Colin Powell: “…what if he is [a Muslim]?”

*Please digg this story, let these important words of Powell be heard far and wide. H/T to AsimG for emailing us this story*

After Campbell brought up this brave question on CNN, a question that all Muslims have been asking in America to themselves, to their friends, but not making a big deal of, because we want to think “yes, we understand the political situation about Muslims being potentially politically caustic, and yet hoping that others would ask for us.

And Campbell did, and now this brave man, probably one of the few respectable and upright individuals who served in the Bush Administration has spoke up for all Muslims. He did Campbell one better, by touching the souls and hearts of all fair-minded Americans.

“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?”

And so Powell made the right conscionable decision, the decision to go against his own party, and support the RIGHT candidate, not the politically expedient choice of supporting his party’s candidate. But he did not just make an endorsement, he explained his decision, in a way that every American can understand.

And not only did he explain his decision, this honorable man spoke for the millions of Muslims, troubled by the “Muslim smear”– the millions, a majority of whom will be voting for Obama not due to Obama’s faith but his policies, the millions who have been wondering, “what if he is [a Muslim]?”

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Thus, we cannot let this moment get away, we cannot let these profound statements of Colin Powell get washed away in the rhetoric, and the giddiness or despair surrounding it(depending on which side of the Presidential election one is). Because endorsement will hopefully help a few troubled hearts reconcile with Obama, but the endorsement of millions of Muslims by Powell helps millions of troubled hearts find a little peace, that there are men in this country who are willing to speak the truth. Upright men in this country, who stand up to their own parties or to their own affiliated groups, and stand up and say that “no sir, you cannot get away with this”. Stand up and say “what if he is [a Muslim]?”

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.

And then Powell doesn’t stop at this. He is not running for an election, he doesn’t have any ulterior motivations to talk about Muslims, he is free to speak his heart. And he talks about Muslims, who are not only Americans, but like McCain, served their nation. See for yourself:

Transcript: Link here

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76 / View Comments

76 responses to “Colin Powell: “…what if he is [a Muslim]?””

  1. aH says:

    Superb piece. Hopefully comments such as Brown’s and now Powell’s will resonate with Americans who have a misinformed view of Muslims in America.

    I would like to hope that this allows other influential people in the media and Political landscape to speak the truth and not be afraid of repercussions by the anti-Muslim extremists in this country.

  2. shirien says:

    I understand where you are coming from akhi, and I certainly am surprised not only by his endorsement but his going out of the way to make those statements.

    However, I still would not go so far as to say “(Powell) probably one of the few respectable and upright individuals who served in the Bush Administration has spoke up for all Muslims”

    Afterall, we cant forget the fact that it was HE who spoke and lied about WMDs as a mere tactic to try to get people to go into Iraq. In essence, a lot of the reason America is in Iraq is because of the statements of this man.

    Perhaps he’s changed, and perhaps he resigned due to those “mistakes” but I still wouldn’t go as far to say that he is an upright individual… not after all the blood shed of our brothers and sisters.

    Wallahu alem. Good post though, mashaAllah.

  3. Amad says:

    I really believe Shirien, that he tried hard to fight the neocons within the admin… but eventually groupthink and peer-pressure got the best of him. He should have resigned, I think, but sometimes it is very difficult to do the right thing. But he did not stay another term, and it was clear that he had great differences with the Bush Admin.

    Anyways, the anchor point for respectability in the Bush admin is very, very low… so it is all relative of course.

    Let’s keep the focus on his current statements though :)

  4. Hassan says:

    Actually when Colling Powel went to UN, he was under assumption that this thing is true, and he said to administration and intelligence, this thing better be true. But later when he found out he was made to lie, he felt quite ashamed of doing so in front of whole world. Hence he waited for term to finish and then resigned.

  5. bismillah. only Allah Knows what is in the hearts of men or women. so i do not speculate about what is in Colin Powell’s heart.

    what there is no doubt of, however, is that when he was the mouthpiece of Bush Administration foreign policy, he towed the line and is as responsible as anyone then at the White House for every American, Coalition, and Iraqi life lost needlessly in the war. subhanAllah.

    how should Muslim Americans treat him now? remember Colin Powell owes a huge debt to the people of Iraq, the vast majority of whom are Muslims. i think Muslims should be the most forgiving people on earth, because we know Allah better than any other nation, and we know that Allah is ar-Rahman and ar Raheem, the One Whose Mercy transcends every comparison, Who is Always Merciful. so seeking His Mercy, we should be Merciful. Since He is the Most Forbearing, we should strive for forbearance.

