorance to instead judge people on their merits rather on baseless perceptions created by the ignorant few. By that time, the environment thus would have become more hospitable where the nation would have elected many Muslims to the ranks of Senators and Congressmen.

And through this journey, as more Muslims contest for these high offices in the years to come, this inevitable fact would continue to be controversial among many and will be hotly debated not just by the non-Muslims in America but even more so by the American Muslims themselves. Not all American Muslims until a few years ago for example considered voting in a non-Muslim country as “religiously” legitimate. A minority even today probably still believes in it wholeheartedly. However, after being accused to be incompletely Americanized, the post 9/11 period has softened the stance of the majority of American Muslims who have come to grips with the fact that for them and their generations to be heard and not to be targeted indiscriminately, they must participate in the political process. Many of them therefore have come to now realize that either they have to become part of the political process to stand and advocate for their rights, or they will need to find another homeland.

With time, American Muslims will finally come to realize that Washingtonian politics is an art that has to be learned and mastered. Not knowing the game has hurt Muslims in the past. Muslims are singled out, their rights violated probably more than others, and false information is constantly spread about Islam and Muslims all over the media channels. The Muslim communities of today are unfortunately more emotional and reactive than being politically savvy. All that has to change and one can observe that the realization is slowly sinking in that simply being friendly to their neighbors, coworkers and friends is not the only strategy to fight the victimization of the common American Muslims at large.

Defending Islam – One thing is for certain: The Muslim Presidential candidate will not be able to run an effective campaign by spending his time and effort defending Islam. Within American politics, that prerequisite will have to be met much in advance. That means the public perception and media mantra would have to have matured to a level where the common people would understand Islam more than they do today. The “Muslim” label will no longer carry the stereotype image associated with it today in the western world. It’s true that this will not stop the media critics to pitch Islamic values against “traditional American values” and will also highlight the case of Muslim values being an antithesis of the Judeo-Christian dogma. But overall the Muslim candidate will have to stand on his merits, qualifications and appeal to counter the critics’ bias.

The new generation has been and will be a major catalyst in changing this political environment. They have the advantage where they fully understand the risks and challenges of today while not carrying the stereotype baggage of the older generation. Such an influence that the next generation can exert on the political landscape was clearly evident in Senator Obama’s campaign. The same will have to happen within the younger generation of American Muslims.

Making the case – Barack Obama’s rise to national prominence in the political arena has become a textbook example for many to follow. Right from the beginning, he started securing small victories in his career. To name a few, he became the first black President of the Harvard Law Review (a renowned publication). Later, he became a community organizer and championed public service issues at a local level followed by becoming an Illinois state senator. His career continued to build on his previous successes until finally he was elected to the US Senate. Today, we see him as being the nominee of one of the major US political parties. His two books helped him through this process and proved to be the catalyst to push him further on the national scene.

The potential Muslim candidate will have to establish himself similarly and will have to contribute extensively at a local and state level and demonstrate his commitment and loyalty to the local and national issues. Most Muslims generally are less involved with the political issues within western countries (especially in the US) and for them to be able to rise at that level, this obviously will have to change. Rising through these levels eventually exposes one to the political establishment where one can win enough political support needed to form an effective campaign.

Support for Israel –This issue alone has the potential to make the term “Muslim American President” an oxymoron and could stop the campaign dead in its track. This could become a controversial issue for the Muslim candidate, especially when almost all US Presidents have committed unconditional support for the state of Israel since it was founded. Unlike all his predecessors, however, the Muslim candidate may argue that Israel should be treated no differently than any of the other American allies. If the support for the Jewish state has any religious foundation, the candidate may go on to argue that if he was expected to have a secular policy (in line with the US constitution), then why should the country adopt a hypocritical attitude and provide preferential treatment to a certain religious group?

On the other hand, if the candidate commits unconditional support for Israel, this is bound to anger the 8 million or so Muslim population in the United States. More than that, such a position would also alienate the hundreds of millions of Muslims all around the world. Muslims worldwide will have a hard time to empathize with the Muslim American President’s unconditional support for the Jewish state. He would be labeled as a sell-out right from the get-go.

An indication of such became quite obvious during Senator Obama’s campaign. Obama raised the slogan of “Undivided Jerusalem, the Capital of Israel for all Eternity”.To this, Mahmoud Abbas, the moderate Palestinian president, rejected Obama’s speech by remarking the following:

“Jerusalem is one of the files under negotiation. The entire world knows perfectly well that we will never accept a state without [east] Jerusalem [as its capital]. That should be clear,” he said in Ramallah.”

