Why I Plan to Vote for President Obama Again…as an American Muslim

There have been a lot of discussions going on lately online among Americans, including American Muslims on whether to vote in this year’s presidential elections.  Many people, especially Muslims feel that President Obama has disappointed them, thus they will not vote to help re-elect him for a second term. Still others believe that it is no use for us to vote because either party will not help us American Muslims out and a few people also think that it is Haram (unlawful in Islam) to even vote in the first place.

To those Muslims who say that voting is Haram, I will just respond by saying that you are Stupid. Period.

As an American Muslim, I was happy to vote for Obama in 2008, because I wanted a change from the failed policies of G.W. Bush, like most everyone else.  I was also happy to hear that Obama, who had a Pakistani roommate, grew up in Indonesia and had Muslims in his family, although he himself is a Christian, was much more aware and knowledgeable about different cultures around the world – which was (and still is) needed for the leadership of America in this very small world we live in today.  I was also happy to hear that Obama would end the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, close Guantanamo Bay prison in Cuba and would try to work for a two state solution between Israel and Palestine.

Of course Obama won the election against John McCain with a safe margin (although some states were very tight and every vote was needed to win in those battleground states – just like this year) and was elected to President of United States of America in November of 2008.  This was a historic election, since Obama is the first African-American to be elected as President.  This was one of the moments I was most proud to be an American, since no other western country has elected a minority race or ethnic group to the highest position of government before this.

Now 4 years later, many people, especially American Muslims are disappointed that President Obama was not able to keep all his promises.  To those people, I will give you some reasons why this happened and also why we should give President Obama a second term in order to continue a lot of the good work he has done to help our country get back on its feet and move in the right direction.

