Obama continues to disappoint on this score. He still remains unable to state publicly that "no, I am not a muslim but it would make no difference even if I were." It would have truly been a hope-inspiring change to see him defend Asbahi and take on the whisperers, because caving to them makes them all the stronger. That would be audacity I can believe in.
Yes, 12% of voters still think Obama is muslim (incidentally, 1% think he's Jewish). So whats the better strategy? Try to distance yourself from muslims at all costs to try and make that 12% think, "hmm. ok so he threw his volunteer outreach guy under the bus. I'm convinced!" ? Or to try and undermine the reasoning that says "if Obama is muslim, then I cannot vote for him, because muslims are not acceptable" ?
If any politician had the power or the pulpit to take on the ugly, dark side of American culture that Islamophobia represents, it's Obama. Given the confluence of events of war and energy and security, a sane outreach to Islam is in our collective best interest. Yet Obama runs away. Again.
I'm not sure whether I have any substantive analysis here other than snark, so I'll just stop here. Some excerpts from the story at WSJ:
why even have a muslim outreach advisor?
Until Mr. Asbahi joined the campaign, Sen. Obama did not have a Muslim-outreach coordinator and had relied on the Democratic National Committee's efforts. The campaign has long had its own outreach efforts to Catholic, evangelical Christian and Jewish voters. Some Muslim voters have complained about the disparity. An Obama aide says Mr. Asbahi was brought on in part to bridge that perceived gap and to reach out to Muslim communities in Florida, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Virginia, states seen as among the most competitive this fall.
What exactly are these "ties" to extremism?
In 2000, Mr. Asbahi briefly served on the board of Allied Assets Advisors Fund, a Delaware-registered trust. Its other board members at the time included Jamal Said, the imam at a fundamentalist-controlled mosque in Illinois.
[faith and obama]
"I served on that board for only a few weeks before resigning as soon as I became aware of public allegations against another member of the board," Mr. Asbahi said in his resignation letter. "Since concerns have been raised about that brief time, I am stepping down...to avoid distracting from Barack Obama's message of change."
Who exactly is Jamal Said?
The Justice Department named Mr. Said an unindicted co-conspirator in the racketeering trial last year of several alleged Hamas fund-raisers, which ended in a mistrial. He has also been identified as a leading member of the group in news reports going back to 1993.
Mr. Said is the imam at the Bridgeview Mosque in Bridge-view, Ill., outside Chicago. He left the board of the Islamic fund in 2005, Securities and Exchange Commission filings state. A message left for Mr. Said at the mosque was not returned.
What jafi scum was responsible for this particular scalping?
The eight-year-old connection between Mr. Asbahi and Mr. Said was raised last week by the Global Muslim Brotherhood Daily Report, which is published by a Washington think tank and chronicles the activities of the Muslim Brotherhood, a world-wide fundamentalist group based in Egypt. Other Web sites, some pro-Republican and others critical of fundamentalist Islam, also have reported on the background of Mr. Asbahi.