What a mess – If this is in the case of Obama whom many in the Arab world have perceived to hold a relatively neutral stand in the Middle East process, what would be the political rhetoric if the candidate was a Muslim? They would surely expect something better than such a stance.

Many however would argue that should a Muslim become President of the US, his Islamic background could on the contrary bring an everlasting breakthrough in the Middle Eastern peace efforts. This is because the Muslim US President may have a higher chance to likely court all the Palestinian factions to unite and accept past peace agreements. Furthermore, the Muslim President will highlight the conditions of the forgotten Palestinian refugees of the past many years who have been living under sub-human conditions. With some pressure, this may very well enable Israel to take extra steps to improve the conditions of the refugees to provide them with basic healthcare and other life necessities.

Other National Issues – On other issues, the Muslim President will most likely excel no less than any other candidate. For national security and immigration matters for example, the Muslim President likely may take a very tough stance simply because in addition to doing the right thing, he will have to prove his loyalty to the nation and prove all those critics wrong who will accuse him of being soft because of his Muslim background.

Personal and family values will be one of his strongest points and the candidate will highlight the Muslim pride in the Islamic social system that places special emphasis on the obligatory rights of family members, neighbors, friends and other community members. The special rights for women and strong family bonds is what Muslims proudly assert contributes to extremely low divorce rates, even in Muslim households that live in western societies. Muslims see the specific religious prohibition on alcohol and drugs as decent guidelines that shape their societies where crime is much less than the non-Muslim communities.

Building on his Islamic values, social programs especially those catering for women will surely be one that will get a boost. Similar to the efforts of a number of Democratic Presidents and Democratic Presidential Candidates, a Muslim US President will probably revisit all trade agreements to ensure that they incorporate appropriate labor and environmental protections. Most countries trading with the US will see themselves rewriting trade pacts to incorporate labor right provisions. This type of a policy would hail from the Muslim US President’s religious values, which place great emphasis on the legality of transactions and on the need to protect everyone’s interest.

Conclusion – To conclude, it’s a truism that in today’s environment, a Muslim candidate (of the approx 8 million US based Muslims) may not even be able to put together an effective campaign, let alone win the Presidency of the United States. But a not so distant future may very well see a serious contender for couple of reasons. First, as the Internet has allowed dissemination of information, it also has allowed forming of more realistic perceptions. Muslims in the past have suffered a great deal by the efforts of the few who have managed to generalize the religion to something unfavorable to a large percentage of the population. Now, that is changing.

Second, whether people realize it or not, the nomination of Barrack Obama has already smoothed the edges of a totally shattered Muslim image. Not that Obama or his campaign has done anything to defend Islam but the fact that he is a son and step son of Muslim fathers, has made a good percentage of the people come closer to accepting a future Muslim President than ever before.

One thing is for certain though – The Muslim candidate running for a US President will be subject to intense scrutiny – probably more so than any other candidate has ever been subject to in the past. This, along with being subjected to a fair share of anti-Muslim bigotry will only take a candidate with tough mettle to survive the political challenge. This should not be surprising as the world saw a taste of that in Barack Obama who was subjected to anti-Muslim bigotry even though he is not a Muslim.

 

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60 comments… add one
  • M.A. Saleem

    Assalamu alaikum,
    Let us pray Barrack wins and Allah (swt) gives him tawfiq on the biggest win of all, that is embracing Islam, insha Allah.

  • Siddique A. Khan

    A Muslim U.S. President will surely be hostile to Islam and Muslims.

    Is there a dearth of Muslim Presidents and Muslim Prime Ministers in the world today that one more President of a country will make any difference to the state of affairs of Muslims or on this planet?

  • Zakaria

    The chance for a muslim president is unlikely in the near future; i do not expect the american media (mainly controlled by Zewish interest group) to become neutral to any muslim candidate for any positition.

    As far as Obama being the next president, i believe, it might become detrimental for the middle-east. In order to prove his non-muslim bais – he might go the extra mile to prove his aliance for Israel – which might not have been a case for any other candidate.

  • Thinking about the possibility of a Muslim winning US preseidency, I am absolutely intringued. I believe the possibility exists on the long run. However, potential candidates must start now, to prepare for, perhaps the next 20years. They should start preparing by attending public functions and showing off their superior moral credentials, so that by the time they come out with a message of foistering a more decent society, acceptability will be high, not necessarily because such candidates are Muslims, but because of their message.

  • JAMIRUL

    Aasalam AAlaikum,
    Whatever US president will be muslim or not , it does not matter . If suppoese US predinet will be muslim next 20 10 years ? What will he do for planet. He will change everything in the world . Pls SEE IN DUBAI what are people doing their though it is muslim ruler country ?????? IF anyone belong from DUBAI they will know very well what are the thing is going on there. It does not matter a US president will be muslim or not. PLs care about your own home then look about other .

