In the wake of the election, here is a brief post-election analysis by Ibrahim Abdil-Mu'id Ramey (Freedom Civil and Human Rights Director, Muslim American Society) that features some (if to my mind, not nearly enough) of the realism that should characterize American Muslims' response the President-Elect Obama's election. Here is an excerpt:
In the 2008 election campaign, it is clear that the convergence of shared interests within the Muslim community gave birth to larger, progressive collaborations with other political forces to help move the nation beyond the legacy of the Bush administration.
Yet more sobering realities remain.
While the Muslim community voted in large numbers, our impact on a possible shift in American foreign policy in the Middle East leaves something to be desired.
It is no secret that the policy statements from both President-Elect Obama concerning Israel and Palestine – especially Obama's recognition of Jerusalem as the de facto capital of Israel – reinforces the status quo of American regional foreign policy at the expense of a more even-handed and democratic discourse that recognizes not only Israeli security rights, but Palestinian national and human rights as well.
In the course of his marvelous campaign President-Elect Obama made a concerted effort to directly reassure Jewish voters of his sensitivity to their concerns; in comparison, however, Muslims received no such consideration.
There is also the question of challenges to the legitimacy of the American Muslim identity itself.
We remember that Obama campaign staff members removed Muslim women in hijab from a photograph with the candidate – an action that subsequently resulted in a public apology. However, the incident signaled to the Muslim community a "don't-get-too-close-to-Muslims" policy that may carry over into the Obama administration as positions of power are assigned.
Added to these concerns is the ambivalence shown by the Obama campaign on the issue of war in Iraq and Afghanistan.
President-Elect Obama's endorsement of American military strikes inside Pakistan raises enormous anxiety and concern for Muslim advocates who seek to demilitarize our foreign policy and create non-violent approaches to building new and better relationships with Iran, Pakistan, Iraq, Somalia, and other majority-Muslim states on the current American military target list.
The inimitable Imam Zaid Shakir has written another insightful piece on his blog about Muslims' political and strategic posture in this post-election period.