Leaving Islam




The U.S. presidential election - the Muslim factor

By Jamal Hasan

I am writing this piece on the Halloween night- the night of ghouls, goblins and dancing Bush and Kerry masqueraders. The U.S. presidential election, for some obvious reasons, became a life or death situation for American Muslims. Many Muslim devotees firmly believe that the Bush administration has a hidden agenda to marginalize the Muslim communities in this country. They think President Bush’s War on Terrorism is nothing short of Crusade against Muslim aspiration in this country. Now, the question is, do the average Americans care what the Muslims think?

A few minutes ago, the latest NBC poll on TV indicated 48 percent support for the incumbent president, 47 percent for John Kerry and 1 percent for Ralph Nader. Regarding the issue or terrorism and social issue 49 percent Americans are concerned while 39 percent are worried about economy.

The Republican Party has historically been deeply close to oil rich Arab countries. While externally, under Republican administrations, relations with Arab nations were thriving, internally Saudi influence was a pivotal factor in calling many shots. The Saudi Ambassador to USA became a privy to anti-Communist U.S. inspired insurgencies in the South and Central America under the Republican administration's watch. Many Arab hegemonists took the Republicans for granted. The Bush Senior reinforced that idea in regard to U.S. - Israeli relations. His antipathy towards furtherance of Jewish settlements in the Israel occupied territories made him a darling in the Arab world. While the Republicans were perceived to be quite chummy with the Arabs in general and Muslims in particular, the Democrats were thought to be Israel and Jewish lovers in the eyes of Muslim Americans. Al Gore's choice of Joe Lieberman as his running mate in the last Presidential election could be a clear landmark.

During the presidential election of 2000, a great majority of the Muslim Americans along with their coreligionists all across the world decided to give their full support for the Republican contender George W. Bush. To many Muslim devotees, Jews are the most hated human beings on earth. From the childhood days, the common indoctrination in many Islamic societies is to spread hatred against Jewish people. No wonder, for a firm believer in Islam, a Christian is a better choice than a Jew. In America during the volatile election season of 2000, the U.S. mosque system was propagating a hilarious conspiracy theory. The idea was if ever President Al Gore took office, Jewish agents would assassinate him in no time. And within a short period of time Joe Lieberman, the Jew, would become the President of the United States . For a true Muslim, living under a Jewish leader would be the worst nightmare. That could be the reason, Muslim Americans decided to vote for George Bush in droves. Many crossed party lines to enhance their religious agenda. I know of one Bangladeshi-American of Islamic heritage. He was a card carrying Democrat. He decided to vote for George Bush in 2000.

It is true that many Muslims with liberal inclination have identified themselves with the Democratic Party. Like a good percentage of fellow Americans of European descent, these liberal Muslims are pacifists, anti-globalization, anti-big business and definitely have strong opinion about Arab-Israeli conflict. It is true, the mosque dominated culture was impacting heavily in the thinking process of American Muslims. Nonetheless, a good number of liberal Muslims decided not to abandon their Democratic platform during the uncertain election year of 2000.

George Bush of 2000 did not dishearten the Muslim Americans who had been greatly religiously inclined. In one of the last debates of 2000 election, the burning issue of secret evidence was raised. Al Gore with his good oratory skills bypassed the issue. George Bush was quite forthright in denouncing the policy. That little drama gave a significant motivating zeal to the Muslim voters in USA .

The Republican Party's Christian right faction was ambivalent on the equation of Arab-Israeli conflict and they were hardly concerned about global Jihadism. The tragedy of September 11 turned the table totally. George W. Bush, once close to such controversial figure like the Palestinian professor Sami Al-Arian (who has been deported from USA ), realized one thing. It is dangerous game to sleep with the appeasers of global Islamism. Historically one aspect of American politics had been very much evident. The Republicans had been very adroit flexing U.S. muscle in the global arena. The September 11 hijackers made a big blunder. They angered a political entity in USA , which is very decisive in war strategy. The September 11, 2001 tragedy was a watershed event that culminated in the end of honeymoon between political Islamists and the Republican Party of USA.

While Democrats used to be viewed as staunchly pro-Israel, today they have proved to be naive in understanding the machinations of global Jihadists and their American apologists. Last year I attended a Congressional Hearing on Dr. Daniel Pipes' nomination to be a board member of U.S. Institute of Peace. I was simply dumbfounded to note that many veteran Democrat senators were showing their total ignorance about the danger of Islamic fundamentalism in the global sconce. I was also frustrated to note, some senators' diatribes against Dr. Pipes were unusually similar to the messages emitted by such Islamist appeasing group like Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR).

U.S.A. had been too liberal in allowing the wheeler and dealer of global jihadism into its soil. After the tragedy of September 11 of 2001, the dynamics changed totally. The new intelligence tools are unearthing the more detailed activities of once assumed innocent individuals from abroad. Yusuf Islam aka Cat Stevens' deportation from USA in September of this year is a case in point. Even a few months ago, Cat could slip into this land of great opportunity without raising any eyebrow. In the present high alert homeland security situation, a small slippage on an Islamist's part could be the enough reason for not being welcomed in the United States . Bangladeshi-American Osman Siddique, a U.S. Ambassador under Clinton Administration, denounced Yusuf Islam's deportation. This is visible on a website launched by a group who call themselves Muslims for Kerry. Does it make anybody wonder that Ambassador Siddique is a Kerry advisor too!

In the beginning of my essay, I talked about Muslim Americans' enthusiasm about American elections. I recall, during the last presidential election, some cyber active Bangladeshi-Americans with clear Islamist agenda advocated supporting candidate Bush. A few days ago, the Washington Post carried a news story, which disclosed that activist Muslim-Americans of Bangladesh heritage were dedicating their time and energy to put John Kerry into the White House.

Halloween night is still going on in full swing in our neighborhood. An hour ago I talked to a Bangladeshi-American Muslim friend of mine in Florida. He told me he voted yesterday (October 30, 2004) taking advantage of the early election in the Sunshine State. He told me he and his wife waited in the line for six hours to cast their votes. I am aware it is not proper to ask who was their favorite candidate but I know the answer very well. Do you?


Jamal Hasan writes from Washington DC . His email address is [email protected]  






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