Powell on Muslims in America

So, Colin Powell seems to have excited a section of the Muslim blogosphere with his comments:

“Well, the correct answer is, he is not a Muslim, he’s a Christian. He’s always been a Christian. But the really right answer is, what if he is?”

I’m also troubled by, not what Senator McCain says, but what members of the party say. And it is permitted to be said such things as, “Well, you know that Mr. Obama is a Muslim.” Well, the correct answer is, he is not a Muslim, he’s a Christian. He’s always been a Christian. But the really right answer is, what if he is? Is there something wrong with being a Muslim in this country? The answer’s no, that’s not America. Is there something wrong with some seven-year-old Muslim-American kid believing that he or she could be president? Yet, I have heard senior members of my own party drop the suggestion, “He’s a Muslim and he might be associated terrorists.” This is not the way we should be doing it in America.

Cookie Monster, currently blogless, has the following to say:

I believe what he said can actually – over time – marginalize anti-Muslim sentiment and make it very hard for people like Ann Coulter and Daniel Pipes to spread their ideas. These statements can cut into the base of anti-Muslim sentiment by challenging the assumptions of Muslim-basher sympathetics and winning them over to a more accepting worldview. But this can only happen if establishment politicians, people with a similar place in society like Powell, unequivocally echo his statement, and it would really help if non-liberals were at the forefront. Lay liberals are more tolerant than their lay Republican counterparts, and it is the latter who make up the majority of Muslim bashers. If Republicans, or individuals with deep ties to the Republican base can echo Powell, then- over time, again- we may see anti-Muslim rhetoric pushed further away from the mainstream in much the same way we’ve seen racist sentiment fade over time.

I don’t believe anti-Muslim sentiment will ever die out, but I do believe it can be marginalized. The more mainstream figures like Powell make these statements, the more tougher the job of the typical, loser Muslim-basher gets.

Of course we don’t depend on Powell or anyone for that matter to give us honor or anything like that, I don’t think anyone would say that. What Powell and others would do ‘mainstream’ our existence here as practicing Muslims and debilitate the ability of the Muslim-bashers to undermine our da’wah and impugn our very presence here in America.

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