    Since He is the One Who Guides, we should take words of peace and reconciliation at face value in most cases.

    so i applaud what he has said about Obama in his endorsement speech. what he wrote about Muslim-Americans is not just truthful and honorable, but it highlights the nearsightedness of a domestic policy on justice that pushes for entrapment instead of engagement. for secret wiretaps instead of open dialogues. one can hope that he will help spread these views among policy makers. and one should rely only on Allah.

  6. AsimG says:

    Jazakullah khair for posting this.

    No doubt Colin Powell is responsible for the Iraq War.
    His extemporaneous speech at the UN was just amazing and convinced so many that Iraq indeed have WMD’s.

    BUT he was just a messenger of the Bush administration AND he has continually showed remorse and regret with the Iraq war.

    At the end of the day there is no non-Muslim that will be our spokesperson because they support some evil or another whether it’s interest, abortion or what have you.

    But we should praise them when they make such comments like this.

    We live in extraordinary times and for Colin Powell to make such comments on national tv makes him an extraordinary person.

  7. AnonyMouse says:

    Nothing a politician says can convince me 100% – not even 80%! Although it is nice to see such a statement coming from such a prominent political figure; and I hope that his words are able to have an actual affect on the media and the public (one that will have a positive effect for Muslims, insha’Allah), I am still not overly impressed.
    Words are all well and good especially when they’re on national TV, but actions speak louder than words… I’ll be far more convinced of good intentions and nobility and honour IF and WHEN Colin Powell and others take those words to another level, and are able to pursue action to make reparations to the damage done to Muslims and our public image.

  8. bintwadee3 says:

    I agree with Shirien about not going as far as labeling him an upright individual, and yet I see your point akhi. Lets just hope he has definitely changed (resulting in his resignations as brother Hassan suggested) and we should simply make Du’a that he is forgiven and may Allaah (subhaanahu wa ta3aala) guide him to His path. Ameen. Recall the story of the man who killed 100 men then became muslim and was forgiven for his past sins. It could happen, WAllaahu A3lam.

  9. AsimG says:

    Oh Muslims, let me be clear.

    I am not about to give my bay’ah to Colin Powell nor did I like everything he said (the Muslim soldier fighting In Muslim lands story was not good) but we live in a time where Daniel Pipes, Irshad Manji, Ayaan Arshi Ali and other fools dominate the media outlets.

    We HAVE to support and appreciate such meager comments like Colin Powells and other individuals who have at least fought bigotry within their own limitations.

    Insha’Allah this is just the turning point.

  10. Abu Umar says:

    Colin Powell is a murderer, a war criminal, and a modern day Eichmann and I find it deeply troubling that he is being described with adjectives like “respectable” and “upright”, but I’ll give him credit for the point he made. Anyways, Glenn Greenwald has a good piece on this topic that can be found here:

  11. Saad says:

    salaam aleikum,

    before anyone gets carried away about Mr. Powell, please not this statement here also stated TODAY:

    he is clearly unrepentant about this and was/is still roundly denounced (along with Condoleeza Rice) as Uncle Toms in the Black community for
    their roles in selling the war to the world public:

    Muslims should rather work to ensure better relations with the African American community than token members of it who are bought and paid for by the establishment.


  12. Dawud Israel says:

    Asim G:Doesn’t this remind you of those debates with chestyhairs on MM forums? :)
    (chestyhairs is an American Muslim serving in the US military and has gone abroad while doing so…most likely killing a few Muslims–his sole argument is a10 second conversation with Sh. Hamza Yusuf that could be interpreted both for AND against!

    Amad: This often happens that you have a politician become a saint after he retires…don’t be surprised by it, he is just jumping onto the bandwagon.

    I think most people will agree this is a bad idea, but how does that play into the story Powell just talked about? How would you deal with Muslims in America killing other Muslims? And how does this relate to the early days of Islam where Muslims killed Muslims for the sake of gaining power?

  13. AsimG says:

    Dawud Israel: Yes, he will probably like that latter half of Colin Powell’s statement.

    But I dismiss it cause he is trying to evoke patriotism and American pride in people so they understand Muslims ‘are just like us in everyway’.

    How is Colin Powel supposed to know Muslims are not supposed to kill Muslims regardless of nationality?

    He is doing what he thinks is best and right and at least the first half of his Muslim comments were inspiring.

  14. Safia says:


    I don’t think the whole thing needs to be a referendum on Colin Powell. We all are aware of what happened with Iraq, maybe he’s genuinely sorry and ashamed, maybe not, only God knows.

    But the fact is, Powell did not *have* to say what he did about Muslim Americans. After all no one else, and certainly not Obama, has repudiated the bigotry and the slurs from some on the right against Muslims, in such a direct and eloquent manner. Powell did it in a way that was incredibly moving, and he spoke the truth. If he hadn’t done so, no one would have cared. To me that shows that he spoke from the heart.

