Top US Personalities Defend Muslim in US

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At last - Good news for all faiths - Jews, Christians, Hindus and Muslims - There are still fair-minded and balanced leaders in America.

November 9,Sunday 10:15 AM EST

Colin Powell, Ben Affleck, Campbell Brown Reject Use of Arab/Muslim as Slur . . .

Former U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell demonstrated on Sunday that he too can be a maverick.  The moderate Republican not only endorsed Democrat Barack Obama for president, but also expressed his dismay with what he called an unwarranted connection with “some kind of terrorist feelings” and the Illinois senator by John McCain’s campaign.  He, like CNN’s Campbell Brown and Hollywood actor Ben Affleck recently, set the record straight about Obama’s background.  He is not an Arab nor a Muslim, but so what if he was?


“Is there something wrong with being a Muslim in this country?” Powell rhetorically asked on Sunday on NBC’s Meet the Press (see minute 4:28).  “The answer’s no, that’s not America.” 


Hollywood actor Ben Affleck expressed a similar sentiment on Real Time with Bill Maher on Friday (see minute 5:16). 


Affleck referred back to McCain’s response to a woman at one of his rallies who said she did not trust his opponent because he was allegedly an Arab.  He’s a decent family man that I happen to have disagreements with on fundamental issues,” McCain told her.


“What if somebody said to you, “I heard that he was a Jew?” and I said, “No, he is not a Jew, he’s alright?”” Affleck asked Maher’s audience, which laughed after quickly catching on to his demonstrated absurdity of the question.  Affleck gave another example using Catholic.


“Arab and good person are not antithetical to one another,” Affleck emphasized, drawing applause.


“This prejudice that we have allowed to fester in this campaign, where we have allowed this idea—denying the fact that Obama who yes is not an Arab nor is he a Muslim—but, we have allowed that to turn into the acceptance of both of those things as a legitimate slur is really a problem,” he told Maher, “These are not slurs.  They are categories of human being.  They are not slurs of people and no one in the media stood up and said that.”


But, CNN’s Campbell Brown did so this past week on 13 October on her show.  While commending McCain for correcting his supporter, Brown rhetorically asked, “So what if he was?”


“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,” Campbell told her viewers.


Powell agreed before giving a poignant story of a Muslim American from New Jersey who gave up his life to serve in Iraq for America:


“I feel strongly about this particular point because of a picture I saw in a magazine.  It was a photo essay about troops who are serving in Iraq and Afghanistan.  And one picture at the tail end of this photo essay was of a mother in Arlington Cemetery, and she had her head on the headstone of her son’s grave.  And as the picture focused in, you could see the writing on the headstone.  And it gave his awards–Purple Heart, Bronze Star–showed that he died in Iraq, gave his date of birth, date of death.  He was 20 years old. And then, at the very top of the headstone, it didn’t have a Christian cross, it didn’t have the Star of David, it had crescent and a star of the Islamic faith.  And his name was Kareem Rashad Sultan Khan, and he was an American.”


Many American citizens, including Arab Americans and Muslim Americans, I spoke to were relieved to hear these public figures reject the use of one’s religion or background as a slur, but some were displeased with the timing of the repudiation with the election just two weeks away.


What do you think?  Should there have been repudiation from the start?  If so, why?  If not, why not?

2 Responses to “Colin Powell, Ben Affleck, Campbell Brown Reject Use of Arab/Muslim as Slur”

  1. michael.preston Says:

    The sentiment that being an Arab or Muslim in America is somehow bad has been in the air ever since the whisper campaign started on the internet against Obama. It’s sad that this is finally being addressed with only two weeks left before the election, but all of these individuals are right to push back against this sort of nonsense.

  2. carla.murphy Says:

    Why didn’t Obama come out against the you-are-Muslim “attack” in a prominent way like Colin Powell?

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