What’s wrong with being Muslim in America?

kareem1.jpgWhile gearing up for this Wednesday’s Inside Islam program: Young Muslims and New Media, I found myself thinking a lot about the question Colin Powell posed to Tom Brokaw on last Sunday’s Meet the Press. He said he was troubled by some members of the Republican Party who were helping to spread the rumor that Barack Obama is a Muslim. Powell said:

Well, he’s not a Muslim. He’s a Christian. He’s always been a Christian. But the right answer is, Well, what if he is? Is there something wrong with being a Muslim in America? …Is there something wrong with some seven year old Muslim-American kid believing that he could be president?

I missed Powell’s live endorsement over the weekend since I was out of town at a retreat center. There was another woman staying at the center who had her grandson in tow – a six-year-old just a few days short of turning seven. She was white; he was black; they had the same profile. He was an extraordinarily well-behaved little boy with flashing eyes and a smile to match who managed to sit through some long sessions without wiggling. I surprised myself by saying to him, “You know, Bradley, you might grow up to be president someday.” Would I have had the same thought about a little Arab-American boy?

What do you think? Do we have to wait another generation before Muslim Americans will be considered “real Americans – like you and me?” What will it take, do you think? We’d love to have your comments before Wednesday’s program with Reza Aslan and other media analysts at 3:00pm CT so we can read them on the air.


Colin Powell Endorses Barack Obama

Related Links:

1. On the Media
“Smear Campaign”
October 10, 2008

2. Muslim Matters
“Colin Powell ‘What if he is a Muslim?'”
October 19, 2008

3. New York Times Columnist Maureen Dowd
“Moved by a Crescent”
October 22, 2008

Jean Feraca is the host of Here on Earth: Radio Without Borders. Here on Earth produces the Inside Islam Radio Series. The next show, Young Muslims and New Media, airs Wednesday, October 29, 2008.

7 thoughts on “What’s wrong with being Muslim in America?

  1. Jean,

    I’m a long time listener to your show, having grown up in WI and transplanted to Washington DC I now rely on podcasts. I am so excited at your new series!

    I was born Christian and converted to Islam about 5 years ago and have found that I have gone from being in the mainstream to being a minority by having simply chosen a different path of faith. I constantly find myself being stared at, hearing whispers behind my back and those looks of suspicion that burn deep. I was born here, and I love my country. Just because I am a Muslim does not change that.

    I urge people to get to know someone who is Muslim, visit your local mosque, ask questions because we’re just like you are. There is nothing wrong with being Muslim in America today. We have the same hopes, dreams, aspirations for ourselves and for our children that anyone else does.

  2. “Is there something wrong with some seven year old Muslim-American kid believing that he could be president?”

    No, not at all. But I think the real question to ask is, “In 28 years, could that kid actually get elected?” Though our religious demographics are shifting, the majority of religious traditions in America are Christian. So for this child to be president, we would need to have an unbelievable shift in the religious composition of the country.

    Of course, we are soon to cast our vote for an administration that either has this country’s first black president or first female vice-president — something that was once considered unbelievable as well.

  3. I think it’s silly to think that an American Muslim would not have this country’s best interest at heart in the same way as an American christian would. As a Muslim woman I want my children to be safe, have access to quality education and other opportunities available the same as anyone else would.

    Obama is NOT a Muslim. He is a dedicated christian whom I believe deserves my vote based on the merit of his character.

  4. As we all know, there is little difference between the Muslim faith and Christianity. It’s like Coke and Pepsi. So, be Muslim or be Christian, just be my friend.

    What I mean by that is, keep your faith personal and everything will turn out just right.

    To all the 7-year old Muslims: Keep reaching for the stars! And in 2036, you’ve got my vote.

  5. As noted, the mere fact of being suspected of being Muslim has been a problem for Barack Obama. If he were actually a Muslim, there is no way he could be a major party candidate for the presidency (as Reza Aslan pointed out in last week’s show). If he were actually Muslim *and* a foreigner, he would likely be persecuted in the name of the war on terror, regardless of his actual behavior.

    See: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/10/31/us/31inquire.html

    We seem to move further and further away the ideals expressed on the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty.

  6. There is absolutely NOTHING wrong with being a Muslim anywhere!! In Canada they say it’s a “Free” country. If it’s a free country then why are Muslims everywhere still being discriminated?!?!?

    One day WALAHI, Muslim will overcome this Terror we go through everyday! Even for our dear Brothers and Sisters in Gaza and throughout Palestine!! I have a question; If the United States say they always help the right people then why are they helping Israel?!? For the past decades poor Palestinians have been suffering and the States choose Israel over them?!? What has this world come to?! Israelis are saying we’re only targeting Hamas militants and leaders. Why is there only 13 Hamas militants dead and ONE leader?!? There is over 3,000 civilians dead! For what? Being at the wrong place at the wrong time! You can’t carelessly kill people because of this!!

    May Allah Subhana Wa Tacala watch over and protect the poor Palestinians! One day WALAHI the Muslims WILL shine like Nur!
    Please Brothers and Sisters throughout the world, if you can’t physically help Gaza, pray for them. I recommend reading Surat Fath after Marqrib prayer.


    Gaza, Gaza please don’t cry, Palestine will NEVER die!
    Israel and USA, how many did you kill today?!