    All I know is that as a Muslim supporter of Obama, all this anti-Muslim stuff that no high ranking authority has really bothered to put down (aside from, “he’s a Christian, period” defense) has made me uneasy and a little sick at heart. So I am very grateful that Powell made such a strong statement against it.

    If you read the blogs, you can see that his Muslim comments are really what people were very moved by and are taking away from the whole endorsement speech. They were very, very powerful words, and it’s about time someone said them. I can be grateful to Powell that he chose to say them, it does not mean I am a supporter of the decisions he has made in the past.

  15. Amad says:

    Okay, I should have added a caveat: one of the few respectable and upright people, only relative to the rest of the crooks and haters in the Bush Admin.

    Anyways, I have always felt (and even in the article that Saad pointed to) that he was really dragged into it. Once you make such a bad decision, it is very difficult to back away from it. I suspect that someday he will… when its all over. Because right now its still going on, and I think he has conflicting thoughts in his mind, and cognitive dissonance is playing a role in his not coming out and openly admitting his mistake.

    Finally, we’ll take what we can get. I have not even heard any Democratic senator or any from the official Obama campaign say the words that Powell said in this interview. That is sufficient to make this important and worthy of praise.

  16. Amad says:

    By the way, 20 diggs already… forget Powell, its his statements that need to reach as many people as possible. SO PLEASE DIGG!!

  17. AsimG says:

    Some Muslims are getting waaay too negative on this from what I’m reading on other boards and blogs.

    I didn’t think a non-Muslim saying good stuff about Muslims would be taken so badly…

  18. AsimG says:

    ^Pfft the super republican Chicago Tribue endorsed Obama before ya’ll.

    AND they’ve never endorsed a Democratic presidential candidate before :)

  19. Abu Umar says:

    Anyways, I have always felt (and even in the article that Saad pointed to) that he was really dragged into it. Once you make such a bad decision, it is very difficult to back away from it.

    Isn’t that essentially the Nuremberg defense: we were just following orders? I’m sure we would both agree that Powell was skeptical of the whole Iraq war from the beginning, which makes it all the more worse that he went along with it. I know we are all happy that someone has finally state the obvious, but this does not wipe clean the slate of lies and murder that Powell was involved in. We cannot forgive or forget the hundreds of thousands of dead in Iraq just because Powell throws us a bone.

  20. Amad says:

    We are not, Abu Umar, we are simply commending his specific statements here.

    And I appreciate that the comments here that have put him and his history in perspective, and balanced my praise, so we don’t get too carried away, as Saad mentioned.

  21. Abu Umar says:

    Here is Lew Rockwell on Colin Powell:

    We are told constantly this weekend about the greatness of Colin Powell. Last we heard from this lifelong government parasite, he was lying to the UN about the urgent need to murder Iraqis. All Bush regime war propaganda is stupid, but his was moronic. Remember the RVs of death, that were allegedly producing sophisticated biological weapons while driving around? Or the model plane that would fly from Baghdad to Manhattan to bomb Central Park or something? For more, see Justin Raimondo on the man who bragged about personally burning down poor people’s houses in Vietnam, because their villages were insufficiently subservient to the Pentagon. In other words, Powell is a war criminal just like McCain.

  22. Amad says:

    Abu Umar, is it really necessary to conflate everything? I mean we are just referring to the good statements of this man, which he made in the last few days. We are not evaluating his life and career. Would we have preferred that Powell didn’t make these statements? The poor guy stands up for Muslims, and we want to rake over the coals first, for going along with Bush. Let’s give him props when he talks good, within balance, and take him to task when the right opportunity presents itself. I think you and others have pointed to sufficient material that help provide that balance, but at some point, we need to pull this back to the positive implications of Powell’s statement, not a redress of the entire Iraq war injustice.

    It is frustrating when we cannot accept something positive from someone without dragging all the skeletons out of his/her closet. Let’s take what we get and independently address issues that are not directly related to the crux of the post.

  23. haytham says:

    i wonder what will fox news say about this!!

  24. usman says:

    Very eloquent and totally agreed

  25. bismillah. compare the clips already posted to this one:

    it bears repeating: i found that video on Digg — it has 1597 diggs already. do you want the Meet the Press interview to get the right exposure? all the worthy comments about Muslims? digg the article you are reading right now. do not procrastinate. do not waffle. just do your quiet part to get the word out. digg the article. jazak Allah khayr.

  26. Asim says:

    Here’s the youtube snippet of Powell on the Muslim smear campaign:

  27. anon says:

    “wonder what will fox news say about this!!”