  1. Before President Obama took office in 2009, the economy was already losing 800,000 jobs a month.  Now we have seen steady job growth for 30 consecutive months.  Obama also saved the US Auto Industry, while his Republican opponent Mitt Romney, wanted to let it die.  Although this was a very unpopular move to give federal money help the Auto Industry, Obama stuck with it and in turn saved 1 million Auto jobs in the US and all the government loans made to US Auto Companies were paid back ahead of time.
  2. President Obama decided to take on one of the major problems in the US: The American Healthcare System. The last time a US President was able to successfully pass major healthcare reform was in 1965 with President Johnson’s introduction of Medicare and Medicaid. Since then, most political experts consider major Healthcare reform as political suicide, but President Obama still decided to take it head on and was able to pass the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (aka “Obamacare”).  It is not perfect by any means, but definitely a step in the right direction for America, where healthcare costs are some of the highest in the Western world.  With “Obamacare,” health insurance companies cannot charge women more than men for the same coverage.  Parents can keep their children on their family health plans until the age of 26.  Seniors on Medicare will have free preventive services and also lower prescription costs.  Romney said he will repeal the Affordable Care Act, and most likely allow Health Insurance companies to go back to running wild and abusing people who have pre-existing conditions (such as being a woman)!
  3. President Obama and the Democrats, although far from perfect, are an inclusive party. Anyone who watched the conventions of the Democrats and Republicans could see with their own eyes, the GOP convention attendees were monolithic and not very diverse.  The Democratic convention on the other hand, was the exact opposite.  It featured people of all colors, backgrounds, and religions – including American Muslims.  Unfortunately, the Republican party, over the past 12 years have moved to the extreme right and have now openly attacked American Muslims who serve in the US Military, Congress and other government positions.  People such as Newt Gingrich, Michelle Bachman and others who are deeply involved with the current direction of the GOP, are self proclaimed Islamophobes who flaunt their Anti-Muslim hysteria. President Obama on the other hand appointed several American Muslims to his administration including Farah Pandith, the first-ever Special Representative to Muslim Communities for the United States  and Rashad Hussain, who serves as the U.S. Special Envoy to the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, a group representing 57 nations.
  4. President Obama delivered on a campaign promise to address Muslims around the world from a Muslim capital within the first few months of him being elected by speaking at Cairo University in June 2009. Also during Obama’s first trip overseas as President, he also spoke to the Turkish parliament in April of 2009. I don’t remember the last time a US President travelled to and spoke publicly in two Muslim majority countries within their first term, but it was a major change in US policy from the G.W. Bush era of shoot first and talk later.
  5. President Obama ended the War in Iraq and also started to draw down troops in Afghanistan.  By 2014 a majority of US troops will have left Afghanistan. He also ended the use of water boarding by US military prisons. President Obama has decimated Al-Qaida by taking out their leader Usama bin Laden – one of the worst terrorists of the 21st century.  Some Muslims complain that Bin Laden should have been captured alive and tried in court.  Let me respond this way:  Usama bin Laden admitted to destroying the Twin Towers in NY on Sept 11th, 2001 and was the major cause of all the problems we Muslims now have here in the US (and other Western countries).  We Muslims should be happy that Bin Laden is dead and that Al Qaida and other extremists are weakened around the world, especially in Pakistan, which has suffered a lot due to their extremism.
  6. In terms of Pakistan, yes there are Drone strikes which no one, including myself likes, because they hurt and kill innocent people in the tribal areas of the North West Frontier Province, but do you think that you will have a better chance to end these drone attacks with Obama as President or Romney?  This is a current US Military Tactic, which will not stop if Romney is elected as President.  In fact, US foreign policy, under Romney will become much worse for Muslims, because he (Romney) has already called “Jerusalem” the capital of Israel (which is Not current US policy) and he will bring the same Anti-Muslim foreign policy team, which G.W. Bush had, back into the White House. They are already pushing for war with Iran, a trade war with China and causing problems with Russia!  Now, do we as a country want to move backwards or forward?
  7. President Obama successfully fought to prevent federal student loan interest rates from doubling for more than 7 million students, and capped federal student loan repayments at 10% of income. He also doubled funding for Pell Grants and established a college tax credit. As someone who started his college career at a local community college, I am happy to hear that President Obama is also investing in community colleges and career training programs.  Plus, he doesn’t want to cut funding from PBS and fire “Big Bird” like Romney does!
  8. President Obama renewed Unemployment Benefits twice.  As someone who was unemployed for almost one full year, this definitely helped me and my family out.  Not only that, a program called “Keep Your Home California” which was created because of the Obama Administration’s efforts to help people who lost their jobs to be able to keep their homes.  This also directly helped me and my family out by helping us pay our mortgage bill while I was unemployed for 9 months.
  9. To those who say that President Obama did not keep all his promises, such as not closing Gitmo.  Let me remind them that Obama was blocked by the Republicans in Congress who did not allow the prison to be closed and the detainees to be tried in American courts (This is a reminder to everyone to vote for their local congressman as well, because the President cannot do anything if Congress is against him). See this article about the House blocking the closure of Gitmo from the Washington Post here: http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2010/dec/8/congress-deals-death-blow-gitmo-closure/?page=all
  10. If we as American Muslims really want change in the way that we are seen and perceived in our own country, then we need to step up and get involved in the US political system. We really have no right to complain, because we haven’t really been involved in the affairs of our country’s domestic policies (we have No influence at all in US foreign policy at this point) and only became “active” for the past 12 years.  We always complain about how Israel can “get away with anything” and the US supports Israel no matter what.  Let me explain briefly why this is. The American Jewish community has been involved in the affairs of the United States for well over 100 years (the ZOA was established in 1897).  Not only that, but American Jews have gone into every major field of influence (Media, Politics, Law, Education, etc.) and became leaders in their respective fields.  This is not something to condemn, but to applaud.  They spread their influence and diversified their skills. We American Muslims on the other hand are disproportionally involved in Medicine, Computer Science and Engineering, and to top it off, we do not donate any money to political campaigns or lobbyists like other minority groups do.  Then we complain because we voted once or twice, forwarded some emails and donated $20 for Obama’s campaign and then expect the whole world to change in our favor!  Sorry it doesn’t work like that my friends. US Foreign policy has been developed over decades and policies that were put in place over 70 years ago are still affecting decisions made today.  To learn more about this, please read the book: “Obama and the Middle East” which I reviewed here: (http://www.patheos.com/blogs/almihrab/2012/09/before-you-blame-obama-for-the-problems-in-the-middle-east-read-this-book/)

 