    IN dubai people follow muslim rule?
    there are so many bar & dance club , etc..
    so what you thinking if one US president will be muslim or not it does not matter.

  • Fahd Mohammed

    Assalamu Aleikkum.

    Dear Brothers and Sisters,

    Is having a Muslim American President solves all the issues? We have a lot of “Muslim Named” Presidents, Prime Ministers, Kings etc all around the world. The question is how many “Muslims” are the real MUSLIMS?! First let us all try to be a good Muslim from inside out. Presidentship and such offices comes next. It is easy to become an American President, than becoming a real Muslim!!

    Regards,

    – Fahd Mohammed

  • Larai Saa Ahmed

    Assalaamu Alaikum,I believe it is poosible to have a moslem President in the usa,but only ALLAH knows when and as we cant hasten or delay any of ALLAH’S favour ,we have to wait for HIS time.Oboma’s heritage will bring ISLAM to the fore and many will want to know more about the religion then ever before,with that the door to more converts will be possible.

  • Syed Mohammad Raghib

    I dont think that in near future the US foreign policy will be changed. Obama is not a muslim if he is muslem then nothing should be changed globaly like west asia policy, u.s policy towards Israel, Iraq, Iran, Syria etcccc… So the muslim world should think about own progress to excell through knowledge, education, to setup university like U.S. in Dubai, Built more and more university and produce policy makers in every field. Obama is not having any magic instrument in his hand, the whole system is against us. So be believe on Allah (God) only and spread knowledge through all sources.

  • yusuf

    sa,

    There is one legitimate way of getting a Muslim in the white house. Work, as the prophet did in mecca. Work to implement Islam in the US. But as he did. Preach to the masses, and go to the people of Nussrah. And It is for Allah awj to reward you either with victory in this world or the next ameen.

  • MUMINA

    INSHA ALLAH ALL WILL BE WELL WITH THIS CAMPAIGN FOR PRESIDENCY….THE PEOPLE OF THIS VAST NATION ARE VERY COMPLEX THEY SAY THEY WANT SOMEONE IN THE OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENCY TO DO WHAT IS RIGHT AND FAIR FOR ALL THE PEOPLE OF THIS NATION AS FAR A WELFARE REFORM, SOCIAL SECURITY, PROPERTY TAXES AND THE COST OF LIVING. THE LIST JUST GOES ON AND ON; BUT ONCE THE CANDIDATE IS ELECTED INTO THE OFFICE OF PRESIDENCY AND HE TENDS TO SIDE ON CERTAIN VIEWS OR GOES AGAINST WHAT WAS PROPOSED OR EXPECTED OF HIM…THE PEOPLE NO LONGER WANT HIM…NOW HERE IT IS A MAN BARRACK OBAMA, CANDIDATE FOR THE SEAT OF PRESIDENCY OF THE UNITED STATES BEING DISCRIMINATED AGAINST BECAUSE OF WHAT HIS RELIGION MAY OR MAY NOT BE…THIS IS A VERY VAST NATION AND ITS VERY IRONIC TO THINK THAT SOME PEOPLE ENJOY BEING AT WAR AS OPPOSED TO LIVING IN A CIVILIZED, PEACEFUL MANNER…TO SUM IT ALL UP “PERFECT IS TO GOOD”…..MAY ALLAH BLESS, PROTECT AND GUIDE US ALL…AND PEACE AND BLESSINGS TO BARRACK OBAMA

  • Sylvia Horton

    Salam Alaikum,
    Most people know that Obama is not Muslim. He and his church have gone out of their way to prove this. Not only do Americans not want an American muslim as a President, but a black person as well. The muslim issue is something to keep us off track. The real issue is his race. I personally would not want my grandchildren, who are Muslims, to ever run for President of the US. Why? Because politics are about lying and trickery. This is a direct contrast to what the Quran and the Sunnah of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) teaches us. Obama knows that if he wants to become the next President, he has to satisfy the Jews. This is why he did the speech for AIPAC. Nothing is worth me selling my deen or my values. If Obama was really the person he claimed to be, he would have fought back hard about the muslim comments.

    Fatimah Muhammad

  • Mahmood

    Assamoalaikum
    Let us pray that Obama becomes a neutral and an independent president.But this possibility is very unlikely to happen when I heard his speech with the Jewish community.But Allah has the absolute power to guide him and may be he will realise that he has Muslim blood.