    Many conservatives are already saying that his endorsement was because Obama is black.
    Sour grapes I say

  28. anon says:

    Read this post for more. One guy basically called Powell a racist and said if Obama was white he wouldn’t have gotten his endorsement

  29. giacomo says:

    How easily have the Muslims become victims. Seducers we choose not to be, so we are delegated to the seduction. Power we choose not to take and so weakness becomes our goal. For one man to say anything is fools gold. For the ummah to stand up and say “Stop” would be something. The Muslims of America better become the seducers rather than the object of seduction. Do not fall for empty gestures and nice words. Create your own path and look for respect through Allah and his messenger (s).

    – don’t call me casanova

  30. admin says:

    Here is a snippet from Powell’s statement today:

    And I’ve never blinked from that. I’ve never said I didn’t support a decision to go to war.

    And the war looked great until the 9th of April, when the statue fell, everybody thought it was terrific. And it was terrific.


    That is what we should be focusing on, and it is not up to us Muslims living in the US to decide if he is to be forgiven or not.

    First of all, he has not repented an iota for his support of the war on the people of Iraq. Second, he and others need to be tried, with the people of Iraq providing testimonials, and then if the *families* of those who were killed, whose homes were invaded, and country and society severely disrupted — if they want to forgive, then can forgive.

    Our responsibility, i.e. those Muslims not directly affected by the lies of Powell/Bush et al. , is to do our bit to bring these people to a war crimes trial.

  31. abumoosa says:

    Brother Amad, with all due respect – “poor guy stands up for Muslims” (do we not have enough honour and strength from Allah and if we lost it-then we look for it from Powell? we act like the house nigger looking for one of his masters’ approval? that we suddenly align ourselves with him – as much as endorsing Powell – like the muslims did with Bush in 2000? do we never learn?)
    “dragging all the skeletons out of his/her closet” – fact is – is it in his closet or out in the open and waving in your face?
    “Let’s take what we get” – i guess what we’ll get is in the following – and i guess being the grateful house niggers we’ve become we couldnt strive/struggle for anything else?

    …so welcome to another 4 years of crying ‘oppression’ and worse – wa’allahu aalim.

    WHY – is the question – would a muslim support or endorse the likes of Biden or Powell-is that not a question we need to ask ourselves?

  32. Amad says:

    Abumoosa, glad you got the “house nigger” rep off your chest.

    You and others had ample opportunity to make your “the world is black and white” point. Now, let’s move on. Back to what Collin said, thank you. Or I am sure you’ll have other forums and other opportunities to continue venting. Not here.

  33. abumoosa says:

    Assalaam’aalaikum Amad,

    The point (which you seem to be missing) is not about what he said-and this is possibly what others here were commenting on (remember we’re commenting here on MM and not youtube or anywhere else) – rather its about what you said (or others amongst the muslims who may say the same)

    Its fine for you to be dismissive when confronted by real issues (rather than rethoric-a few words uttered by yet another of the minor dajjals) – issues like actions speak louder than words, issues that the benefit of the doubt should be given if he were asking for it, issues like how many more iraqs does it take to wake up to what you are currently calling to? you cannot take the words and divorce them from where they emnated, the point is – how can you justify and promote such support – not to yourself but to muslims – to muslims like me?

    But i really cant see you getting the point with your “rah rah” support for everything Obama these days.


  34. bintwadee3 says:

    Honestly I think everyone keeps taking jabs at the author. So it wasnt the best choice of words. The point is: Powell did something good, atleast give him credit. Does this moment of generosity erase all the terrible things he’s done? No, it doesn’t. Atleast be content that he got something right. Now that enough people on here have passed judgement on (both) Powell (and Brother Amad), let’s hope no one else has anything insensitive to add and remembers the words of the rasool (salAllaahu 3alayhi wa salaam):
    Qul khayr ow ismut.
    Say a kind word or be silent.

    Let me reiterate: We understand he did a bunch of terrible things. He’ll be held accountable, there’s no doubt. “On the day when their tongues and their hands and their feet testify against them as to what they used to do” (24:24).

    Keep Diggin Y’all!

  35. Amad says:

    waalikum assalam Abumoosa
    Allow me to make some closing remarks on this issue and I promise, we’ll move on :)

    Since you and a lot of folks who are discussing this on other forums live outside America (and the West in general), I believe that we do see the world through different prisms, each shaped by where we live, who we interact with on a daily basis, and who we take our deen from. This post and many others we write on MM is through the prism shaped by Muslims living in the West. Not to say that there aren’t people who live in the West who see it your way, and vice-versa. But based on the surveys and feedback we receive, those would be in the minority.

    So, I think many times in our discussions/arguments (and this is not the first or last post that will be attacked on other forums) we see past each others’ perspectives, and sometimes those perspectives are impossible to reconcile. And sometimes they are even impossible to understand or appreciate.