In conclusion, if you want to give up on Obama because you feel that he disappointed you, then don’t vote for Obama. But keep in mind that by not voting or voting for a Third Party Candidate for President instead is basically giving your vote to Romney. Mitt will not only take your free vote, but he will not do anything at all to help American Muslims out.  Romney’s foreign policy team is made up of Islamophobes, Pro-Military Extremists and War Hawks who are just waiting to attack Iran (by the way the government of Israel wants Romney to win as well because they felt Obama was too tough on them). But if you care about what is going to happen to this country that we have all either been born into or have come to for a better life, then we should not only vote, but also vote for the only candidate who can relate to us as a minority and has already listened to many of our concerns as American Muslims and has followed through on many of these items.  He ended water-boarding torture which was initiated by G.W. Bush and Company. He ended the War in Iraq.  He is about to bring back the troops home from Afghanistan.  He has helped to bring America back on its feet from an economic stimulus package which has helped save the US Auto Industry and bring continued job growth for the past 30 months.  He has helped America take a step in the right direction by creating the Affordable Care Act which will help cover 30 million Americans, mostly children, who would not have had health insurance before. That candidate is President Barack Obama. Now go out and vote for him on November 6th.

Irfan Rydhan

Content Director’s Note: This post is a part of our Election Month at Patheos feature. Patheos was designed to present the world’s most compelling conversations on life’s most important questions. Please join the Facebook following for our new News and Politics Channel — and check back throughout the month for more commentary on Election 2012. Please use hashtag #PatheosElection on Twitter.

 

This article is also part of the “Election 2012 – American Muslims VOTE!” series, which is running on Altmuslim at Patheos, Altmuslimah, Illume, and Aziz Poonawalla’s news and politics blog on Patheos. Click on this special topics page to view all articles in this series and add your comments. Please also tweet your thoughts on this article, on the series, and on the 2012 elections at #MuslimVOTE.

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  • Humble Genius

    Obama also supports the following
    -Same-sex “marriage”
    -Laws requiring believers to put aside their religious views regarding same-sex marriage
    -Abortion throughout all 9 months of pregnancy for any reason (because a “health” exception includes all factors effecting health – the woman’s age, socio-economic status, stress from being pregnant, etc).
    -policies undermining the family
    -policies requiring sex-education without any moral or religious views included
    -under-enforcement of laws against obscenity on television and failure to enforce laws that would curb the worst kinds of pornography (which are permissible under the 1st Amendment, but not enforced by the federal government)
    -policies forcing religious organizations to engage in behavior forbidden by their faith (paying for abortifacient medicine)
    -President Obama, when he was a state senator in Illinois opposed a bill that would ensure that children who survived abortions (who were “born alive” during an abortion) would be given medical care — He opposed it 4 times, even after abortion providers withdrew their opposition.

    • irfanrydhan

      thanks for your comments. President Obama supports equal rights for everyone to get married and also supports a woman to be able to decide what to do with her own body. We may not agree with what people do, as Muslims or Christians, but living in a free and democratic society, we cannot force people to have the same moral or religious teachings as we do. Also religious organizations are NOT required to give contraceptions or information about abortions -according to what Biden stated in the debates the other night.

      • Darren
      • rickthetwinkie

        As a wanderer among Patheos (an atheist who likes to gauge the opinions of the religious), I completely agree with this. Thanks for recognizing the need for church/state separation. :-)

        • irfanrydhan

          thanks for your comments Rick.

      • Nate Sauve

        Obviously you can’t force people to have the same beliefs.

        But we do make laws to force people to behave a certain way. No rape, murder or pedophilia for example. You also are required to pay taxes even if you don’t agree with it. Don’t these impotent arguments ever get tired?

      • Christopher Lake

        Has Islam ever, in its history, supported marriage between two members of the same sex?

        About abortion being a matter of what a woman decides to do with her body, it is a scientific fact that at the moment of conception, a new DNA is formed, a DNA that is distinct from the mother or the father. A new DNA connotes a new life.

        When a new life is temporarily residing within the body of another person, how is abortion simply a matter of what that person chooses to do with her body? Should the new life not have a chance to *continue* to live, and to be born into this world? Why should one’s humanity depend upon one’s temporary location (within the mother)?