  • Ishaq

    Assalam aleikum,

    May Almighty Allah continue to protect Islam and muslims as He has been doing.

    whether they like it or not, if Allah will that a muslim who become an American president in the nearest future nobody can prevent that, unless God does not want it to be so.

    No matter bigotry, no matter hatred towards Islam or muslims, non muslims world over can not dictate to Allah as to what should be done at certain time.

    So, I believe if it is time for a muslim to become American President nobody can prevent him from becoming one.

    Ma assalam

  • Unfortunately the behaviour of so many Musliims around the world, especially in Western countries, leaves a lot to be desired and this is an area which leaders of the Muslim communities should concentrate on first.

    I believe that we should start from ground level and that is to teach our children how to behave and live an Islamic life and to live it ourselves. Once the younger generations have Islam in their hearts and the Word of God is spread among non-muslims through active dawa projects (which is, in fact, happening at a very fast rate alhamdulilah) then the future does really look bright. Zionist controlled media and countries would be weakened easily just by the Islamic knowledge and practice by millions more Muslims (and even non-Muslims) in the world than we already have and change will come naturally.

    There are so many fields of employment that a practicing Muslim has to avoid – such as working in a restaurant to avoid mixing and because of alcohol. Even teaching and medicine due to the same reasons (mixing) although some have found a medium way to handle this. When it comes to the countries’ domestic decision making and foreign policies I do wonder whether a Muslim may have to bite the bullet a bit and just go with the flow as so many well-meaning non-Muslim and Muslim politicians have to do in order to get elected or stay elected.

    There is definitely hope though. In Britain there is even a Muslim Lord!

    At the end of the day people power and du’aa is immensely powerful.

  • Muhammad Bello

    As salam alaikum, The issue of a muslim becoming a U.S President is one of the easiest issue I can think of because if it is the Will of Allah S.W.T for a muslim to be; He will only decree and it will be and nothing under the sun can stop it.

  • shabbir Bax

    Muslims have to become involved in all matters and have to raise their expectations for all different aspect of public offices. Its much more assessble considering the internet and one must make our selves heard and engage in debates, winning over those doubters initially, followed by the rest. Change the perception of the non muslims towards Islam and its values by our individual and collective responses together with our Akhlak.

    Become champions in social care, aid work, charity and education.
    participate in social provision based on volunteering projects and lead by example as a role model muslim

  • Surely possible, for if Allah (S.W.T.) Says BE, it will BE. Insha Allah the trasformation of America has begun. Just look at the Islamic awareness amongst the Americans. Forget about the Islamaphobia of the very few talkatives. Islam is touching the whole world not just America. America is just an atom.

  • atiya

    If the current conditions on the ground are any indication of the future, no Muslim person – man or woman- will become president of America for next 20 years. And that’s the sad part. It proves only one thing that in a country of equal opportunities some are more equal than others.

    The Middle East issue is not an issue of religion but of lack of conscience among those who have the power to make a difference in the world.

    I wish Muslims will stop defining themselves by media phrases like ‘moderate’. I wonder why you have to write “To this, Mahmoud Abbas, the moderate Palestinian president…” Do you mean to say Muslims are not ‘moderate’ and one has to specifically mention it in case of Mr Abbas? Or is it some new sect in the making – moderate Muslims

  • Asalam aleikum,
    My opinion is that, the general acceptance of the individual in the society is the main contributer for his selection. The message conveyed in his political campaign is the second. Considering the statements on the Obama’s campaign website, it is no dought that Obama’s current religious stand has been a factor for his acceptance.

  • Assalamu alaikum,
    Let’s hope Obama wins and Allah (swt) make him an acceptable President, that is attracting a historic change in American politics.

  • zahir khan khalil

    No body should be astonished about the TOPIC because miracles takes place only in this world.
    Beside this;people should not be affraid from the word MUSLIM ,because the mulims are not terrorist or exremest.Every reliogon is extremist in its basic ways and teachings.For example true followers of CHRISTIANITY, JEWISM,HINDUISMS and so for so.To lable a community as terrorest and extremist is projudice and baise.In the time of HOLY PROPHET MUHAMMAD (peace be upon him) the jews and chritians were enjoying reliogon freedom .They were living with hormony and peacefull condition within the muslims.

    In the holy QURAAN it has been reveald that ( there is no force,compulsion in ISLAM ,means that no body can be compelled to convert to ISLAM and change his or her reliogon by force.