    Ultimately, we are responsible for our own actions, and in this case, our own posts. And with my authority on my post (and I don’t speak for all MM writers; each writer speaks for himself/herself), I would like this post’s focus remain on the words of Powell. I hope you understand.

    P.S. This isn’t about Obama either. Had Powell not talked about Muslims, I wouldn’t even have put the post up & jazakilahkhair bintwadee for the good words.

  36. bismillah. bintwadee3 makes a great point, and not just about digging the article. just click the link already, people! 33 diggs only? with so many people willing to make comments. subhanAllah! whether you agree with Amad or not. or whether like most sane people you neither agree 1000% nor disagree 1100% — digging the article because that promotes this discussion. when you get to digg feel free to add your own comment to the four comments already there.

    so, once again: let your digg bring visibility to the discussion.
    let your comments there (and here) express your views.

    are we clear on that?

    great. back to the great point that bintwadee3 makes: it’s sad to see Muslims who cannot disagree with civility. the Muslim is always safe from the tongue (and hence keyboard) of another Muslim, always. so let’s try to live up to the description the Prophet sull Allaho alayhi wa sallam gave to those who submit to Allah, shall we?

    and Amad, i love you for the sake of Allah, man.

  37. abumoosa says:

    I appreciate that – and you should appreciate the fact that commentators ‘comment’ on your post. Its not hijacking or trolling or venting. Its a simple reaction to what you write. Thats why a comments section exists-unless you wish to disable it or delete comments ;) – which is your perogative.


  38. Amad says:

    salam Abumoosa, actually just because the comments are open doesn’t mean that all comments are appropriate or welcome :)

    Here’s what trolling means:

    An Internet troll, or simply troll in Internet slang, is someone who posts controversial and irrelevant or off-topic messages in an online community, such as an online discussion forum or chat room, with the intention of provoking other users into an emotional response or to generally disrupt normal on-topic discussion.

    So, when comments diverge from the main point of the post, then those comments, still very much comments, are indeed considered the trolling kind.

    I didn’t call your comments trolling (yet :) ), but it was a good opportunity to mention what trolling is since you brought it up. A good lesson for everyone!

    P.S. Abuabdullah love you too man, akhi feed deen… need all the lovin I can get :)

  39. abumoosa says:

    Subhaan allah – so the effective message is – the author puts all this stuff up in the public eye for all to see, yet:

    a.) Were you to react naturally on a public comments page – you are reminded “that the Muslim is always safe from the tongue (and hence keyboard) of another Muslim, always” and “Qul khayr ow ismut. Say a kind word or be silent.” BUT the author is not one to be reminded with the same advise?

    b.) Said author can trample on his brothers/sisters rights (dismiss their comments, delete them, accuse them of diverting discussion or venting etc… & threaten ‘troll’ classification) but cannot be held to account (not the least by the cheerleaders on his side) on a just islamic scale on what he wrote originally nor on his responses?

    May allah guide you – do not be minor oppressors in your own little domains.


    Abu Moosa

    -Abumoosa, if you noticed, I had a smiley next to the “yet” in my comment w/r to trolling. It was meant in humor -amad

  40. Abu Bakr says:

    Any Muslim who joins the American army to go fight against Muslims (or even to do anything else) should be ashamed of himself. Isn’t he afraid that he will be raised up on Yawm al-Qiyama with Fir’awn, Haman, Qarun, Bush, and Cheney?

    May Allah save us from losing our religion

  41. br sdot says:

    so what if he’s Muslim? Seems like most Americans would say well being Muslim is bad/evil/wrong/violent/etc…so we need to change this stereotype….retired politicians will not change the views of millions of Americans….we as Muslim-Americans can only change their views and how many of us do this on a daily basis? we had a Muslim day at six flags in Atlanta where there was a lot of dawah going on. You would be suprised how many negative remarks were made to some of the brothers and sisters but who cares? at the end of the day IA im sure there was one person out of the thousands that we may have helped change their thinking or even questioned their thinking. in the end if we go up to a 1000 non-muslims and speak to them about Islam we may get cursed out or verbally abuse which may make us feel bad but we shouldn’t lose sleep over this…we know the Truth they do not…sleep tight.

  42. Amad says:

    On a slight tangent, something interesting that Al-Jazeera caught… a bit more from the Palin rallies

  43. Asim says:

    Wow that video was pathetic. “I’m afraid of the Black taking over” LOL

  44. Dawud Israel says:

    Alhamdulilah, good to see you guys are getting beyond discussing Powell and whether he is good or bad…that harks back to the supersalafi love of being judgmental.

    Anyways, I was hoping to hear Mohamed Elibiary since this is his department.
    Amad stop hogging all the political material!!

