I Don’t Feel Snubbed

The New York Times says that Muslims in America feel snubbed by Barack Obama. Well, I don’t feel snubbed. I don’t feel snubbed because I have never been courted for my "Muslimness". I am not used to being courted so I don’t know what being politically snubbed feels like.

The Muslim vote is the stealth voting bloc in American politics. It is highly likely that Muslims in 2008 will play a major role in electing Barack Obama to the presidency, yet Barack Obama stands to lose politically if he courts the Muslim vote. That is Obama’s dilemma, and that is the essence of the Muslim double-smear that has so far been used effectively against Obama.

In 2006 Muslims in Virginia came out in overwhelming numbers to help elect Jim Webb to the United States Senate. I was one of those who cast his vote for Webb. Webb won the Senate by 9329 votes out of over 2.3 million votes cast. According to the New York Times, about 86% of the estimated 60,000 registered Muslim voters turned out and voted overwhelmingly for Webb. Webb’s razor-thin margin of victory was dwarfed by the number of Muslims that voted for him. It was a constituency that was pivotal in putting him in office.

In November, Virginia will likely be the state that will hold Barack Obama’s presidential hopes in the balance. If the voting goes similar to 2006, with Northern Virginia and Richmond coming out strongly Democratic to offset the overwhelming Republican vote in southwestern Virginia, it will once again be Muslims playing a pivotal role. There’s the rub.

Muslim leaders, according to the New York Times article, are upset because Barack Obama is keeping his distance from them. He is apparently trying to avoid the inevitable photo that will play on a loop on Fox News. And he is right.

So, Muslims in America have a choice. Do you vote for a candidate whose policies are going to do the most to help restore civil liberties and change the "us versus them" mentality we have become used to, or do you vote against the candidate for not pandering to you as a religious bloc because you are radioactive? In 2000, Muslims voted overwhelmingly for the candidate that pandered to them but whose policies have brought us where we are today. The lesson has been learnt. The choice it seems is clear. In 2006, the Muslims in Virginia got it – and we voted our interests.

Muslims in America, get ready for a long summer of hate. As the general election gets more brutal what remaining distance there is between the words "Muslim" and the word "terrorist" will disappear in the political dialect. There will be more smears from the right linking Obama to us (the scary people). There will be more condescending cries from the left for us to just shut up like little children. In the end, none of it will matter. What will matter is your vote. And your vote will most likely determine who will be the next president of the United States. Now, isn’t that ironic.

 [Cross posted at the Daily Kos.]

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13 Responses to I Don’t Feel Snubbed

  1. Rumi says:

    Thanks Mash.

    It is the responsibility of the muslims of America to make them strong enough to be snubbed. Until then lets face the truth.

    It is not only Virginia where Muslim votes matter. At least four more swing state have a sizeable musluim voter bloc which has the potential to turn the table. The states are Michigan, Florida, Minnesota and Ohio.

  2. Mash says:

    I am aware of Michigan. I wasnt aware of the other ones, especially of Florida and Ohio. That will be interesting to track.

    I got the wierdest email forwarded to me the other day by a Bangladeshi Muslim. It was a smear against Obama’s mother being an “Islamist”. I responded quickly demanding to know why he was sending out such emails. He apologized and said it was a mistake. It kind of makes you wonder why someone would forward an email without reading it. These smears obviously have an audience, even amongst Bangladeshi Americans. Go figure.

  3. Robster says:

    Mash, this is not going to be a fun summer. Hang in there.

  4. brat says:

    There is a bit of karmic justice in that Muslim Americans will play a critical role in the 2008 presidential election.

    And I fear the DNC and Obama will treat Muslim Americans in the same manner as they have treated Queer Americans, at arms-length at best: A vital constituency that must not be embraced too visably.

    BTW: Heaven help Queer Muslim Americans, who must negotiate multiple and conflicting worlds every day.