    If a muslim become a prisident of the UNITED STATE OF AMERICA he would be beneficial not only to the muslims but to the whole world because his actions would be based on EQUALLITY AND JUSTICE. HE WOULD ACT AS THE COSTODIAN OF (GOD).ALLAH TABARAKOTAALA.He would consider himslf answerable to GOD in the coming world so he will not deviate the true path of equallity and justice.Lets pray for the dream to come truth and in reality.AMEEEEEEEEN

  • solyrflair

    This is a very insightful blog, but the one thing that you didn’t discuss was the non-muslim history of America. It is a government “of the people, by the people, for the people”. Therefore it is not unexpected to find that the presidents have all been from the majority – white, anglo-saxon, protestant. Except for one.

    John Kennedy was a Catholic, Christian still but separate enough in religious background to have created a great fervor throughout his election. Most people forget about this today, but there was a great backlash even against that. This was less than 50 years ago.

    Our chances of a Jewish president is only slightly more likely than Muslim. And both are slighty less likely than a woman being elected. And 50% of America is populated by women.

    The real question isn’t whether a good Muslim would make a good president. We all know that a good person could be a good president, regardless of gender, race or faith. The real question is whether America could align itself with someone far enough out of the mainstream to win a general election.

    People aren’t elected because of what they are associated with, but more likely because of who will associate with them.

  • Asalaam alaikum Dear Sisters and Brothers

    I being a african american muslim and trusting whole heart in Allah swa. Have examined Mr Obama position as a canidate for president of USA. He’s facing a 3 fold problem status, color and religious affiliation. We as muslims have been told by the prophet sws that in the end of times we will be hated, hurt, killed and no one will fear us. I personally do not look to man to fix the problems of the world. Because everything humans do are just a band aide temporary for the momment. I think its time for muslims to wake up an heed the warning and get prepared spritually and physically the end is not going to be easy to live in or see. During this times survival while we wait for the end to come. We must put our own small difference to the side and embrace each other as sisters and brothers. Pull our resource together for the better of the ummah. I find this whole thing of hoping on usa president to be quite foolish we need the muslim family to wake up and get ready for the rest of this earthly journey. Allah warn us on how to eat drink and live in this world. It sad when you see some muslims so caught up in this world and not actknowledging whats they see and that Allah will put a end to this life we know. They spend there money for pleasure while they can watch there brothers suffer. Sad very Sad. But to those who are not sleeping prepare your family get a group of like minded muslims together forget about who going to rule this or that we are slaves and servents of The Mighty Creator. As the end gets near life is going to get harder to live. So think of survival I have not heard it addressed in the mosque yet but spread the word open the eyes of muslims. Grab there hand and say lets prepare ourselves for the physical trials before the end. Just one sisters concern for the ummah.

    Masalaama and ALLAH HAFIZ
    Sabila

  • Rami

    Asalaam Alikum,

    There is nothing wrong to become a Muslim President in US. The only problem is that we Muslim are disease for ourselves. If all of us unite and try not to let anything block us from being united. A Muslim can do anything. Let’s pray to Allah to unite all of us and become a better Muslim and serve our Muslim communities for better needs, and opportunities. Insha Allah

  • Abdurrahiim

    It ashame that islam is portrayed as bad religion, when it is the puriest religion but as long as you have Zewish peaple in involve in the presidential campagin I truely believe that we would never have a muslim president. Though in Minnasota we have a muslim congressman. Insha Allah Barack Obama wins in his herat he is muslim no matter how strongely he and his political team denie it. ALLAHU AKBAR.

  • edisa

    Allah knows the best, He only knows why all of this is the way it is, and if He wants a muslim, a believer, to be a president in christian country nobody would be able to change it, we dont know what will be tomorrow.We can only pray and ask Allah for the best and do what we think is right.

  • Mohamed

    I would say : Anything is possible.

    I have few African American friends who used to say that America would elect a woman for president over an African American. Time has proven them wrong. For the record, there few muslims in the congress..

  • Valerie

    Asalaam Alikum,
    Every time I read or hear about Obama’s relationship with Islam, I keep waiting for someone to say, “Who cares what religion he is?” Anyone’s relligion should have no bearing on one’s political views. Don’t we have a separation between church and state here? I’d be naive if I actually believed that, but we must continue to push for that separation, and that also means there should be no Christian references injected into the political arena in any way.

  • Mark

    The chances of an american muslim becoming president are slightly less than those of a snowball surviving hell.

  • John

    Asalaam alaikum!
    As a Christian my views are simply that anyone in the United States who works for the benefit of the country and its people is entitled to run for President. This is regardless of race, religion or anything else. I have met many Muslims over the past few years and have found their outlook on life and the family very encouraging in a world where material things have become the object of desire to the exclusion of all else. I say if Muslim is worthy of becoming President or someone’s Prime Minister then so they should.

