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Finally some rep! CNN’s Campbell Brown asks “who cares if Obama’s a Muslim/Arab?”

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By now you’ve probably seen the video of Gayle Quinnell, the (in)famous John McCain supporter who at a campaign rally in Minnesota who called Barack Obama an Arab, citing that as reason to not trust him. Well, it goes on further. A correspondent from the theuptake.org who interviewed Quinnell right after the rally said the following in this YouTube video.

Quinnell cited that she obtained the “information” on Obama being an Arab at “her local library” and from a pamphlet obtained at a local McCain campaign office (provided by a fellow volunteer not the campaign itself). She has taken it upon herself to redistribute the information as widely as possible by making copies of the pamphlet and sending it to random names in the phone book.

What’s sad here is not just that racism and hatred towards Muslims backed by political powers is being openly spread in this country, but also the widespread ignorance of our people. When I saw this, the first thing I felt was embarrassment, thinking, “man, are our citizens lost! I think I feel embarrassed to be an American!”

Alhumdulillah, this story actually got some pretty good coverage in the media as of late. The other day I saw a democratic political analyst on CNN reprimanding McCain and Palin for not taking measures to stop this type of mentality which exists amongst their reporters in the first place, which was a refreshing change to see on the air.

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But what really takes the cake is some commentary by Campbell Brown of CNN from her “Cutting Through The Bull” on the issue. She says McCain was right in setting the record straight about Obama, but goes on to speak out against the ignorance and racism of people like Quinnell, right on national television! Here’s the commentary in both written and audio form (jazaAllah khair to MM staffer Ahmad AlFarsi for the find).

gayle_quinnell_mccain.jpg
[audio:http://muslimmatters.org/audio/campbell_brown_so_what_if_obamas_an_arab_or_muslim.mp3]

NEW YORK (CNN) — You may find it hard to believe that this remains an issue in this campaign, but it does.The candidates, both candidates, are still getting questions about Barack Obama’s ethnicity and religion.

If you are even semi-informed, then by now you already know that of course, Barack Obama is an American. Of course, Barack Obama is a Christian.

Yet just a few days ago, there was a woman at a rally for John McCain incorrectly calling Obama an Arab:

Woman at rally: I don’t trust Obama. I have read about him and he’s an Arab.Sen. John McCain: 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.

Now, I commend Sen. McCain for correcting that woman, for setting the record straight. But I do have one question — so what if he was?

So what if Obama was Arab or Muslim? So what if John McCain was Arab or Muslim? Would it matter?

When did that become a disqualifier for higher office in our country? When did Arab and Muslim become dirty words? The equivalent of dishonorable or radical?

Whenever this gets raised, the implication is that there is something wrong with being an Arab-American or a Muslim. And the media is complicit here, too.

We’ve all been too quick to accept the idea that calling someone Muslim is a slur.

I feel like I am stating the obvious here, but apparently it needs to be said: There is a difference between radical Muslims who support jihad against America and Muslims who want to practice their religion freely and have normal lives like anyone else.

There are more than 1.2 million Arab-Americans and about 7 million Muslim-Americans, former Cabinet secretaries, members of Congress, successful business people, normal average Americans from all walks of life.

These are the people being maligned here, and we can only imagine how this conversation plays in the Muslim world. We can’t tolerate this ignorance — not in the media, not on the campaign trail.

Of course, he’s not an Arab. Of course, he’s not a Muslim. But honestly, it shouldn’t matter.

This bit reminds one of the civil rights movement of the 60s, where slowly but surely, the media began to cover the isolated incidents of oppression towards African Americans in the news. Sure, it was because African Americans began their own networks which reported the incidents, thereby forcing major media networks to cover them as well, but the point is, the coverage eventually made its way over.

I hope more voices like these are heard on the airwaves, with the intent to clearly expose falsehood from truth. Not just domestically for us Muslims, but inshaAllah one day on a foreign level, as well.

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SaqibSaab is an average Desi Muslim guy living in Chicago. He enjoys videography and design as side hobbies, and helps out with AlMaghrib Institute in Chicago, Wasat Studios, and other projects here and there. His go-around vehicle is a 2007 Volkswagen Jetta 5-speed Wolfburg Edition. Originally born in Michigan, he and his wife reside in Chicagoland with his parents who come from Bangalore, India. He blogs personally at SaqibSaab.com.