  45. Siraaj says:

    We care little about Powell’s past decisions, military appointments, or presidential potential for Muslims – this is not the issue. The issue is discrimination – people are openly blasting Arabs and Muslims as a smear tactic and no one cries foul about it. There was a time, even post-9/11 that that would not happen.

    These days, no one blinks an eye when Muslims get blasted – it’s political suicide to stand up for them at all. No democrat, including Obama, wants to risk that fight.

    That Colin Powell and Campbell Brown have stood up and brought the issue to the fore is commendable, because while we don’t care about military appointments and presidential potential as I mentioned earlier, we do care about the mindset that says a Muslim or an Arab shouldn’t be president because it likely has ramifications in areas that we do care about as members of this society.


  46. Abu Sabaya says:

    Why let something like the destruction of Iraq get between friends?

    I trust Powell 100%, and the fact that has come out to defend us makes me proud.

  47. Abu Umar says:

    Abu Umar, is it really necessary to conflate everything? I mean we are just referring to the good statements of this man, which he made in the last few days. We are not evaluating his life and career. Would we have preferred that Powell didn’t make these statements? The poor guy stands up for Muslims, and we want to rake over the coals first, for going along with Bush. Let’s give him props when he talks good, within balance, and take him to task when the right opportunity presents itself. I think you and others have pointed to sufficient material that help provide that balance, but at some point, we need to pull this back to the positive implications of Powell’s statement, not a redress of the entire Iraq war injustice.

    Yes, let us forget all that nasty business in Iraq. It’s all water under the bridge now, right? I’m sorry, but I cannot forgive this mass murderer (and that is exactly what he is) because he said one little thing that we think is nice. I cannot and will not forget the fact that this man has the blood of hundreds of thousands of my Iraqi Muslim brothers and sisters on his hands, nor will I forgive him just because he threw us a bone.

  48. ibnabeeomar says:

    Abu Umar – no one is advocating we forget about it, nor that we ‘forgive’ him. all comments aside, i think we should take the story for what it’s worth – a prominent, and well-respected member of the political community said something semi-positive about islam.

    is that newsworthy? yes.

    should muslims in america be happy about it? im of that demographic, but i’m not particularly ecstatic about it. i don’t think that it’s going to have any serious impact on anyone. however, it does indicate one small step of progress against anti-muslim sentiment that has been spread in america.

    does it change anything of his past? no, but at the same time, i don’t think anyone is outright advocating that it does.

    with stories like this i think its important to carefully assess what the story actually is, and not get too emotional about it either way. i think it was nice that he said that. i’m not going to have a party about it or buy a colin powell t shirt, but at the same time, i think its also unfair to accuse anyone of being pro-iraq war or something of that nature just because of his past. no one’s endorsing those actions of his. highlighting one positive statement isn’t an automatic endorsement of everything he has said or done.

  49. Siraaj says:

    Yes, let us forget all that nasty business in Iraq. It’s all water under the bridge now, right? I’m sorry, but I cannot forgive this mass murderer (and that is exactly what he is) because he said one little thing that we think is nice. I cannot and will not forget the fact that this man has the blood of hundreds of thousands of my Iraqi Muslim brothers and sisters on his hands, nor will I forgive him just because he threw us a bone.

    I think the key benefit in his statement is the impact is has on people who both respect him and are willing to be swayed by his remarks. It is often, I have seen in my own experience, that people see a problem, but due to fear of reprisals and labeling, they keep quiet out of fear. A prominent figure like Powell speaking up against the discrimination not only, as I pointed above, reminds people that this type of discrimation is wrong, it also gives courage to those have known there’s a problem and kept quiet about it.

    Where there is good, we can point it out, and where there is wrong, we can also point it out. Amad is simply pointing out the good, and you are pointing out the bad, and I think we can see this as a minor victory for Muslims, but your point is well-taken, that we ought not to forget what they have done in the past, and may do in the future. Even if their motivations are not religious in nature, the result is the same.

    I myself remind all the Muslims who are dewey-eyed over Obama that it was in the late 90s that we not only hated the Democrats for their social values, but their foreign policy as well. This was what caused the Muslims to turn to Bush (that, plus the zionist jewish running mate al gore chose). We shouldn’t forget who maintained Bush Sr’s sanctions either, and I agree with that as well.

    I think, however, we can also point out the good that happens without feeling like we’re kowtowing and falling at their feet for their approval.


  50. Abu Sabaya says:

    The problem is not commending good from where it comes. The problem is the inconsistency: here, the ‘jihadists’ and ‘militants’ (i.e. Muslim Mujahidin) are attacked on every occassion without “balancing it out by mentioning their good qualities,” but our feathers get ruffled when simply pointing out that this kafir Powell has the blood of millions upon millions of Muslims on his hands. We are so desperate for attention in this country, and it has led us to this humiliation.