  • Christian student

    A-ssalamualaikum,
    As a student in the US learning about Muslim culture and heritage, I have always found this blog insightful. I am not an aberration, many young american students not of the Muslim faith are learning and becoming more aware of the commonalities between our Abrahamic faiths and many of us students are going into politics and International relations. From my experiences and knowledge, I greatly respect the Islamic faith. Seeing the large amounts of Arabic programs in US schools starting and the amount of people who go abroad to the Middle east as I did to learn about the culture and the people, one can find the idea of a Muslim president in the US not too far away. Probably not in 10 or 15 years but perhaps in 20… Already many people in my generation who have experienced 9-11 have begun to reach out and learn about Islam and have realized the faults of our poor media portrayals and the rhetoric of some of our leaders to be completely false. We’re beginning to see that every faith has a few fringe groups that create a negative image to others which simply aren’t true and that people across faiths are largely the same. We all want the same things, peace to live and practice our faiths, safety and food for our children and a government that is just and good to its people.
    And Yes, I’m voting for Barack Obama – not because he’s a christian or because he’s a Democrat. But because of the change in America he represents.

  • Iqbal KHAN

    We need leaders like Mohamed Mahatir, who spent his entire life defending Islam and stood strong against all evils of anti-Islam.
    We must beceome first good muslims and should be united to defend Islam and Muslims.
    Let Allah swt bless this great Ummah.
    Iqbal KHAN, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia

  • Sehara

    Instead of Muslim becoming a President, how about if President become a Muslim?
    Salaams

  • bernadette

    i agree about separation of church and state- but i dont believe the church or the state believe in it. It could be a good thing if it were to come to pass- if the person were a true muslim. meaning they would definately be more God concious than anyone who is currently in the white house, they would not push their religion on anyone else or demand prayer 5 times a day (although not a bad thing ones mind should always idle on God anyway) and perhaps not be swayed by the money or crooked way things are done. But it should be like that if a real christian were there too. is it not a command from quran that one doesnt push his religion on anyone else, but is obligated to share if asked? and also isnt it written that a true believer,whether they use the title of christian or not, one who does well and obeys the laws of God, that they are said to be a good muslim? if the world could only get past the word game and verbage we could all be much happier. God bless- ma salam

  • Sallam;
    Right now, I am holding my breath and waiting to see, just what Mr. Obama will do over Jerusalem, should he be nominated…I pray in my heart and soul, by that time, he will have a greater perspective towards the people of israel and those who show a broader sense of giving and potentiality towards a long and lasting peace…That being the Palestinians…They ask not for all, but to share…That says so much to me…I pray the world will also see this as a gesture and pathway to a concrete peace…Now let us pray that our next leader, will in fact also see this in the positive…

  • Zahrah

    RE: # 29 Mark Says:
    June 23rd, 2008 at 3:31 pm
    The chances of an american muslim becoming president are slightly less than those of a snowball surviving hell.

    Can you make a snowball out of dry ice?

  • Zahrah

    Asalaamu Alaikum all—

    I think that the perception of Islam in the Western world has been negatively influenced more by the media than anything else, save for the fundie terrorists who claim to be Muslims (and we Muslims know that they are Muslim in name only). We as Muslims need to speak loudly that we do not tolerate the behavior of these terrorists. All I hear from non-Muslims is ‘If most Muslims don’t condone these “Islamists”, then how come we don’t hear about it?’…We must also be examples of the best of people: in our actions, our words and our behavior.

  • Feroze S Khan

    I think it is irrelavent who becomes the president of the US.It is the foriegn policy that need to be corrected.Presently,it seems to be anti Islam & anti developing nations.To a very large extent the 9/11 incident has been extensively used to tarnish the image of Islam.
    The recent price increase of fuel which is now controlled by the speculators in New York is hurting the fledgling ecomonies.US needs a president & the senate which can alter this destructive approach which is leading to imperialism.

  • Bashir

    Asalamualikum,
    It seems unlikely. Islam does not believe in capturing power with the transformation of society. If a muslim becomes president of USA, there will will be no difference. He will be an American and the condition may not allow him to be a Muslim. May Allah bless Muslim Ummah..

  • Mohammad Tariq Abideen

    It’s good that Obama has so vehemently asserted on his being christian.
    As we can see, he too is not going to make a difference, because the yanks have reached the tipping point already.
    Let him fail while assuring everebody he’s a christian.
    That way, we can be comfortable that a Muslim is not the head of a failing state.
    Let the Americans exhaust all their choices and options of black president, white president, female president, democrat president, republican, neo-‘Cain’, etc. etc.
    Maybe at the end of all this, they’d say: enough is enough. Let’s bring a Muslim. Maybe by that time the Muslim president in the making would be ready to lead and to bring the real Change .
    American Muslims have got to do a lot in preparing for this.
    I am optimistic. but it’s going to take a long time.

