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Muslims ask Senators Obama and McCain (Elections 2008)

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.


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26 comments… add one
  • Abdul Hamid

    Dear Presidential Candidates,

    I am both a proud Muslim and a veteran of the U.S. Army, medically retired. What sort of special programs or concerns do you see regarding those Muslim soldiers facing their bretheren in armed conflicts in the Middle East and Afghanistan? More importantly, how would you address these concerns.

  • Ahmad

    Why is it taking the US government so long to resolve the occupation issue?

  • Tomasz

    Hello Senators:
    What will you do to restrict other country’s lobbies from getting involved with influencing US policies?
    Also, something to give you information: When you marginalize certain groups you neglect them from involvement with direct talks and ‘summits’ with you the future US President, you foster more resentment…

  • Senator Obama,

    With all the heat you’ve taken of the accusations of being muslim & arab, you have been on the defense. Understandibly so, to some extent but I have not heard you come out to defend us either. Is it not possible to state your point while at the same time voicing favorable opinions for our large community as well? When put into these positions to rebute such untruths, it would be a good platform for you to also characterize the American Islamic community in a good & positive way, as they all seem to be backing you with great support. Perhaps this is a statement, more than a question though if in question format I’d hae to simply say, ” How do you see the role of the American Muslim in today’s politics & in today’s society”? ” Can we not be spoke of in an important & uplifting manner, without shame or fear”?

    Thanks You
    Kentucky, USA

  • jeffrey poppy

    It is a new season, a new and better change, new hope for America and the rest of the world…, nah, politics and religion is a career choice these days, a profession, right after the oldest known, only more immoral and on a vastly spread land mass exceding the U.S. borders, demoralizing me to no end it seems to think of what I’d like to say. But I will say this, I’ve traveled the world, I hung out in Kuala Lumpur, soaking in the culture and keeping my mouth shut and staying off the tourist trails, I felt humbled by just being in a Muslim country, and not as proud to think I was there to represent America in any way, I had the Natalie Maines sydrom on an international scale, not just within the Texas borders she came from. Amsterdam, that is where I found, and find, my inspirations, direction and the creativity I found now has my own music and a book that just got published, the last trip, over Christmas month, 2007, was pure spiritual magic. I couldn’t begin to tell you how at home I felt, and all the Muslim friends I came to acquire and admire. Americans are not the most liked folks in Europe, common knowledge, I met Muslims who were Turkish, Morroccan, from Afghanstan, The Nederlands, me, a blue-eyed white man from the States learning how to ‘break the ice’ of the instilled cover of provoked hate inspired from the mix of politics, religions and the borders that seperate more than soveriegn land of some governing body, it seperates human as individuals. The Muslim faith is no where near being a majority here in the States, the fanatics that went postal in the name of Allah with the planes, is no different than a killing in the name of anyone else’s faith and who they believe their God is, I can think of at least one country right at hand that is indicriminate in that realm. Everything is an argument, and that is sad, the Muslim faith, the Muslims in population around the world, you know, it’s the same Mosque, same faith in Allah any where in this mix-up world. The politicians and America in general were caught by surprize, they showed how important American Muslims and their questions might be by putting any thought out answrs farther back than the back burner. I’m not radical I hope, it’s just my view and lack of interest in politics and religion, I can’t listen to politicians talk, or stand to hear some of these ‘moral leaders’ tell America how to live and get by. I’m trying to focus on the bigger picture ahead, a future that leans into oneness.

  • Mushtak

    dear Senators –

    What will you do for the rehabilitation of the Iraq and Afganinstan people displaced by war?

  • Haji Khalid Khan

    Assalam Alikum,

    Let see the policies of the US presidential candidates, after their election as president
    either OBAMA or MaCain.

    We are hopeful that their policies towards Muslims of the US and all the world
    Muslims would be positive.

    Let,s wait and see and pray for the betterment of the Muslims in particular and
    rest of the religions people in general.

    Best Regards.

    Haji Khalid Khan

  • Farook Hashim

    we hope the politicians and lawyers will uphold the truth and not the interest of the able and rich.

  • Dear Senators,
    Once upon a time America was supporting a certain country which was in conflict with another country and when asked why, one of the leaders replied that America has got no friends, America has got only interests. Do agree with this and Do you think this a good remark for the American people ?

    Best regards,

  • sambujang

    let us hope that the voice of the muslim; the diginity be and the status be respected.
    no matter who wins.

  • muslim retired sailor

    The one thing I saw the most during this campain was the very transaparent predijuce against muslims from worrying about being seen in a picture with a muslim with a head scarf to being angered at being compared to or called a muslim or an arab. On the other side seeming to take great joy at poking these accusations toward his opponent. My question is this. When did America stop becoming the great melting pot whom all religions and nationalities were welcome to become an American? When did it become ok to tear down one religion and become important for the US President to fit the mold of the biggots? I am ashamed of what America has seemed to become. I am ashamed when people will know I am American because of this backwards attitude. I thought we already fought for civil rights in the 50’s and 60’s. Must we go there again? Do we forget the Japanese inturnment camps so soon? Must we condem all for the crimes of some? What do you think makes the world so angry at American? Don’t you reflect upon the views of the outside to see what we might be doing wrong or are we too proud of ourself to learn our mistakes? My God help us all.

  • Kassim

    Hi Obama,

    Did you ever bother to ask your blessed mum why she married a Kenyan and later on a muslim Malaysian?Obama,i understand you even started your primary education in your step father’s asian country.All these are devine induced occurrencies to prepare you to lead that God’s own country called U.S.A.!America desperately needs an intelligent,patriotic,bridge-builder, fair minded and progressive chap like you today.In view of that, you SHALL become Mr President-elect come 4th November,2008 as no one will put asunder what God has schemed.