20 Comments

20 Comments

  1. Asim

    October 14, 2008 at 1:33 PM

  2. AbuAbdAllah, the Houstonian

    October 14, 2008 at 2:20 PM

    bismillah. we’re at the point of celebrating when people do what they should have always been expected to do. Chris Rock once did a whole routine on that point, and (happily) i can only paraphrase it: “you want a reward for feeding your kids? for not cheating on your wife? for not running out on your family? those are all things a man is supposed to do.”

    similarly, a reporter points out that the Muslims and Arabs are not by innate nature evil or malignant? how messed up is the status quo among journalists that one reporter speaking common sense is a cause for joy?

    well, it is a great thing — but precisely so because the vast majority of the media are so derelict when it comes to responsible reporting and commentary.

  3. A Nightingale

    October 14, 2008 at 3:13 PM

    I remember watching the clips of that interaction btwn McCain and Quinnell. Sure, McCain “defended” Obama after her “slurs” at him. But how did he go about defending him? He didn’t refute her by saying, “No, he isn’t Arab or Muslim, get your facts straight.” He instead reassured her that he was decent and a family man, therefore he couldn’t possibly be Arab or Muslim. I thought that was whack.

    I’m glad someone is speaking out against the stupidity that is running rampant on the campaign trail, it’s a definite improvement. But I also can’t help but point out… we’re only just receiving “standard” treatment.

  4. mulsimah

    October 14, 2008 at 3:13 PM

    Im glad campbell from CNN spoke up

    well who is the man who started the false rumor that Obama is Muslim. Looks like hes also anti-Jew

    Read more:
    http://www.thenation.com/blogs/campaignmatters/369472

  5. ConcernedSister

    October 14, 2008 at 4:17 PM

    “Sen. John McCain: 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.”

    Does that mean Arabs are not decent family men? Not citizens?

  6. SaqibSaab

    October 14, 2008 at 5:06 PM

    Does that mean Arabs are not decent family men? Not citizens?

    @ConcernedSister
    Pretty much what it looks like what’s being suggested.

  7. Anonymous

    October 14, 2008 at 7:06 PM

    More and more I see evidence that the puppet masters want to ditch McCain. Probably they got him into the game because he was a bad opponent from the beginning. They want Obama to win.

    As Rosenthal, a prominent Jew says: “Every American president since 1932 was our boy.” and “We own both sides of the argument.”

    And dear sister Muslimah, what do you know of being anti-Jew?? First of all the words anti-Jew and anti-Semite are one of the many types of Zionist garbage that Jews use to condemn people who criticize their horrible crimes..

    The Jews themselves boast about how they are the parasites who feed on the wealth of the nations of the world, and an innocent Muslim like you protects them. Read here: http://www.erichufschmid.net/TFC/Harold_Rosenthal.html

    And about how Israel is controlling the elections: http://www.erichufschmid.net/TFC/Bollyn-Voting-2.html

    One of their best weapons is making you think it is clever and intelligent to laugh at ‘conspiracy theories’ while they fool you in every possible way.

    Do you know that it is illegal in Europe to investigate holocaust? Any human with a half working brain will realize that something is deeply wrong with the holoHOAX otherwise they’d want the whole world investigating the Nazi crimes. The real holocaust (which means death by fire) happened in Dresden when America and Britain bombed a city almost empty of Nazi military, killing 600,000 innocent people (infants would crumble to ash when touched, because of the unbelievably high temperatures in the whole city created by the bombings, and the pictures of these innocent people are used as holocaust pictures, does it get any more outrageous???). And the real death camps actually were Eisenhower’s death camps, who killed nearly 1,000,000 German soldiers after WWII by releasing them into barren land locked from all sides.

    Are those news to you? Please don’t be a useful idiot to the Jews by blindly supporting them. Have a look at erichufschmid.net (apparently the only investigator that Israel and its Zionist gangs haven’t been able to buy or blackmail)

    At first, we moderated this comment, and we planned to delete it.

    On second thought, I thought it would be a good idea to release the comment to set it as an example of how hypocritical it is to stereotype. If we Muslims decry stereotyping and hate to be labeled with pejorative terms, we have to then maintain the same standard with respect to other groups and communities. Just because one or more Jews said something about their nation, does not imply that it is the standard we judge their entire nation with. This is no different from someone picking up descriptive statements (about Muslims) from Bin Laden or on the opposite side, Tarek Fatah, and then apply this to all the Muslims, claiming, “well, Muslims say that about themselves”.

