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Web Letters | The Nation

Web Letter

Obama was born into a family where his father is a Muslim, he is and always has been a Christian. So what! Electing a government that returns to serving Americans is the issue, not creative slander, lanquage terrorism, nor supporting hate division. Grow up, vote for this great country.

Making an issue about something that happened when he was born, does not make him what he is today. If he was born with a mole on his ass, would The Nation be projecting about that?

Are there members of The Nation who are talk radio listeners?

Wallis Parnel

Austin, TX

Jul 14 2008 - 10:06am

Web Letter

It's not a moot point or splitting of hairs when we ask that, at the very least, Nation writers not fall prey to careless, pedestrian use of the term "racism" in describing people or ideas that are or seemingly appear to be anti-Muslim or anti- any other belief system. Religious bigotry or simple bigotry is more than sufficient without bringing along all the baggage and inaccuracies that using the word "racism" would entail.

My major point goes to the crux of the article: Obama simply doesn't believe that being called a Muslim is inherently bad, he just understands that in this day and age, it is being used as a smear. That said, during a rally in Austin, Barack Obama, in front of a crowd of over 40,000 Texans addressed this very issue and said something to the effect of: Oh, they say he's a Muslim. Look. Don't insult me and don't insult Muslims! Not the most sensitive way to put it, but effective nonetheless. Especially for an obviously off-the-cuff monologue. (Obvious because it was a part of a larger segment--a laundry list of "They say..." that he would then debunk--of his stump speech that night that had not been used before and that I don't believe has been used since. I thought it was effective. He and his team didn't. I guess.)

Morally, the most righteous course would be something a bit different, but what exactly? Tactically, Obama has handled it beautifully. And with class and respect intact.

So, while a cheerleader for Islam Obama is not, nor should he be, the man certainly has addressed the issue in a way that would make any other politico in these United States--aside from Keith Ellison or Andre Carson--look like Salman Rushdie or Steve King.

Colin Kalmbacher

Fort Worth, TX

Mar 24 2008 - 11:13pm

Web Letter

Klein makes a great point. However, it is important that she not use the term racism when discussing this issue. It is not race that is being degraded but religion. Thus it is better referred to as either bigotry or religious bigotry.

Derek Houlbrook

Toronto, ON

Mar 17 2008 - 2:05am

Web Letter

If the people that keep trying to kill us were not all Muslims, I don't think people would have such a problem. What do you guys think...? How many of the Terrorists on the planes on 9/11 were Christians, Pagens, Hindu., Etc..?

I have friends who are second & third generation Muslim Americans, and they even say that the guys from the Middle East are crazy! They will die or kill their own people and not think twice!

So, maybe the more moderate Muslims have to go to war with their radical brothers and "Take Back" the Religion of peace...?

Bill Nigh

Riverside, CA

Mar 11 2008 - 12:18pm

Web Letter

Ms. Klein should see this clip of Obama's interview on 60 Minutes from March 2 here. At the 1:30 to 1:45 section Obama states that "it's also offensive to Muslims because it plays into, obviously, a certain fear-mongering there."

There is nothing mealy-mouthed about this repudiation, and I hope you'll update your article in accordance.

I'm starting to believe that, just as there are Obama supporters that believe he can do no wrong, there are progressives who accept nothing less than perfection in his words and deeds. Interestingly, we'll be able to determine their exact percentage within the voting population: just track Ralph Nader's vote totals.

Noel Steere

Chicago, IL

Mar 5 2008 - 3:02pm

Web Letter

If Obama actually was a Muslim he would not be running for President, he would not be a US Senator and most of his other achievements, starting with his managment of the Harvard Law Review, would not have happened, because he probably would not heve been able to get into the top prep school he attended in Hawaii.

J. Purvis

New York , NY

Mar 4 2008 - 10:51pm

Web Letter

Thanks for this article. I am an American Muslim woman and Obama's constant denials bother me greatly, especially since he is generally so talented at dealing with issues of diversity. If you look at his campaign website on this topic, all you see over and over is denials of being Muslim. Isn't this the kind of thing that we saw just prior to WWII with Jews in Europe? In addition, it is important that non-Muslims like Naomi Klein point this out, because when Muslims point it out, our comments are seen as biased or inaccurate.

Prior to reading this article, I posted my own blog on this same topic on Glamour.com, where I blog weekly on the presidential election: Nothing to Fear But Being Labeled a Muslim.

Asma Hasan

Denver, CO

Mar 3 2008 - 11:57pm

Web Letter

Thanks so much to Ms. Klein for putting into words the pain I have been feeling in my heart. I am a Muslim American--a convert. My family roots go back to colonial times. I live in Madison, Wisconsin, a "liberal university town," and while walking down the street I have been screamed at by passengers in a passing car --I was called a "sand nigger." This happened twice in the past year and unfortunately my two children were with me--they were terrified by both experiences. I do wear the Islamic head scarf called "hijab" and I am "white."

Ms. Klein is right: Sen. Obama needs to stand up to smears that are based on Islamophobia and racism. When our "leaders" fail to stand up, then I think there is a tacit acceptance of verbal abuse of Muslims and hate crimes committed against them.

Every Muslim I know voted in the primary here in Wisconsin and plans on voting in November. We are tired of having to chooose between the "lesser of two evils" so to speak.

Aisha Robertson

Madison, WI

Mar 3 2008 - 6:30pm

Web Letter

I see that you are not too clever. Try reading the Koran before speaking about Islam as a friendly religion.

Oskar Olsson

Stockholm, Sweden

Mar 3 2008 - 4:19pm

Web Letter

Muslim is a slur because Hollywood and big Media work overtime to made it a slur. I won't get into whose fingerprints are on the campaign.

I remember seeing the movie Aladdin and shuddering at the racist overtones. Again--same fingerprints.

I'm tired of playing this game with supporters of Israel. The evangelical right, together with the Israeli First left, have had way too much influence over the news media.

Most of us are too busy with our own crises to monitor the minutiae--so we are bombarded with drive-by smears.

Let's just say--I know who you are, and I'm sick of it. This behavior borders on treason.

The hidden hand had better watch out this cycle. Americans are more attuned to the propaganda network that remains nameless.

Carol Ward

Santa Fe , NM

Mar 3 2008 - 11:11am