As Muslims, they have had a very different experience. Smear campaign tactics have referred to Obama’s name and linked it with their religion. “They’ve said he’s a terrorist because he’s a Muslim just like you,” says Bushra Naz, an undergrad at MU.
“It has almost becoming a dirty word to be Muslim,” Bushra states. But there have been attempts at controlling the spread of this negative stigma.
Farah Naz feels that Colin Powell’s statement endorsing Obama was one of the best she heard. The other three girls agree. According to them, the issue of religion wasn’t handled in the “typical reporter” way.
“Colin Powell said that while the answer to whether or not Obama was Muslim was no, the correct answer was that it doesn’t matter. He said that Muslim’s are a part of our country and what we stand for. They are overseas fighting for us, for our country.”
“They say there’s a separation between church and state, but they are still affiliated,” says Sahar. “We mention a candidates race and gender, and we might as well include religion as well. Fifty years ago Kennedy being a Catholic was talked about, If it wasn’t about being Muslim, it would be something else” she says.
According to Sahar, people get hung up on certain aspects of a candidate that might be unfamiliar to them. She feels they need to move on. “He could be named Tom,” she says. “It wouldn’t make him a better or worse leader.”