    MM will not accept or allow such rhetoric, whether it be about Muslims or about others, whether it be of the conspiratorial nature or of the accusative nature, that is not backed with facts. If you want to talk about certain issues, about certain elements of the groups, like about their radical elements, or about their right-wing elements, or their neocon elements, that is one thing. But to paint the entire nation with a wide brush is something we don’t tolerate for ourselves, and we shouldn’t tolerate for others. -Amad for MM

  8. ibn alHyderabadee

    October 14, 2008 at 10:03 PM

    i think John McCain got some major cajones when he said what he said, it took a lot to shun a supporter….

    i saw this video last night when it aired first…i was like: she gave it…..

    I’m thinking about printing a “Gayle Quinnel: You got told..” shirt….jk
    May Allah guide her

  9. Ibrahim ibn Imran

    October 14, 2008 at 10:05 PM

    Interesting how Campbell Brown finally pointed out what the Obama campaign itself is still hesitant to say. (at least, to my knowledge)

  10. usman

    October 15, 2008 at 12:23 PM

    Salaam, finanly somone from the national media said something…republican supporters r so ignorent its not even funny anymore

  11. Hassan

    October 15, 2008 at 6:32 PM

    Ok must see this, makes fun whether arabs can be decent people

    http://www.thedailyshow.com/video/index.jhtml?videoId=188474&title=an

  12. ibnabeeomar

    October 15, 2008 at 6:43 PM

    that video was priceless

  13. AsimG

    October 15, 2008 at 8:05 PM

    The dailyshow did a funny segment about this too with Muslim comedian Asif Mandvi.

    But yah, I’m getting tired of Arab=Muslim=terrorist

  14. AbuZakariyya

    October 16, 2008 at 10:32 AM

    muslimah, he might have been anti-semitic in the 80s but all these bigots have changed their views now due to the rise of the evangelists and are completely pro-israel now. Both the jews and the christian zionists are using each other.

  15. Amad

    October 17, 2008 at 3:17 PM

    With regards to the just-released-from-moderation comment by “Anonymous” above (interesting how the haters tend to be most secretive about their identities), a few thoughts and important points:

    At first, we moderated this comment, and we planned to delete it.

    On second thought, I thought it would be a good idea to release the comment to set it as an example of how hypocritical it is to stereotype. If we Muslims decry stereotyping and hate to be labeled with pejorative terms, we have to then maintain the same standard with respect to other groups and communities. Just because one or more Jews said something about their nation, does not imply that it is the standard we judge their entire nation with. This is no different from someone picking up descriptive statements (about Muslims) from Bin Laden or on the opposite side, Tarek Fatah, and then apply this to all the Muslims, claiming, “well, Muslims say that about themselves”.

    MM will not accept or allow such rhetoric, whether it be about Muslims or about others, whether it be of the conspiratorial nature or of the accusative nature, that is not backed with facts. If you want to talk about certain issues, about certain elements of the groups, like about their radical elements, or about their right-wing elements, or their neocon elements, that is one thing. But to paint the entire nation with a wide brush is something we don’t tolerate for ourselves, and we shouldn’t tolerate for others.

  16. Pingback: Jon Stewart: An Arab Family Man…. « IBN AL HYDERABADEE

  17. mulsimah

    October 19, 2008 at 1:04 PM

    dude why are u all hating on me. I just said ‘it looks like hes anti jew’ and thats exactly what it looks like. this man who started these rumors about obama also does not like jews. why are you alll so offended with that? you cant accept the fact that a person who might hate muslims also might hate jews? thats aboslutely crazy and being very close minded. i know you are upset but what I said about this man has really nothing to do with all the stuff you are saying. we really need to get rid of this anger and it shows that even in our community there is still hate. you cannot talk bout one thing without someone bring antoerh. eveyrone is not the same. plz let go of the hate. we are all people of the same God .

  18. mulsimah

    October 19, 2008 at 1:09 PM

    salaam

    Anyway Collin Powell who has also just endorsed Obama said the same thing about Muslims as Campbell. Alhumdulilah for that. we need people this big to open up and say that being Muslim is not a bad thing.

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/27265369 a quote from the article

    “Stressing that Obama was a lifelong Christian, Powell denounced Republican tactics that he said were insulting not only to to Obama but also to Muslims.

    “The really right answer is what if he is?” Powell said, praising the contributions of millions of Muslim citizens to American society. ”

    and in the video he talks about a Muslim who was born here and went to go serve the country in Iraq and died (he was trying to say that we are americans too) http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/21134540/vp/27265490#27265490

  19. AsimG

    October 19, 2008 at 1:19 PM

    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.

  20. Pingback: Colin Powell: “…what if he is [a Muslim]?” | MuslimMatters.org

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