    I wish we’d stop being so gullible, or at least have at least a fraction of the husn adh-dhann with some of our brothers that we have with these criminals.

  51. ibnabeeomar says:

    Abu Sabaya – no ones feathers are getting ruffled. i agree with your sentiments about powell, but my question remains, how is pointing out one positive statement of his an endorsement of what he has previously done? no ones saying hes a good guy all of a sudden for saying this. its worth pointing that he said it, nothing more, nothing less. i echo siraaj’s comments above as well.

  52. bostonite says:

    Shout out on (the web portal for the Boston Globe) for MM:

  53. AsimG says:

    When I see some good from the online jihadis I’ll give them their credit.

    Until then…

  54. Abu Sabaya says:

    how is pointing out one positive statement of his an endorsement of what he has previously done? no ones saying hes a good guy all of a sudden for saying this.

    Look, this killer of millions is referred to in the opening post as “this honorable man.” The rest of the article is an attempt to present this same killer as if he is some mukhlis with a good heart. We are forgetting that he has based at the least the latter part of his career on deception and lying to the media – he had no problem with lying in order to send thousands of his own countrymen (and millions of ours) to their violent deaths, and we are being made to believe that he has suddenly become an “upright” man, an “honorable” man, a man of “truth.” Either the author of these words is not aware of pre-2008 world events, or he has no sense of wala’ and bara’.

    So, whether or not the above constitutes an endorsement of his actions, it does constitute a lack of principles and extreme gullibility.

  55. Amad says:

    That’s awesome Bostonite, thanks for bringing it to our attention. I am glad that MM is finally being heard for the voice it has become mashallah for so many mainstream Muslims in this country.

  56. Abu Umar says:

    i agree with your sentiments about powell, but my question remains, how is pointing out one positive statement of his an endorsement of what he has previously done? no ones saying hes a good guy all of a sudden for saying this. its worth pointing that he said it, nothing more, nothing less.

    I don’t think anyone has any problem with pointing out what Powell said and acknowledging the general truth of it. That is not what is the problem. The problem is that he is being described with words like “brave,” “respectable,” and “upright”. The problem is that when these ascriptions are challenged and Powell’s criminal activities are brought up we are told we are needlessly bring out the skeletons in his closet and picking on this “poor” man. Just bask in the glory of his statement we are told. These are the problems.

  57. Amad says:

    Ok thank you Abu Sabaya, Abu Umar, and friends… let’s move on. I think I have provided a fair opportunity for the detractors to make their case. Pretty much all comments have been left unedited here. In fact, I am surprised, akhi Abu Umar, at your last comment, considering the facts right here in the comments to this very post. Yes, scroll up. I first added a clarification/qualifier to my praise, and I then even thanked folks (that included you) for providing balance. In fact, I added the link to the Salon story that YOU provided, into the main post. Here is one of the specific comments I made, just in case the scroll doesn’t work:

    We are not, Abu Umar, we are simply commending his specific statements here.

    And I appreciate that the comments here that have put him and his history in perspective, and balanced my praise, so we don’t get too carried away, as Saad mentioned.

    Fair-minded readers will recognize my efforts to be as fair as possible. But you seem to be ignoring all measures in good faith, you have not accepted Omar’s and Siraaj’s logical responses, and you continue to disregard my repeated requests to stay on the topic.

    So, if anyone cannot respect my right as author of post to set the direction of comments, then please don’t mind if I moderate future comments that continue to toe the line that was never intended to be the essence or crux of the post.

    I am sure there are other forums where other arguments and tangents can be discussed in detail.

    In conclusion, I know what I said, I understand what I said, and I am responsible for what I said. May Allah forgive us all for our shortcomings.

  58. Moeed says:

    I also believe in the positive Powell’s statement can bring but I don’t see the need to criticize or defend him. As I see it, the only relevant thing here is his stature in American society and the weight his opinions carry (that’s as long as the Powell discrediting movement fails).

    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.

  59. Abu Umar says:

    A few words of sincere advice for you Amad and then I will give you your wish and leave the discussion.

    1. You were the one who chose the aforementioned words to describe Colin Powell. As such I consider it quite on topic to contest these ascriptions. If you are unwilling or unable to stand by those words (aside from some flimsy disclaimer not even placed in the original article and that doesn’t reflect the tone or wording of the article), then simply remove them and try to be a little more conscientious on how you describe someone like Powell in the future.

    2. I consider it important, nay essential, to view Powell’s comments within the context of his past history. It came across to me from several of the posts here (both yours and others) that Powell himself was being recast in some sort of positive and heroic light simply because he said something that meet with your approval. Maybe it is because I’m not “fair-minded” or a person of “good faith” like yourself, but I call things as I see them, wa Allah u’Alim.

