While President Obama has not presented a perfect candidacy for Muslim Americans, Zaheer Ali argues at the Islamic Monthly that his domestic policies, unlike those championed by Mitt Romney, have benefited all Americans and he has created the discursive space within which to challenge policies that are disagreeable.
… THE PRAGMATIC CHOICE
In the nearly four years since Obama was elected, the hope of idealism and transformation embodied in his campaign has given way to the reality of pragmatism and reform; and one of the biggest complaints against him is that he has failed to live up to the promises of his campaign. It may be easy to dismiss disappointment in Obama as the result of people projecting their own unrealistic expectations on him, but there have been moments when he has endorsed policies that contradict his campaign rhetoric. In particular, President Obama’s continuation of some of the worst Bush-Cheney policies in the “war on terror” are extremely disturbing and troubling to any U.S. citizen who believes in the Constitution and its protections of civil liberties, even more so to Muslim Americans who have witnessed how these policies adversely affect Muslims at home and abroad. This alone would seem a compelling reason to oppose Obama’s reelection in 2012.
A DOMESTIC AGENDA
Almost immediately after being sworn in as president, Barack Obama began taking steps to repair the United States’ relationship with the Muslim world. The first interview he conducted as president was with the Arabic television network, Al-Arabiya, on Jan. 26, 2009. In the interview, President Obama affirmed his commitment “that the United States has a stake in the well-being of the Muslim world, that the language we use has to be a language of respect.” He even mentioned “Muslim members in my family” and referred to his time in Indonesia as an indication of his familiarity and respect for Muslim people …
A REPUDIATION OF ISLAMOPHOBIA
On foreign relations and especially national security, President Obama’s record is more complicated. He did end war operations in Iraq, put the United States on track to withdraw from Afghanistan by 2014, and outlawed torture — all deserving commendation. And under his command, Osama bin Laden was killed …
Read Zaheer Ali’s entire piece at the Islamic Monthly.
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