  5. Ingrid says:

    I read it as well but the New York Times is not the most unbiased news source. When I had the post up about joining the fight the smears blogroll, a Muslim (who apparently wanted to reform the Sharia, you’ll have to check out his blog) was VERY perturbed that Obama would even feel the need to defend himself for being called Muslim. I think when Muslims have been in a Western country for a while (have adjusted to all things that could potentially ‘insult’ them or their faith) I don’t think they’d feel the same way. My own experiences with Muslim friends in the past who came from different countries was that it seemed to me indicative of where they originally came from. Whether I knew them in Canada where I used to live or Saudi Arabia. Or where they had lived.. a non-Western Muslim is more likely to get upset about issues because of their faith-centric view whereas in the West, anyone’s faith (ignoring those fundies because I totally ignore them) does not trump anything in a democratic society.
    To me, like you said, Obama is the best thing that could happen to Muslims. That said, the Muslim world does have its reservations according to this article;

    Anyway, I’m glad you don’t feel snubbed. As an invisible minority myself, I really don’t care for the identity blocs that feel that they need to be ‘addressed’ or really pandered too. Any group that wants to be courted in essence would not like to hear anything other than something that assuages them. To me, it’s not about the identity of any group, but economics. Because that is the most common denominator for everyone in this country..


  6. Mash says:

    Ingrid, the guy who commented on your blog under “Muslims against Shariah” belongs to a neo-con outfit with a clever name – sort of like “Jews for Jesus”. Check them out – you will notice a lot of familiar names. You will notice a lot of neo-con names associated with the outfit. They are not exactly representing Muslims. Their agenda is decidedly anti-Muslim. I have written about some of their illustrious members before. Basically, according to them most Muslims are “fascists” or “Islamo-Fascists”. That should make clear where they are coming from 🙂

    In fact, the Bangladeshi guy who was spreading the anti-Obama Muslim smear via email seems to be associated with that outfit.

  7. Ingrid says:

    wow DID not know that! I glanced at it and thought, holy cow, don’t want to get involved with that so I did not hang around his blog for further inspection.
    aah, those neocons.. what a bunch of criminals aren’t they?
    anyway, I’m counting down the days and can’t wait to get to Washington in July…
    if you have any suggestions of ‘must-sees’ or tips on what to avoid.. let us know. James has been to Washington quite a few times but if there’s a special exhibition going on that we don’t know about.. it’ll be good to know
    or if we could go to some political evening ‘thing’.. I’d be there!

  8. NiRBashito says:

    With Mr Obama voting to let the illegal wiretapping phone companies “off the hook,” and talking about continuing Bush’s faith-based initiatives (in a new bottle), I don’t think he needs to be too concerned about smear campaigns against him or losing the Muslim voting bloc, for whatever it is worth.

    Mr Obama is about to lose his real base that took out their pocket change hoping for some real change. What a disappointment!

    I never thought I’d stoop so low, but today I’d like to echo Ms Clinton: “Shame on you Barack Obama! Shame on you…!!!”

  9. mrs p says:


    I sent an email to you at your Yahoo address. Let me know if you don’t get it.

    Hope all is well.

    Mrs P

  10. Mash says:

    Hi P, I just got your email. I was a little preoccupied over the weekend and have fallen behind on my mail. Interesting info to say the least. I have some additional info that I will email you.

  11. shamshir says:

    A very well-written piece from a couple of months ago by an American Muslim writer that raises the same issues you do here is worth checking out and linking to:


    I also find Obama’s comments on Larry King Live in reaction to the recent New Yorker cover to be extremely heartening:

    KING: Considering that, though, there’s a lot of e-mails going around. It gets rather terrible. A “Newsweek” poll shows that 12 percent of America believes that you’re a Muslim and 26 believe — 26 percent believe you were raised in a Muslim home — a lot of misinformation.

    How do you fight that?

    OBAMA: Well, you know, by getting on LARRY KING and telling everybody I’m a Christian and I wasn’t raised in a Muslim home and I pledge allegiance to the flag and, you know, all the things that have been reported in these e-mails are completely untrue and have been debunked again and again and again. So, hey, all you can do is just tell the truth and trust in the American people that, over time, they’re going to know what the truth is.

    One last point I want to — I do want to make about these e- mails, though. And I think this has an impact on this “New Yorker” cover. You know, this is actually an insult against Muslim-Americans, something that we don’t spend a lot of time talking about. And sometimes I’ve been derelict in pointing that out.

    You know, there are wonderful Muslim-Americans all across the country who are doing wonderful things. And for this to be used as sort of an insult or to raise suspicions about me I think is unfortunate. And it’s not what America is all about.

  12. Ingrid says:

    Mash, I bet you’re very busy but I think the ‘natives’ (your readers) might be getting antsy for a new showing..

    hope all is well with family and work!



  13. visa says:

    Estimates of Muslim population in the US range from less than three million to nine million. The World Almanac 2001 states that there are about 5.8 million Muslims in the USA

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