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Questioning Loyalty of US Muslims

Published: 08/08/2012 04:18:15 PM GMT
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CAIRO - The election season in the United States is bringing a new hostile campaign against American Muslims, questioning their loyalty because of their religion.“There is already a lack of Muslims in government positions, (more)

CAIRO - The election season in the United States is bringing a new hostile campaign against American Muslims, questioning their loyalty because of their religion.

“There is already a lack of Muslims in government positions,” a Muslim woman, who works for the US government, told The New York Times on Wednesday, August 8, on condition of anonymity.

“But now this debate just shows no matter how loyal you are, some people will always attack you because you are Muslim.”

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As the United States is preparing for the November election to elect a new president, US Muslims have faced a new level of campaigns questioning their loyalty.

Last month, Republican Representative Michele Bachmann said the appointment of Huma Abedin, a Muslim, as a close aide to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was a sign on the Islamist infiltration of the Obama administration.

Abedin is not the first American Muslim to face accusations questioning their loyalty.

Samar Ali, a White House fellow, was accused by the right-wing Tea Party of financing terrorism.

The Tea Party cited Ali's in-depth knowledge of Islamic banking practices as a basis for claim that the Muslim woman was disloyal to her country.

Ali, who was born in the United States to a Palestinian father and a Syrian mother, was one of the first in her area in Tennessee to speak out against the 9/11 attacks.

Linda Sarsour, a community worker from Brooklyn in New York City, was also the focus of allegations questioning her loyalty after her appointment at a neighborhood advisory panel.

Right-wingers claim that Sarsour, 32, who has received a “Champion of Change” award from Obama, had links with Hamas in Gaza and that members of her family had been arrested for aiding the Islamist movement.

For “Michele Bachmann and some people of the Tea Party movement — the fact that we are Muslim means we are disloyal to our country and have hidden agendas,” Sarsour said.


Muslim women see the campaigns questioning their loyalty as a new stage of Islamophobia in the United States.

“Michele Bachmann, Peter King and their colleagues are trying to further marginalize Muslim Americans from civic engagement and political life,” Sarsour said.

“I have news for them: It's not working.”

Since 9/11, Muslims, estimated between six to seven million, have become sensitized to an erosion of their civil rights, with a prevailing belief that America was stigmatizing their faith.

Anti-Muslim sentiments sharply grew in the United States over plans to build a mosque near the 9/11 site in New York, resulting in attacks on Muslims and their property.

A recent report by the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) and the University of California said that Islamophobia is on the rise in the US.

Muslim women have urged US officials to learn tolerance and accepting people of other religions from the Arab countries.

“It is always easy to point with your fingers on Arab countries and remark that they aren't democracies,” said another Muslim woman with a government job.

“But then you see how they got advisers and ambassadors of other religious backgrounds than the majority.”

She cited Morocco, whose king has Jewish advisers, and Bahrain, which has a Jewish female ambassador in Washington, a Christian one in London and several Shiite ambassadors and ministers.

“I had hoped that there is a difference in the US about Islam, and loyalty and disloyalty has nothing to do with the religion,” said Alice Thomas Samaan, the Bahraini ambassador in London.

Samaan, who was born in Bahrain to an Iraqi father and a Turkish mother, said she grew up in an area where she had been surrounded by all kinds of religions and never felt any difference from other Bahrainis.

“Religion was never an issue at all.”

Sarsour, the Brooklyn community worker, shares a similar view.

“These two ambassadors are seen as Bahrainis first and foremost, their religion secondary,” Sarsour said.“While in the US instead of seeing people like Huma and myself as Americans, they see us as Muslims first.”

Reproduced with permission from