        • irfanrydhan

          Hi Christopher
          Although I as a Muslim may not agree with same-sex marriage or abortion, as an American citizen, I cannot force my religious beliefs on others. We live in a free society which has a separation of church and state. People should have the freedom to do what they want to do and if you want to change their mind, you should do so by giving a good example with your words and actions – not by making laws which force people to do something which they do not want to do.
          peace
          Irfan

    • Chris

      Basically, you are saying religious moral beliefs are superior in politics than non-religious moral beliefs (as the author has pointed out, there are moral issues involved including freedom of conscience, freedom to decide over one’s body and sexuality, equal treatment in a civil institution for all citizens), else you would not enumerate these political convictions Pres. Obama has consistently upheld and defended throughout his political engagement in a seemingly negative manner, without explicitly saying why these political convictions are supposedly “wrong” or “illlegitimate”.

      Not to enter into further-going debate with you – I doubt we will be able to reach agreement – but are you aware if you consider secular moral convictions as illegitimate per se, secular moralists could do the same to religious moral convictions, that is consider them illegitimate in politics per se? Or is it that you do not believe in “do not do upon others..”?

      • irfanrydhan

        Hi Chris
        No, I do not consider secular “morals” as illegitimate. I wrote this article mainly for an audience of religiously minded American Muslims, thus, I do not go into the typical secular issues of abortion rights or gay marriage. But as an American citizen, I do believe that people should have these rights (even if I may be religiously against them personally). We live in a free society and that comes with certain individual and secular moral convictions as you say.
        Peace
        Irfan

    • Fatima

      I don’t know how abortion becomes a secular issue? For me, a Muslim women, I can not vote for a person who thinks it’s o.k. to kill a baby who is born alive from a unsuccessful abortion.

  • http://mwa-online.blogspot.com Aishah Schwartz

    Sharing!

    • irfanrydhan

      thanks Aishah!

  • Vision_From_Afar

    I must respectfully disagree that a third party vote is wasted. In my state, the tide of voters for the last decade has unerringly fed the electoral votes to the red column. When a third party candidate can show a better fiscal policy than Romney and a more accepting platform than even Obama feels comfortable with, he has my vote. All it takes is 5% of the popular vote to get the ball rolling for the next election. Both parties have become stagnant, and the only wasted vote is the one you regret making.

    • irfanrydhan

      thanks for your comments. I dont see any 3rd party candidate who is better than Obama at this point, but if you do, then go ahead and vote for them. What about congressmen and senators in your state?

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  • jacob

    Obama is the worst president ever by far he has spent more money than all other presidents combined, and the economy in worse shape than when he took office. he is not a Christian by the way the ring he has worn on his finger for the past 30 years says there is no god but Allah. He has openly mocked Christians your stupid as shit if you think he is a Christian.

    • irfanrydhan

      Hi Jacob
      You are mistaken. Obama is a Christian. Please show me a picture of the ring that you are claiming he wore when he took office.

  • Norodin Lucman

    One of the pillars of Islam in nation-building is choosing a good, wise leader. Islam is democracy built on consensus, known as majlis shura.

  • markp18

    I don’t understand why any thinking person would say that they approved of the job that Obama has done over the past 3 1/2 years. He continues to whine about the former administration but under his administration the unemployment rate is at least 7.8% and the national debt has increased by $5 trillion to over $16 trillion (this is in comparison to the $6 trillion over 8 years by Bush). He is the most inept president since Jimmy Carter. The misery index (remember that, where you add unemployment to inflation rates ) was 12.11 in 2011 which is higher than it has been in 28 years. That was under Reagan where it was 12.82 after 3 years of bringing down the abysmal rating that Carter had of 20.76. The point is that Obama has only increased the misery index whereas Reagan brought it down from the previous administration. Obama should have bowed out of the election and let another Democrat run.

  • http://www.nakedislam.com aLi Achbar

    Obama is a failure. His policies have failed. He is a bastard. You will die and burn in hell. Islam is the devils religion, Mohammad was a homosexual pedofile. Please leave America. We are a Christian nation. We don’t want radical Islam here. Burn Baby Burn!

