Obama wanted to separate from rumors, not Muslims

The viewpoint Friday about Barack Obama’s impact on Muslim-Americans (The audacity to hope — for more, 10/31/2008), demonstrated a severe lack of thought about Obama’s handling of the false claims that he is Muslim.

The viewpoint took offense to the quote, “I have not and never have been a Muslim.” An initial reaction to this quote may take it the way the viewpoint’s author did: as an attack on Muslim culture. That is not at all what a statement like this says. Obama is a Christian. That is the religion by which he has chosen to define himself and his values. It is completely false and irresponsible to assert that he practices a different religion. That is not who he is. Obama has worked very hard to show Americans who he is, and the spread of false rumors that he is Muslim undermines that effort.

Obama has never been anything close to intolerant of Muslims. He has been a strong advocate of protecting civil rights for all Americans, supporting measures to end racial profiling. These policies are good for Muslims, and everybody else.

As students at the University get ready to go vote tomorrow, I hope that nobody has allowed their votes to be decided by a couple of small quotes or surface impressions. It is a blatant cliché by now, but this election is extremely important. We need to have more thought about our candidates than what this viewpoint displayed.

Justin Schon
LSA sophomore

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