America’s First Muslim President? Muslim-American cartoonist throws his Fez into the Ring
by Khalil Bendib
First Muslim American Ever to Run for President
“Muslim American cartoonist launches satirical campaign to make Americans question Islamophobic stereotypes”
What: Official kickoff of Khalil Bendib’s 2008 Presidential Campaign
Where: Mudrakers Cafe, 2801 Telegraph Avenue (at Stuart), in Berkeley
When: August 30, 7p.m.
Who: Khalil Bendib (will give a short speech followed by a Powerpoint presentation, Q and A and book signing)
Khalil Bendib is running as an independent candidate - not affiliated with any political party.
(Any one can run for president - and it’s been done to death, frankly - but how many can TWIRL for president?)
In a year when America may see—for the first time—either a woman president or a Black Leader of the Free World, what are the odds for a first-ever Muslim Commander-in-Chief?
After carefully testing the waters for months, the newly declared candidate (who, as an homage to the late Dr. Seuss, calls himself ½the Prez in the Fez,) today started pounding the pavement, mindful to not appear too stereotypically violent or too anti-pavement.
According to anonymous but reliable sources, turning swords into ploughshares will be at the heart of the candidate’s foreign policy. “Box cutters, machetes, Ginsu knives, we’ll turn any sharp cutting implements into organic- food cultivating instruments” declared the so-called Prez-in-the-Fez, whose campaign slogan is “The Pen is Funnier than the Sword”. According to Mr. Bendib, “Mirth Makes Right—not Might” and “Disarming the enemy through the power of laughter and good cheer” is the best defense. “Ours will be the funniest, most hilarious administration in American history,” asserts the candidate, with a straight face, no joke!
Some skeptics, however, claim that having turned the United States of America into the world’s laughingstock over the past seven years, the current administration may be a tough act to follow, comedically speaking. … How does Khalil Bendib propose to outdo the clowns currently occupying the White House?… The key, according to candidate Bendib, will be to “Make the rest of the world laugh with us, rather than laugh at us, as has been the case for the past decade or so.”
But beyond these facile generalities, critics are asking Bendib “Where is the beef ?” and—more importantly - “is it Halal (Kosher for Muslims)?” What follows are a few planks from the candidate’s presidential platform:
* On Government waste and Pork barrel spending : As a self-respecting Muslim, you can guess how I feel about PORK: I’m not exactly wild about it!...
* On Free Trade: The “Prez in the Fez” favors the free flow of Danish goods into America—except for Islamophobic cartoons, of course…
* On Education: “Pens not guns, books not bombs, Math Instruction not Mass Destruction.”
* On the Patriot Act: “Once elected, I will act like a patriot—and repeal the Patriot Act!”
* On the Use of Torture: In the candidate’s own words, ... If you absolutely HAVE to obtain information?..Tickle, dont Torture! Amuse, dont abuse!
* Be clever and cute, don’t electrocute!
* On Nuclear proliferation: Islam is a religion of Peace and America is a Peace-loving nation. Instead of bombing Iran, we will shame the Islamic Republic into voluntarily abandoning its nuclear ambitions. How? We’ll lead by example and demand the dismantlement of all nuclear weapons everywhere, starting with the world’s largest arsenal—our own—putting back the “non” into “non-proliferation.”
* Finally, on Guantanamo Bay: The candidate says: Render unto Fidel what belongs to Fidel, have the Cubans tear down the torture center and put in something more positive there—like a dental school or something!
Concludes Bendib, “Sadly, Islamophobia runs deep in America today and it has been cultivated as an excuse for preventive wars, domestic spying, torture, the suspension of Habeas Corpus and the erasure of so many of our most treasured constitutional freedoms. What better way to bring back our precious liberties and to rid us once and for all of the exaggerated fear of Islam than to elect America’s first Muslim president? In 1960, President Kennedy did not bring the Vatican into the white House, as initially feared, and in 2008 the Prez in the Fez will not bring Mecca into the Oval Office!” To paraphrase another great president before him, the Muslim candidate concludes: “The only thing we have to fear is the fear of Islamophobia itself!
God Bless America and Peace be Upon you!”
Khalil Bendib is the author of the new book of political cartoons, “Mission Accomplished.” He can be reached at http://www.bendib.com
Khalil Bendib is a Berkeley, CA-based award-winning cartoonist published in numerous small and mid-sized newspapers across the USA, as well as in The Black Commentator and various other online publications.
Born in North Africa under a colonialist French regime, Khalil brings a fresh, non-Eurocentric perspective and a unique voice not usually found in our large, corporate media, which have studiously censored, avoided and blacked it out.
His hard-hitting, myth-shattering, platitude-mocking cartoons rarely shy away from the truth, as they seek to expose the crude racial stereotypes, “diss-information” and info-tainment pabulum offered as gospel by our mass media.
In the proud tradition of genuine watchdog journalism, Khalil Bendib’s work aims to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable - and to give a voice to the voiceless.