    • irfanrydhan

      Hi Ali
      You must not be very familiar with the founding fathers of America. They were not practicing Christians and were also secularists. This is not a Christian nation. This is a multi-faith nation which is open to everyone. I was born here, so there is no where else for me to go. You are free to leave if you want.
      Peace
      Irfan

    • Fahim Israque Ahmed

      America is not a christian state. State language and holidays assigned are based on christianity as state administrative majorities are christian! But hold! America is da land of red-indians and their religion was not christianity! It was your ancestors who enforced christianity to them, grabbed their land and now u r calling Islam radical. Many of them r still deprived of their homeland but they wont catch da attention of media as da purpose of media at present is to spray black paint on da third-eye Muslims ruled south asia but they did not enforce Islamic law in South Asia (majority of south asian are hindu). In da end, this is not a christian-muslim argument; I don’t wanna put loggerhead betn da too but da disparaging comment u posted called for clarification and dat was wat da purpose of my comment. America is welfare state and i dont want to enforce our faith to all. Just allow muslims to practice Islam while u practice christianity but u can’t enforce christianity to all nor shud muslims

  • Mukhtar

    From all respectives, it shows that you’re campaigning for Barrack Obama, but you forgot to mention any good he did to American Muslims, you also forgot to mention the problems he initiated in the Islamic countries. Take care please.

    • irfanrydhan

      Salaams Mukhtar
      Go back and read my article. I list many things that President Obama did to help American Muslims – remember that we as Americans, should not only care about foreign policy issues, because if you only have one issue that you care about, than there is no candidate which will meet your needs. But if you want to work to change this and try to get some influence on policy matters of the US, then we need to get involved with the process and not just sit and complain on the sidelines!
      peace
      Irfan

  • Selah

    infan
    I respect your right to vote for Mr. Obama but I am not going along with you. In my opinion, Pres. Obama is a ” boy ” doing a man’s job.I will do what I can , and that’s cast my vote for Mitt because 4 more years of Pres.Obama would be disastrous for this country.
    I do believe that Jerusalem is the capital as Mitt states because the Bible , written by the only true God,, the God of Abraham , Isaac and Jacob says it is.
    At age 26 , I just got married and was working a part-time job along with my regular teaching job and paid for my own med. insurance not looking for a handout like many are today: how about ” Enabler in- chief ” and Obama phones handed out to the minority so called poor of this country. The Bible says ” if you don’t work , you don’t eat “.Get off your a?? and get a job. I’m tired of giving some of my hard earned $$ to support lazy people
    ( of different color ) who don’t look for work. Oh , i forgot , there are no jobs and this present administration themselves have no experience in the private sector ( 8 % ) being led by a ” community organizer ) ** ACORN or did they change their name but still do the same garbage !!
    BHO’s foreign policy is to be nice and hope that ” terrorist ” minded countries will just like us.Right Mr. President ! Can you say Hassan and ALLAH AKBAR ? as bullets fly around and kill , or can you say Bhengazi ! Down right nice people ! Oh , how about the Iranian nut job who would like spill the blood of every Jew !!
    Do you like your Tax $$$ to support killing babies Irfan ? Well , the POTUS does ! oh , i forgot he claims to be CHRISTIAN !! I believe that God’s word says ” you will know them by
    their FRUIT ! ” God will ultimately judge whether He is a true follower of His son Jesus, and unlike Mr. Bush, who without pause stated that Jesus Christ is his favorite guy and tried his best to follow biblical statutes in governing , it seems that BHO likes to hang with the 1 % ‘ers; and he will say and do whatever to get re-lected. Thanks for hearing me out !

    • irfanrydhan

      Hi Selah
      Thanks for your comments. Your comment about “I’m tired of giving some of my hard earned $$ to support lazy people
      ( of different color ) who don’t look for work” – shows that you are not only racist, but not very Christian. Do you know that Jesus (Peace be Upon Him) was a person of Color? Do you know that Jesus (PBUH) did not speak english, he also helped the poor (he didnt care if they were different color or “lazy” as you described). Jesus (PBUH) also was Middle Eastern and He healed people (free healthcare). So I think you need to go back and look at the life of Jesus (PBUH) again, and then think about what you just said. Would Jesus help people in need or would he call them lazy and say they are a different color than him? I don’t think he would, and if you are really Christian, then you would see that too.
      Peace
      Irfan

