Studies have shown that more than 80% of American-Muslims (including myself) voted for Barack Obama in the presidential election. It is also known that the Palestinian issue is one of the most important issues to a lot of Muslim voters in America. For this reason I have said for months that the Muslim honeymoon with Obama will end once the Palestinian crisis flare up and Muslims find out he is more on the lines of another Bill Clinton than someone who can bring a just resolution to the conflict.
Personally I have no faith in the Obama Administration with regards to Palestine. He is first and foremost a politician who cut his teeth on the ethnic and neighborhood politics of Chicago. Politically, whether it be right or wrong, he will see no benefit in taking a more Pro-Palestinian stance while one-fifth of Democratic donors are Jewish and a pro-Israeli mainstream media would attack him if he took a more just stance. This is compounded by the fact that Hillary Clinton will be the Secretary of State and Dennis Ross will be her advisor.
We are getting a sneak preview now as Obama remains silent as Israel mercilessly attacks the people of Gaza militarily after systematically starving the people for months. This is contrasted by his forceful condemnation of the Mumbai attacks. Combine these two things with the fact that Obama has promised a fool-hearted increase in the number of American troops in Afghanistan to fight the insurgency (which itself is fueled by the occupation). All of this together means that as I am looking at it today Obama will be bad for most Muslims in most places in the world unless he can bring peace with Iran, Syria, and really leave Iraq.
So, why would I vote for someone who I think will be bad for most Muslims? Well, Obama may be bad for most Muslims but he is by a number of degrees better than a unilateralist and neo-conservative Republican Administration with Evangelical leanings would be.
But, even though I think Obama will be better, that is not why I voted for him. I knew that Obama would be no treat for Palestinians and Muslims worldwide. However, as I live in America and my family lives in America I had to vote for who would improve the condition for me, my family and the Muslims in America first and foremost. This means I had to focus on issues like healthcare, the economy education and other matters first. Just as the people in Gaza vote for who will do the best for them in their lives first I did the same thing here in America.
A lot of younger American-Muslims who have came of age in the post 9-11 world and do not have a great knowledge of history ( especially those whose parents were immigrants or apolitical) may get a rude awakening when they find out that the left is no greater a friend to the Muslims than the right. Historically, the international left has been very hostile to Islam and Muslims and Obama may fit into this pattern.
However, he may not, and Obama may bring a new way of looking at the world from the West as North America and Europe grapples wit the question of how to deal with a resurgent ummah poised to yield great power in the decades to come. It is my fear though that Obama will see Islam as a threat and not attack Muslims in the West through the police state tactics of Bush; but will use the power of NGO’s, the media, and academia to try and mold the Muslims into a less threatening community in a “soft crusade”. This can also be done through giving support to Muslim leaders and organizations who are either apolitical, making taqleed to corrupt scholars, or “progressives”.
Regardless as to what happens we should remember that our faith is in Allah and our example is that of the Messenger of Allah (s.a.s.) and the earliest generations of Muslims and that our friends are the believers and we cannot find a permanent ally in the left or right only a very temporary arrangement with either.