After following this election for almost a year and a half now, a few things seem to bother me enough that after being away from writing, I feel more then ever to start writing again; starting with the forgotten perspective, the Muslim Arab American perspective. So here I go, starting fresh by writing this piece…
As much as this election has excited me, it has really irritated me. Why?
I’m a Muslim Arab American lady, born and raised in San Francisco to immigrant parents who came to live the American Dream (or may I say everyone’s dream for that matter). Now if I decide to run for public office to give back to this great nation, I’d get that questionable look. Ever since the launch of the presidential primaries, it seems that the first two of the four characteristics I’ve listed would make me a questionable candidate.
About a week ago, an angry lady at a McCain/Palin rally insisted that she read about Obama, on how she “doesn’t trust him” because “he’s an Arab.” How does McCain respond? He responds, and I quote, “No ma’am, no ma’am. He’s a decent family man, citizen that I just happen to have disagreements with on fundamental issues. That’s what this campaign is all about. He’s not, thank you.”
Oh McCain, I’m a decent citizen that also disagrees with you on many fundamental issues. Add to that Muslim and Arab, does that change my decent citizen factor?
Campbell Brown of CNN asked recently, “So what if Obama was Arab or Muslim? So what if John McCain was Arab or Muslim? Would it matter?”
No Brown, it wouldn’t matter. Yet to many McCain/Palin supporters it matters. Most of their supporters only support them due to Obama’s supposed race or religion. I mean how many times does the man have to state that he is neither Muslim nor Arab? How many times does he have to denounce the two as if they are unmentionable evils? How many times does he have to be offended of being called such words as if he was being called the “N” word? Will it soon be that Muslim will be the “M” word and Arab will be the “A” word?
The anger I’ve noticed coming out of this election is beyond belief that I have to keep checking the calendar to make sure we are in the 21st century! It has taken us as a nation way too long to get to where we are today. I think if anything, we are behind in our times to get to where we are today.
Just recently outside a McCain/Palin rally in Virginia, there was a group of individuals pushing a hateful agenda against Obama and “his Islamic ties.” I was glad to hear that not only several Muslim supporters of McCain/Palin, but non Muslim supporters stood up against this group until they walked off. Even a campaign director of the area that happened to be Muslim assured McCain/Palin supporters that that group was not with the campaign nor supported the campaign’s message.
As I applaud those who did not tolerate such angry ignorance, I still blame the leaders (which have been mainly GOP) that instilled this fear in such individuals to begin with! How much fear has to be instilled in us before we realize that a handful of “fundamentalists” don’t define what is Muslim or Arab? How much ignorance must we suffer before we decide to educate ourselves on what is Muslim, what is Arab?
If being Muslim and/or Arab is such an evil thing, then we are all basking in its evilness. Let me remind you oh great nation of just some of the major contributions that come from the unmentionable evils:
- Much of the math that we study in our courses today such as Algebra and Trigonometry was introduced by Arabs. Yes, that includes 0 (zero), Arabic numerals and the reformation of the calendar! With mathematics, comes the understanding of calculating of time, degrees, longitudes and latitudes… oh, Astronomy!
- Navigation and geography was just as important when Muslims developed them to better calculate and find the direction in which they are to pray in (ElQiblah as it is known). This includes the compass and the magnetic needle.
- A faith that brought upon literature, poetry, philosophy and music to name a few, brings upon the inspiring designs such as many of today’s architecture across the world, including the many holy sites all of us faithfuls respect and worship in today.
- Let me also add to this list much scientific studies and discoveries, medicines, alternative health treatments, engineering and craftsmanship.
To end my rant, I’d like to assure you all that you may say the words “Muslim” and “Arab.” I mean for crying out loud, Harry Potter mentions the unmentionable evil name of Lord Voldemort and he doesn’t get stuck by lighting! Ok he gets struck by a wand but he still lived!