      • missermel

        As a Christian woman, I am amazed at your grace and forbearance, Irfan. And I concur with your post answering a skewed version of Christianity. The Jesus in my bible loves children, has mercy, has stern words for those who do not care for their poor. He also lost his temper with people who act religious but have only hate in their hearts. I am voting for President Obama to have a second term and I am glad you are too. Blessings, Melissa

        • irfanrydhan

          thanks for your comments Melissa! God Bless you. Peace.
          Irfan

  • http://timeandspace.us Mike Smith

    “Romney’s foreign policy team is made up of Islamophobes, Pro-Military Extremists and War Hawks who are just waiting to attack Iran…” First, please back this statement up? Who are these phobes, extremists and hawks? And second, please explain why it’s OK for Iran to pursue nuclear weapons and openly threaten its neighbors but not for the USA to push back against that threat? Barack “I Love Drone Attacks, I Killed UBL” Obama hasn’t exactly been running around giving out olive branches but HAS been very divisive here at home (not to mention running up $6T in debt, a critical national security issue) and as stated the other night he’s done nothing to stop Iran except ask… I just don’t feel you’ve made valid arguments, just extensive proclomations. Respectfully, Mike @timeandspaceus

  • noor

    #6 does it for me….
    i want to vote AGAINST the guy who said “jerusalem is the capitol of isreal”.
    jerusalem is the capitol of palestine….washington dc is the capitol of isreal.
    FREE PALESTINE

  • Hadeedi

    Well balanced article and wise answers, good job Irfan.
    It is true that Obama disaaponted the Muslims in general but when you compar with others, for the time being he is the best person to vote for. My request to American Muslims is that please be active in politics while retainig your identity – that is the only way forward if you want to see America do justice to Muslims any time in the future

    • irfanrydhan

      thanks for your comments Hadeedi!

  • Brian

    Thanks Ifran,

    I think your statement, “we cannot force people to have the same morality as we do” is what is a very prevalent and scary thought held by many americans. Why is this said so flippantly? Of course we force morality, it’s called law. And what Biden said in the debate was ridiculous – “I totally believe this, but my religion is separate”. Beliefs can and often do cross over into politics, as they should. If politicians were only supposed to reflect majority thought, then we should just put computers in charge.

    Also, religious organizations (and companies) are not forced to GIVE contraceptives (like the after morning pill), but cannot deny individuals the funding from a health care plan they will buy into. It’s as ridiculous as saying, “well, I believe abortion is terribly wrong, but because you’re part of this institution we will still give you the money explicity for it”.

    In regards to healthcare, have you talked to anyone who has read over the whole bill? I know, it’s 1000-2000 pages, and this is where people say, “well who’s going to do that?!”. Some people have. Find them, ask their opinion over a meal. Or read it yourself. Don’t just google it. Doctors and Health Administrators know what will happen if it stays in effect.

    Peace….

    -Brian

    • irfanrydhan

      Hi Brian

      I assume you are Christian. Do you believe that as a “Christian” that government should provide free healthcare for its citizens – especially those who are poor and less fortunate? The reason I’m asking is because personally I do believe it is the right thing to do, but unfortunately most so-called “christian” republicans do not believe in this, even though it is a teaching and practice of Jesus Christ (Peace Be Upon Him) to help the poor and needy (He healed the sick remember)!

      Read the Bible and see what it says about helping the poor, needy and sick and then tell me if our government is doing the right thing in trying to help out those who are in need and don’t have any health insurance.