    You remember what you were taught about Islam while in that Asian country and the Islamic websites around the globe?Please tell them that Islam means peace,fairness,truth,justice,transparency,accomodation,humility,progress and the courage to face challenges such as the economic crises presently facing America(and by extension the whole world) squarely without fear or favour!

    I wish you and all good Americans goodluck!

  • I would like for the two senators to speak truthfully of their views of Muslims in the U.S. I have four children and I can not imagine how this negativity of Muslims is being characterized to them. I do not believeanyone should be embarassed of being a Muslim. This is America, a place where all are accepted into this country. As a citizen we have certain rights and certain rules, that applies to all citizens, being a Non-Muslim is not one of them. The embarrassment that I feel is when World Histroy of the races are not truthfully explored or excepted. Facts are the facts. Some may ask why do we need to know such and such. I do not know about how other people may feel, it is the knowing that scares the hell right out of me and causes forgiveness of cultural conflicts, and unity.

  • sajith

    Dear presidential candidates asalamu alaikum,
    Who ever be the president elected, Please think about humanity and respect human lifes throughout the world (not only americans) because those persons who are affected, also have their own feelings as you and your family have when they loose their loved ones. GOD WILLING, let the new US president have atleast some humanity in his presidency

    With heart feelings,

  • Assalam Alaikum,

    I would like to ask the candidates about the muslim segregation in American Job world forexample if one is called Osama, the other completes it with “bin laden”. Eventually one ends up loosing the job because of that , how are you going to address such an issue?

  • siraj

    asalamu aliykum,

    Its very bothering to me when some brothers/ sisters confuse the issues of Palestine and Muslims. you see the Palestine issue is a political issue not religious question. politicians in USA and Arab world want you to believe that, any thing to do with Arabs somehow, have something to do with Muslim religion. But nothing more factually false than that. Now if we Muslims have an opportunity to ask any question about our religious rights we should just ask that, aside from political issues of Middle-east. this not to say that Muslims do not support the Palestinians cause. We do but lets not confuse the issues.

  • AbuBakr

    Senator McCain and Obama,

    I am a military veteran serving 24 years honorably for my country. My question is when did it become standard practice to become a racist. Clearly military policy has reinforced this behavior along with advocacy of extremist Christians in the forces. As there are no outlets for complaints by Muslim Americans, how would you resolve these issues?

  • Hi! Mr. President Elect,

    All I implore you to be is a man with good & the best of heart in your deallings with issues concerning America, it’s loving pple & the whole world.

    Being a muslim or loving islam is not any stigma, but it is lot worse trying to respond to criticisms of the type that is capable of distracting a positive minded person like the next American president as we are about to have in your intelligent, focused, caring, loving self.

    As a matter of fact, purity of heart is something that islam enjoins & if you possess such quality, I do not see how that has become a thing to worry about except by enemies of progress & change.

  • Abid

    I would like to ask senator Obama(As i hope in Obama that there would be change in US policies towards muslims) that, “how would you differentiate your policies than previous American policies (especially Bush government) towards the muslims, whether it is American muslim or muslims from other countries”

  • 1. Economy of US is in such a great disaster. Who are the culprits, What action do you propose to take against those who have swindled billions of Dollars?

    2. US is fighting war with whom? IRAQ? Afhganistan? Over three hundred thousands in uniform of US army, allied forces, Iraqi and Afghan army, police
    forces, complete Govt. missionaries even their presidents selected by US are fighting with whom? Couple of thousands of Al-Qaeda and Taleban, still in over four years war has not been won. How long shall US keep foghting this un-ending war against the world opinion? Have we not learnt lesson from Vietnam war? US must have killed millions of civillians and innocent people in all these three wars.
    When you become president, are you going to continue with these wars?

  • Sanusi Ahmad

    To all the presidential candidates. Compare pre Iraqi and Afghanistan wars and today, which period in your opinion makes an average American secure and free in all parts of the world?
    In other words, which period could be seen as jeopodising the freedom of American citizens at home and abroad? Finally, what is the hope for Americans and the Middle east communities, particularly the Palastinians, if you become the President>

  • toqir ahmed khan

    let us hope that the voice of the muslim; the diginity be and the status be respected.
    no matter who wins.

  • arshad hussain

    let us hope that the voice of the muslim; the diginity be and the status be respected.
    no matter who wins.

  • waseem

    Economy of US is in such a great disaster. Who are the culprits, What action do you propose to take against those who have swindled billions of Dollars?

    2. US is fighting war with whom? IRAQ? Afhganistan? Over three hundred thousands in uniform of US army, allied forces, Iraqi and Afghan army, police
    forces, complete Govt. missionaries even their presidents selected by US are fighting with whom? Couple of thousands of Al-Qaeda and Taleban, still in over four years war has not been won. How long shall US keep foghting this un-ending war against the world opinion? Have we not learnt lesson from Vietnam war? US must have killed millions of civillians and innocent people in all these three wars.
    When you become president, are you going to continue with these wars?

  • yusuf hambali yuisuf

    Assalamu Alaikum
    No matter who wins, lets the diginity of world muslims be protected and keeping peace among all the muslim s countries

  • Thanks to Iqrasense. I first of all congratulate mr. obama for his victory. As the new american president what hopes, changes, amendments and restructures do plan to bring to Iaqi and afganistan people? how do wish to respond to the issue of open prejudice to the american muslims in perticular and other muslims all over the world? thanks.

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