ROMNEY’S FEAR OF THE ‘M-WORD’
(Washington, DC - 11/29/07)—Republican Presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s comments earlier this week in which he ruled out the possibility of hiring a Muslim to a Cabinet level position are just the latest in a disappointing and offensive track record among presidential hopefuls.
“Not only are Mr. Romney’s comments prejudicial rather than presidential in their tone, but they violate the equal opportunity that is supposed to be afforded to all Americans,” said MPAC Executive Director Salam Al-Marayati. “The most qualified person should be appointed, regardless of race, religion or gender. We would assume that Mr. Romney would agree with that as a Mormon running for President.”
As reported by columnist Mansoor Ijaz in the Christian Science Monitor, Romney said, “Based on the numbers of American Muslims who live in our population, I cannot see that a Cabinet position would be justified. But of course, I would imagine that Muslim advisers could serve at lower levels of my administration.”
It’s time for all presidential candidates to condemn Islamophobia in the U.S. presidential campaigns. It is also time to end the hypocrisy, whereby these candidates solicit the financial support of Muslim Americans in private gatherings but fail to discuss the positive contributions of Muslim Americans in their public appearances.
Al-Marayati is featured in a PBS Religion & Ethics Newsweekly blog today which examines Muslim American participation in the upcoming presidential election. In the interview, Al-Marayati describes how Muslim Americans are increasingly becoming part of the American political process, but stresses that many are frustrated that candidates aren’t more open about accepting Muslim support.
SEE: “Salam Al-Marayati: Candidates Should Seek Muslim Support” (PBS Religion & Ethics Newsweekly, 11/29/07)
Mr. Romney is certainly not the first candidate to express concern about Muslim Americans participation in the political process or in public life. Last month, John McCain (R-AZ) told BeliefNet.com that the prospect of a Muslim in the White House makes him “uncomfortable”. In September, Rudy Guiliani’s (R-NY) political advisor Congressman Peter King (R-NY) said “unfortunately, there are too many mosques in this country” and accused Muslim Americans of not fully cooperating with law enforcement.
Founded in 1988, the Muslim Public Affairs Council is an American institution which informs and shapes public opinion and policy by serving as a trusted resource to decision makers in government, media and policy institutions. MPAC is also committed to developing leaders with the purpose of enhancing the political and civic participation of Muslim Americans.