      Peace

      Irfan

  • MQ

    Why American Muslims should work hard to reelect President Obama
    Munir Quddus
    munirtasmina@sbcglobal.net
    A recent article in a Catholic outlet states, “Ultimately, the 2012 election could be decided by the Muslim vote after all. With both candidates holding razor thin margins over one another in different swing states, it becomes increasingly apparent the next election could be decided by a handful of votes in one or two states.”
    This sentiment underscores how important this election is, and how important minorities can be to make an impact on the outcome. The stakes are simply enormous – the leadership of the free world over the next four years.
    The President has done a great deal to lower the tempo of war in the world. Under Mr. Bush, because of statements and actions by the US administration, Muslims across the world were convinced that the United States, in the name of war on terrorism, had in fact declared a war on Islam. President Obama on his first day gave an interview on Al Jazeera, speaking directly to the Arabs and the larger Muslim world to firmly dispel this notion, build trust, and reboot relations severely strained under the eight years of Bush administration between the two people. As the first African American President with an Arab middle name, he was an enormous inspiration to millions in the Islamic world, and this may have played a major role in the Arab Spring that broke out two years later.
    The President has by and large kept his promises that the American Muslims deeply care about–stopped torture, tried very hard to close Guantanamo Bay prison, and prevail on Israel to stop the excesses of occupation, and go after Al Qaeda which was giving a bad name to Islam. Many fault him for not doing more to close the infamous prison – but the record shows that he did all he could. The American democracy does not give a President unmatched power. When his Attorney General tried to bring some of the inmates to New York for trail in civilian courts, he was stopped by the politicians.
    The President extended a hand of friendship to the Muslim world as he promised, clearly making a distinction between violent extremists and the large Muslim community. It was extraordinary to see a newly elected President take enormous risk in speaking to University students in Cairo and to the Turkish parliament, among others. His speech in Cairo was unprecedented and brilliant where, deftly using quotes from the Quran, he traced the commonalities that bind different cultures and faith traditions. It was enough to justify the Nobel Prize in peace that he received! He did not mince words when he spoke of the curse of anti-Semitism that has befallen many parts of the Islamic world that once welcomed the Jewish people as equals and fellow travelers.
    Mr. Obama and his administration has been a bulwark against belligerent Neo-con foreign policies that would have surely led to another war – this time with Iran. In recent years the Republican foreign policy has been one associated with chest thumping, either-you-are-with-us-or-against-us, and mission accomplished. Mr. Obama’s nuanced approach was a sea change. He called the Bush era policies reckless and abandoned them. He decided to use not just military power, but all the other considerable powers in the hands of a super power – the soft powers of persuasion and economic pressure. When he was elected, the tempo of war had accelerated. As if not satisfied with open and unending wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the Neo Cons with VP Dick Cheney were in full upswing to declare a war on Iran. It was just a matter of time. With his election, fortunately this stopped. The game changer was the release of the intelligence report that the intelligence community believes that Iran has moved away from building a nuclear weapon.
    The President has angered Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu and his allies because he has tried to be an honest broker. This is not easy given the powerful Jewish lobby whose influence cuts across party lines in both houses of the Congress. It takes enormous courage to stand up to the Israeli Prime Minister, and especially someone like Mr. Netanyahu who is well versed with American politics and is used to getting his way with the American politicians. Fortunately, as many Jewish Americans understand, the United States President has to be even handed to be able to be a mediator one day when peace will finally arrive. The United States is a strong friend of Israel, but that does not mean that the interests of the two nations always overlap. Fortunately, Secretary Clinton, who served as a Senator from New York, and Vice President Biden – both have over the years built strong connections with moderate Israeli leaders cultivated.
    Through the annual Iftar party in White House and other events, he has conveyed a sense of profound respect and sensitivity for Islam and Muslims as a part of the national fabric. He has mentioned Muslims along with Christian and Jews in his state of the union addresses. Besides, unlike Newt Gingrich, he never said that “Palestinians were invented people” or what Michelle Bachman said that supporters of the Sharia law have taken over the administration. He offered a strong defense for Huma Abedin senior aide to Secretary Clinton, who came under attack by Ms. Bachman and her friends in Congress. During the Iftar dinner he hailed Abedin as “an American Patriot” and someone who has “worked tirelessly in the White House, in the U.S. Senate, and most exhaustingly at the State Department — where she has been nothing less than extraordinary in representing our country and the democratic values that we hold dear.”
    Ninety percent of his actions have been on the side of people and democracy. Under a Republican President, Mr. Mubarak may still have been in power in Egypt, and the Arab Spring denied its biggest prize – democracy in Egypt. A free Libya exists today largely due to the sacrifices made the by Libyans themselves, but also due to the American leadership and resources in support of liberty and freedom. No troops were committed. All the goals were achieved. Note the Russians and Chinese did not lift a finger to help the Libyans! America and President Obama deserve more credit than they have received.
    Last but not the least, he chose his main opponent, Hillary Clinton as the Secretary of State; she has been a strong voice in support of women, children and democracy throughout the world. A brilliant Secretary of State, she will be remembered, despite the tragedy in Libya, as someone who worked closely with the President for an enormously impactful foreign policy.
    This is no time to sit on the fence. There is no denying that the Democrats have been much more friendly and welcoming to the aspirations of the immigrants and the Muslim Americans – just compare the pictures of the two recent conventions. The pictures from the Democratic convention with nearly 100 Muslim delegates contrasts sharply with Republican convention, and attempts by Republicans in Florida and in other states to discourage Muslim delegates simply because of their faith. Under the influence of Tea Party and other Islamophobes too many Republicans including those interested in the Presidency have pandered to the base lumping all Muslims as extremists, and showing a willingness to deny them civil rights and protections guaranteed by the constitution. This cannot be accepted. American Muslims have to become politically engaged to resist these un-American ideas.
    For these and many other reasons, President Obama deserves a second term in the White House. American Muslims must support him and Democrats in this election. So with just a few days from November 6, and early voting already underway, what can American Muslims do to ensure an Obama victory? A great can be done, in my view. The leadership of the community should boldly state the notable achievements of this administration, and the stark differences in the positions of the two candidates and their parties on the rights of American Muslims. Every citizen can decide to spend an hour each day for the next ten days working for the campaign to reelect President Obama. You can call friends, especially in battle ground states (why not share this write-up?), make contributions, join the campaign to make door to door calls, or phone calls from the security and comfort of your home, and importantly, no matter where you live, vote! Just make sure you and your family members and friends vote!