  • Ibrahim D

    i agree with the positive, optomistic and objective tone of the article. i certainly believe that everything is possible under the sun. it is just a matter of starting it. As Allah says “Man can only propose, it is Allah Who disposes”. We should start to prepare for that eventuality especially the Muslims in America. Barack Obama’s history is an eye-opener for all who want to assert their right not only as a muslim but a dyed-in-the-wool American. African Americans quest for equality has come a long way. It only took Martin Luther King seven (7) years to bring the black civil rights movement to the forefront starting from “Montgomery Bus Boycott” (1955-1956) to the famous “March on Washington” in 1963 where he delivered one of the best speeches ever, the “I Have A Dream” speech. After his assassination on April 4, 1968, Black American (African American) civil rights movement achieved it highest peak ever. From then on, nothing can stop it. Their momentum keeps on increasing by the second! And after exactly 40 years, the result is Barack Obama! I believe Barack Obama will be the next, and first ever Black President of the USA! That will be the icing on the cake for African Americans!

    As for future Muslim Amercian President, I believe it will less than 40 years! Things have changed since then. And it will continue to change, not in a slower fashion, but by the speed of the internet! I foresee a Muslim American President not coming from traditional mideastern muslim family but from a White Muslim background who counts himself as a blue-blooded American but a pious committed and broad-minded Muslim!

    Let us make this as a goal and let us now make the first step towards this GOAL.” The journey to a mile begins with the first step”.

    Let’s do everything possible and let Allah do the rest! Ameen.

    Ibrahim D. Qatar

  • Segiru Sule

    This is quite an interesting article. Also interesting are the responses. A muslim America President? Not in this generation, neither in the near future generation. The fear of Islam in the west especially amongst the elites is so strong that they could do anything to frustrate anybody who identifies with Islam in any form. It is understanble why Obama had to distance himself from Islam so vehemently. If he did not do that, he would never have been as successful as he has been so far. It is no secret why Americans hate Islam so much.

    The american political phylosophy is built around what they prefer to call “FREEDOM”. Unfortunately, they have overstretched the meaning of that word out of the bounds of reasonableness. They have forgotten that there are no absolute freedoms anywhere in the universe, not even in heaven. There are limitations all around, but the americans prefer to believe otherwise. If the americans decide to embrace Islam and its teachings how would they come to terms with allowing a gay man or a lesbian to become a member of the clergy? How would they tolerate the wide spread teen pregnacies which is now becoming a norm in the american society? How would they live with the idea of same sex marriage which is now legal in most america states? How do you expect them to deal with the idea of near-nekadeness of their women folk, mistaken as fashion. I can go on and on. Juxtaposing all these practices with Islamic ideals will be near impossible, hence the americans are afraid of Islam. They see Islam as a hindrance towards “freedom” – their mistaken idea of freedom that is.

    Again the Islamic way of running societies is so different from that of the west that, the americans fear that embrasing Islam whole-sale would disrupt their materialistic economic system of running society which they prefer to euphemistically refer to as democracy, capitalism, etc. This is why they stoutly ensure that Islam is kept at bay by all means and at all costs. But one thing is sure. The truth cannot be withheld forever. It will continue to creep in until it becomes manifest fo all to see. Islam is an embodiment of social, political, economic, religious and cultutal arrangement that will surely emacipate the human race if properly practised and applied in all that we do. America can only delay its acceptance but they cannot stop it. I wish them all the best of luck.

  • shehu musa

    Assalamu Alaikum,this indeed is an interesting discourse.We should remember that Allah(SWT) said in the Holy Quran that He gives leadership to whom He wants,at the time He wants and takes it away anytime He wishes.The issue of US Muslim Presidency will depend on cooperation amongst muslims worldwide and their ability to use their resources to get what they want,may be copying from their cousins the Jews.

  • nur mohammad ali chisty

    I am hopeful that if obama is selected as president he would work for the benefits for muslims also….

  • khurram

    aoa in my opinion we cant change the image that has devolped in the minds of non muslims they will never accept a muslim president but islam is a reality sooner or later every one have to accept its greatness we muslims just have to wait for some time

  • Abu Rufai Abuja

    Assalamu alaikun,
    If at all Obama is going to be diffrent, why is he telling people that he is not a Muslim instead of showing them that he is out for national unity & develpment? i dont think it will make a diffrence. A muslim can be an American president even tomorrow(but only if ALLAH wills).

