Celebrating Five Years of Service: July 1999-July 2004
Editors: This is a self syndicated column. If you wish to publish this column in your newspaper, magazine, journal or on your websites please click here: Syndicate
Khan is Assistant Professor of Political Science at Adrian College in Michigan.
He is a Visiting Fellow at Brookings Institution and a Fellow of the
Institute for Social Policy and Understanding.
For a comprehensive resume click here: Resume
"Challenges American Muslims Face"
Michigan Area School for Pastoral Ministry all four lectures August 17-19
"American Muslim Politics"
Religion News Writers Conference, an SSRC Panel, September 11, 2004, Washington DC
American Muslim Taskforce insults John Kerry and Alienates George Bush
M. A. Muqtedar Khan Ph.D.
The American Muslim Task Force – a self appointed coalition of some American Muslim Organizations has decided to insult both the Presidential candidates as a strategy to improve the civil rights environment in the US. On October 20th, in a strangely worded statement, this group of Muslim leaders, on behalf of the American Muslim Community, issued a “qualified endorsement” of Senator John Kerry while actually asserting that it sees no qualitative distinction between his positions and those of the incumbent.
First it provides a criticism of the Bush administration as an “oppressive” regime and ensures that there will be very little cooperation between these very same organizations and the Bush administration if it returns to the White House in November 2004. If I was George W. Bush, I would make a note to myself to send out a memo to the Department of Homeland Security to pay “special attention” to the members of the American Muslim Task Force. What will they do, call me oppressive?
Organizations which seek to develop closer relations with the institutions of power in order to have some say in policy making cannot afford to alienate themselves from any party. The political marginalization of the American Muslim community after 9/11 has been devastating at the national level, though it has actually improved at the local level. One critical example of this marginalization is the complete absence of American Muslim input in the 9/11 commission’s investigations and their subsequent report; a report, which will shape the policies of the government regardless of which candidate wins in November.
The endorsement of John Kerry is nothing but insulting. This is how it reads in simple English: “We find nothing of merit in your positions, we are also piqued that you did not pamper and pursue us the “American Muslim leaders” [it is irrelevant that your campaign has reached out to a lot of other Muslim individuals and local organizations], nevertheless we will vote for you but only to send a message to President Bush. We hope you will be grateful to us”.
If I were John Kerry, I would make a note to emphasize to these pompous ideologues the fact that I will get a huge majority of the Muslim vote regardless of what the members of the task force say or do. If I win, I would fight hard against my own self to resist sending a memo to the Department of Homeland Security, but will certainly ensure that these organizations have little or no access to policy making. I would seek new and more humble voices from the community to include in policy deliberations as in the campaign.
There are many Muslims who are involved at local and national levels in the Kerry campaign.
The statement also exposes how completely out of tune the AMT members are with regards to the Muslim community itself. Surveys conducted by the Muslim Observer (out of California) and the Muslims in the American Public Sphere/Zogby poll released on October 19th, clearly shows a significant shift in American Muslim politics.
The American Muslim preference for John Kerry is not a negative vote, but a positive vote for Kerry and for the Democratic Party. American Muslims as a community have moved to the left as a result of the Patriot Act and the rise of Islamophoebia in America, all of which they attribute to the influence of extreme right wing politics on the Bush administration in particular and the Republican party in general.
Recent articles on IJTIHAD
9/11 Commission Report : A Review is an excellent
This New York Times Op-Ed discusses how the American Muslim community is changing as a result of the changing condition in America.
"A rare moderate voice" Khaled Ahmed, Pakistan's prominent commentator and reviewer on American Muslims.
Muqtedar Khan Debates Dr. Daniel Pipes on Islam and Democracy