  • Mohamed M.

    Was so tired of hearing my fellow Muslims saying “I’m not going to vote because they both are going to continue killing innocent Muslims around the world.” When will our people realize that the right to vote opens a door of opportunity for us. An opportunity to become an essential part of the American society. So that we can contribute to the end of things such as “drones”. But instead we mope and decide to be irrational. Wish I found this article before the election; will be sharing it. Very informative and makes me feel a little less like an outsider. Thank you.

  • yeldan

    Just as, contrary to other living beings, man has relations with his home, so he has relations with the world, and just as he has relations with his relatives, so by nature he has earnest relations with mankind. And just as he desires temporary permanence in this world, so he passionately desires immortality in the realm of eternity. And just as he strives to meet the need of his stomach for food, so he is by nature compelled io strive to provide for the stomachs of his mind, heart, spirit, and humanity. He has such hopes and desires that nothing apart from eternal happiness can satisfy them. I asked my imagination: “Do you want to live for a million years and rule the world but then cease to exist, or to live for ever but have an ordinary and difficult existence?” I saw that my imagination wanted the latter, feeling pain at the first, and said: “I want to live for ever, even if in Hell!”
    Thus, since the pleasures of this world do not satisfy the imaginative faculty, which is a servant of human nature, man’s comprehensive nature is certainly attached to eternity. For man, therefore, who despite being afflicted with these boundless hopes and desires as capital has only an insignificant faculty of will and absolute poverty, belief in the hereafter is a treasury of such strength and sufficiency; İs such a means of pleasure and happiness, source of help, refuge, and means of consolation in the face of the endless sorrows of this world, and is such a fruit and benefit that if the life of this world were to be sacrificed on the way of gaining it, it would still be cheap.
    From Staff of Moses, Risalei Nur collection by Said Nursi.

    http://www.nur.gen.tr/en.html#leftmenu=Risale&maincontent=Risale&islem=read&KitapId=398&BolumId=8216&KitapAd=The+Staff+of+Moses&Page=-1

  • kalimsaki

    Here is good news for you!

    Death is not destruction, or nothingness, or annihilation; it is not cessation or extinction; it is not eternal separation, or non- existence, or a chance event; it is not authorless obliteration. Rather, it is to be discharged by the Author who is All-Wise and All-Compassionate; it is a change of abode. It is to be despatched to eternal bliss, to your true home. It is the door of union to the Intermediate Realm, which is where you will meet with ninety-nine per cent of your friends.

    From Risalei Nur collection by Said Nursi.
    http://www.nur.gen.tr/en.html#leftmenu=Risale&maincontent=Risale&islem=read&KitapId=499&BolumId=8783&KitapAd=Letters+(+revised+)&Page=265

  • Fatima

    For me a Muslim woman, I can not vote for a person who thinks it is o.k. to kill a child who was born through a botched abortion.


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