  • Asselamualeykum bro/sis
    I don’t know, but am supporting Obama, may be coz he didn’t plan to attack muslims, may be he is less worse than the “bushes”, may be he has some attractive sayings and may be Allah may give him Hidia in the future. In any ways, Having a muslim president is not a problem, but having a real muslim president and real muslim followers is always an open question. bytheway, am not American, but believe on the impact of Americas on Islam and Muslims.
    May Allah give us the best president
    Allahu ae’elem
    wesselam

  • shah

    Assalamu Alaikum!
    a muslim president in the near future is a bleak idea, rather building a castle in the air… Allah is Almighty, and His will shall always prevail… may be a day will rise in America with the glorious light of a true Muslim ruler or President… but a muslim has to realy become a true muslim in the sense of Quran & Hadith…

  • ASSALAMU ALAIKUM!!!

    For me BARACK OBAMA is the most suited leader in U.S to make America and the whole world a safe place to live.

  • Ashkar

    assalamu alaikum,

    barack husein are muslim names. his father is from kenya. barack obama should be the next president because he might stop the fighting in iraq and afghanistan.

  • Mohammad Tariq Abideen

    nur mohammad ali chisty said:

    “I am hopeful that if obama is selected as president he would work for the benefits for muslims also…”

    This is wishful thinking.

    We have a prez candidate running around telling people and media that he IS NOT muslim and here on this forum, many Muslims take him for granted, maybe, because he has ‘Hussein’ as his middle name.
    Let’s not forget that American Muslims once voted for Bush and what he delivered to them – everything ranging from Patriot Act at home to ‘Shock and Awe’ to muslims aborad.
    And let’s also not forget that AIPAC has Obama’s assured support for Israel – a commitment, essentially requiring continued practice of veto in UN and uninterrupted cashflow to Israel.

  • sani fari

    I’m a muslim that blieves in the massege sent down by Allah through our noble prophet, Moh’d(S.A.W.) ALLAH(S.W.T.) will surely fullfill his promise and elevate this religion. I only want to remind us Muslims to hold on to our faith, let us help this religion through our deeds (honesty, sincerity, devotion, love for one another and every one, etc) and I assure u you will see a lot of change.

  • Wasige Habiib

    We Muslims should believe in ourself knowing that one day we will be at the top, We must feel confident enough within ourself to follow our own dreams. Let us be strong enough to at least try to make our life better through practising our Islam as fully recommended, this will lead others to believe in Us. Let us not stand in their shadow when it’s our sunlight that should lead the way.

  • Robin Binti-Blanco.

    Inshallah, I have a strong feeling Obama will one day embrace Islam.
    One day he will sit down and regret why he denied Islam so strongly yet he has a very strong muslim family background.Inshallah, one day there shall be a US Muslim President,There is nothing impossible with Allah (SWT), he just says “BE” and there shall be a US Muslim President. This is my Dua.

  • Asselamualeikum

    I agree with Robin Binti-Blanco Idea.

  • Salaam,

    The fact that Obama is a muslem or christain is not the point of discussion rather what he is going to offer to the religion-
    is he going to stop the killings in Palestain
    is he going to settle Iraq
    is he going to bring peace in the middle east
    is he going to give muslems their full rights
    is he going to stop the media from spreading propaganda on islam
    is he going to stop the west from perceiving muslems as ‘terrorist’
    These issues and much more alike if can be provided by any CANDIDATE regardless of his/her faith,race,ethnicity, is absolutely the one to vote for
    May ALLAH (SWT) guide us to the rigth path Ameen

  • ashok

    i dont think so

  • amao adegoke

    Well everyone has a good point and every one is entiled to his/her opinion,but my question is If it were to be the other way round “Will a muslim country allow an individual with such diverse cultural background be their political leader|?”

  • Dave

    Greetings to all,

    While not a Muslim, I consider myself a friend of the faith and a child of the Book. I must admit my surprise to the reactions of Obama’s protestations regarding his Islamic heritage. While I would not expect any action against him, I would expect him shunned for his hipocrisy. Many Protestant children attend Catholic schools without any thought but for the child’s education. Obama quickly races away from questions of his attendance of a Islamic school. Same is same. As for the faith of of his father, the only negative I can attribute to him is his failure as a father. Islam had nothing to do with this, it is the lack of character of the man. We should all strive to learn the ways of others, that they may know the one true God. To be proud of an enlightened childhood, with exposure to many things would be honorable. To hide it in a closet is a thing of shame.

    Someday there may very well be a Muslim President of the US. In the meantime, there is much ignorance and misunderstanding on all sides that must be dealt with. I hope to celebrate Eid with a dear friend and his family. My only wish is that all could know the honesty and love we share. Blessings be on all of you.

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