Islam Online asked a bunch of American Muslims to name their candidate and explain why they’re supporting him. The answers are fascinating. Here are some snapshots:
Malik Mohammad Hussain, 54, a Pakistani-born salesman in Halal Meat Store
I favor Obama over John McCain and think that Barack Obama is a Muslim.
I have heard that Obama will end all the war politics and there will be no bombing in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iraq when he occupies his place in the White House.
Abdul Nasir, 30, a Cab Driver in Washington D.C.
I’m a staunch supporter of Barack Obama but I’m not sure that he will win the presidency.
Obama has got a popular support among the youth, urban cities, and over the media but majority of the white conservatives living in the countryside will never vote for a black man.
If Obama wins it will be only a miracle, and this will be by a thin margin.
Khadija, 56, an Iraqi woman teaching in an Islamic School
My whole family of five will be casting vote for Senator John McCain.
I think McCain is a wise and tested politician. At this critical moment when the whole world is in the grip of crises, only a sage person and not a stylish demagogue can be a savior.
McCain does belong to the Republican Party but this never means that he is another George Bush.
The Republican and not the Democratic Party has been pro-Muslim countries. I cannot see any reason why the majority of Muslims in the US is backing Obama, though Obama has always resisted the Muslim identity and never visited or approached any mosque.
Shafeeq Kakar, 30, Afghan banker in Virginia
Two days ago I voted for Senator Obama.
My family in the US and their nation back in Afghanistan have got fed up with the unending war in Afghanistan.
I want some one who believes in dialogue. Barack Obama has the potential and statesmanship to resolve the crises in Afghanistan with dialogue and jirg [tribal council meetings].
Ata Nabawi, Substitute Teacher, Compton, California
I am voting because voting is important. Enfranchisement is the key to political power. Being a black man, coming out of the history of Jim Crow laws and the struggle for civil rights, to finally have the political power to vote and not exercise defeats that entire purpose of that political struggle.
[Issues and candidates] are equally important, because one affects me locally and the other affects me nationally which will eventually affect me locally.
However, I don’t always agree with the candidates. Barack Obama is for gay marriage, but I’m not, so I’m voting yes on Prop. 8 [to only allow traditional marriage]. Obama just tries to please everybody.
The Muslim community in America is considered to not wield any effective political power therefore it isn’t targeted in elections. This is not based on demographics, but based on the power in Washington, D.C. As a political force, Muslims have not showed their muscles. We don’t have a strong lobby. We’re not organized enough.
[Sen. Obama] did what is politically expedient. He has a Muslim father and was raised in Indonesia, a Muslim country. I also believe he’s been to Pakistan before. He has extensive knowledge of the Muslim world. His name is Arabic, which is the language of the Qur’an. He had to distance himself as much as he can from Muslims and Arabs in order to show his loyalty and patriotism to America. America has created an enemy in Islam.
I personally believe that America needs some Islamic leadership; however I don’t think the American public is politically mature enough to have Islamic leadership in general.
That last guy is a substitute teacher, yet. The answers offer such a transparent peek at those who vote on faith. They’ve projected things onto Obama he’s been running from or against the entire campaign. He’s not Muslim, he’s vowed to escalate the war in Afghanistan, and he’s threatened military action inside Pakistan. But, then, why would Muslim Americans pay any more attention to the facts of Obama’s campaign than has the rest of the electorate?