    3. If you want this to be an echo chamber or a place of groupthink just let me know now, because I’ll do both of us a favor and never return. If however you truly want debate and discussion you need to learn to be little more open to criticism and not just attack the sincerity of your critics or threaten censorship.

    There is much more I’d like to say, but since it would be ignored or denounced as being part of my sinister “angle” I’ll stop here, wal-Hamdu lillah.

  60. Amad says:

    jazakAllah khair for the advice. And if you want to know your own angle, please review the sum of your comments on all MM posts. Maybe the complete negativity and provocative nature of the vast majority of them may shed some light. Groupthink (in your opinion) is a stretch from off-tangent argumentative and deliberately negative commentary (in my opinion). Let’s leave it at that, to agree to disagree.


  61. mulsimah says:


    what is going on here?????/ u people need to chill. we do not know the hearts and minds of people. we dont know exactly what really happeend. so we really should becareful what we say.

    Contratry to what Muslims are saying in this post his words have had a positive impact on people. there are nonmuslims saying on comments and blogs’ that he opened my eyes’ and more stuff like that. everyone is happy he mentioned an issue that so many people are scared to talk about. Now I beleive more people are going to open up about the injustice towards Muslims.

  62. AsimG says:

    Abu Umar,

    1. Every description of Powell was matched with a qualifier. Upright and respectable was matched with Bush Administration.
    We are not stupid, we know who Colin Powell is.
    At the same time, Colin Powell is seen in the world as a ‘upright’ and ‘respectable’ man in the secular sense.
    These descriptions were used to give weight to what he said.

    I don’t think Amad was talking in the Islamic sense, because at the end of the day Colin Powell is a non-Muslim.

    2. His statement was ‘heroic’, he was not. His view and input within the Iraq has consistently been questioned by many. Just because you want to paint him as a mass murderer doesn’t mean everyone agrees with your premises for such a conclusion.

    3. Akhi you are in your own zone of groupthink. Your comments are not something new to the discussion. but the sharp and rigid attacks upon Amad are and not welcomed.

    We need to be able to strike a right balance and also be wary of being too aggressive in our comments to other Muslims.

  63. Qas says:

    [quote]I’ll stop here, wal-Hamdu lillah.[/stop]


  64. Umar Khan says:

    I was talking with a friend about something that these comments remind me of:

    It’s kind of sad that Muslim Matters is one of the most widely read Muslim blogs in the US – yet the comments section and sometimes the articles themselves are many times unprofessional and just make me disappointed.

    For example, the article attacking alt muslim for interviewing the author of the Jewel of Medina book? I had no clue why that ever happened

    also, if a non Muslim were to read these comments, many times…. they wouldn’t see the great image of Islam we try to promote.

  65. innalhamdolillah. bismillah. mashaAllah, Umar. “hear, hear!” well-done.

  66. Amad says:

    Umar, thx for your feedback. As a blog, we exercise limited control over comments.

    As for posts, please feel free to point out whenever you see a post that disappoints you. Regarding Jewel of Medina, we (whoever criticized) completely stand by any criticism of altmuslim in that SPECIFIC issue. In fact, I think we should have started a campaign against them for giving the author, someone who mocked and defamed our Prophet (S), an honor of sort. Despicable indeed!

    There is freedom of speech, and then there is freedom to protest and distance oneself from disgusting material. Altmuslim should have exercised the latter. If Altmuslim editors have a sense of haya for the Prophet (S), I hope they will consider removing the post. And whoever has any pull there, they should insist on the same, or at least place a comment there criticizing the decision to publish. Wallahualam.

  67. mulsimah says:

    CAIR Applauds Powell’s Repudiation of Political Islamophobia

  68. AmaturRahman says:

    Well said Umar..

    I also find it odd that when people read the articles, they litteraly use a magnifying glass, looking at each sentence and word carefully. If you are looking for faults, surely will find it as these articles are written by humans.. What I fail to understand is, for those who were upset by the words used to describe Colin Powell, did they send the writer an email (through contact)? A scholar once said: “To admonish your brother in private is to advise him and improve him. But to admonish him in public is to disgrace him and shame him.”

  69. Siraaj says:

    It appears Powell’s statement has begun a spark that’s lighting in the media. Front page main story of

  70. Amad says:

    Talking about moderate republicans, could you believe that this cross-dressing alarmist was a serious contender for the White House at one time:

    Giuliani Defends, Employs Priest Accused of Molesting Teens

  71. […] Kaitlin:  Muslim Matters on Colin Powell […]

  72. […] Muslim Matters “Colin Powell ‘What if he is a Muslim?’” October 19, […]

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