SHAFAQNA – To many observers’ surprise Muslims in the US came to support Bernie Sanders, regardless of his Jewishness … Blinded by their own bigotry, and their warped understanding of Islam, many are now sitting dumbfounded that Muslims would ever chose a Jewish candidate.
Maybe now such xenophobes will understand that Islam does not discriminate. Maybe then they will tire from accusing Muslims of secretly seeking the annihilation of all Abrahamic faiths. when all Islam has ever called for is unity and tolerance.
While much of the Judeo-Christian world has been determined to shun, and mislabel Islam, Muslims have not play by the same handbook, preferring instead to answer hate with patience.
But Bernie Sanders’ supporters say it should not be a surprise as the Vermont senator has consistently condemned the bigoted, anti-Muslim rhetoric that has become a staple of the presidential campaign of 2016 US elections.
In the 2016 presidential campaign, Islamophobia is both a campaign strategy and a wedge issue, making this a critical moment for Muslim American voters. While Islamophobia is garnering Republican candidates more votes, it is also pushing Muslim Americans and their allies to the ballot box.
In such circumstance, which candidate’s policies are most in line with broader Muslim American values, interests and concerns, particularly given the rising tide of Islamophobia and Muslim scapegoating?
According to the pundits, the answer is: Bernie Sanders, by a far stretch.
In an article recently posted on a Facebook community page “Muslims for Bernie Sanders 2016,” a number of American professionals came up with the detailed reasons that why the American Muslims should cast their vote for a Jew.
The article written by Donna Auston, Khaled A Beydoun, Tarek El-Messidi, Zareena Grewal, Omid Safi and Hassan Shibly, stated: “The 2016 presidential campaign converges with a critical impasse for Muslim Americans. On one hand, the Muslim American population is believed to be as high as 8 million, and ranks as the fastest growing and most racially diverse in the country.
“On the other, rhetoric from the right pushing Muslim bans, making the desert glow, identification of terrorism with Islam, and mass deportation dragnets converges with an ever-broadening police state, which isolates Islam and Americanness, and links Muslim identity with presumptive radicalisation.”
Noting that, at this impasse, Islamophobia is full-fledged campaign strategy, a political wedge issue, and formal state policy, the writers further stated: “Mobilised by this, a recent study indicates that 76% of Muslim Americans intend to vote in the 2016 presidential primaries, with 67% registering support for the Democratic Party.
“While Islamophobia is garnering Republican candidates more votes, it is also pushing Muslim Americans and their allies to the ballot box.”
“In light of the pervasive fear-mongering emanating from the right, and the commitment to expanded policing from the left, which of the 2016 presidential candidates should Muslim Americans support? Which candidate’s policies are most in line with broader Muslim American values, interests and concerns, particularly given the rising tide of Islamophobia and Muslim scapegoating?
Bernie Sanders. By a far stretch,” it added.
“Muslim America, more than ever before, is not monolithic. It is a racial mosaic: Islam itself was introduced and spread in the US by Black Muslims, and African American Muslims still make up roughly a quarter of the American Muslim population, as do South Asians. Arab American Muslims make up the third largest ethnic-racial sub-group of American Muslims, estimated at 22%. Latinos comprise the fastest growing segment of the Muslim American population,” said the analysis.
“Given the tremendous internal diversity of this demographic, the range of issues that comprise the domain of political concern to Muslim Americans is broad. The commonly held stereotype that Muslim Americans are only concerned with foreign policy issues glosses over the immediate interests of African American, white Muslim Americans and the fast growing population of second-generation American Muslims.”
The writers added that their endorsement of Sanders is fundamentally driven by core Islamic principles of justice, peace, and equality. “As stated in our scripture, O you who believe, stand firmly for justice, as witnesses to God, even if it be against your own selves. [Quran 4:135]. This and countless other verses and Prophetic traditions enjoin Muslims to stand for justice, to end oppression and inequality, and to strive for peace wherever possible.”
They also examined a number of domestic and foreign policy issues that directly impact vulnerable and sidelined segments of the Muslim American population as well as policies that shape the trajectory of the entire nation and world.
“These are positions that supersede rhetoric, but specifically, are closely aligned with Muslim American interests when pitted against Hillary Clinton and, to a greater extent, the Republican candidates. Please see our analysis of these issues, such as education, foreign policy, and income inequality, by viewing the longer version of this letter here,” added the article.
Mentioning that Sanders is neither a messianic candidate nor the lesser of two evils, the authors said: “ We recognise the imperfect nature of the two-party system. But within this system, Sanders represents far and away the best prospect for achieving social justice in our domestic policy, and minimising the harm that the American Empire can cause at a world scale.
“Muslim American Congressman Keith Ellison believes so, as does public intellectual Hamid Dabashi, basketball icon Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, and some of the leading champions of religiously based social justice such as Cornel West.”
“We endorse Bernie Sanders for President. And hope that Muslim Americans, at this critical juncture, do the same.”