Watch for Mitt Romney to play the anti-Muslim card against President Obama.

During the primaries, several Republican candidates pandered to their nativist constituencies by mouthing anti-Muslim slurs.

Newt Gingrich stated that ”Shariah is a mortal threat to the survival of freedom in the United States and in the world as we know it,” and he expressed his worry that the United States could become “a secular atheist country … potentially one dominated by radical Islamists” in the foreseeable future.

Rick Santorum said he supported the racial profiling of Muslims by law enforcement agencies. ”Obviously, Muslims would be someone you look at, absolutely,” said Santorum during one debate.

Herman Cain said Americans had the right to ban mosques in their communities, and he admitted he would not appoint a Muslim to his cabinet.

Neither would Romney.

During his last presidential run he said he would not appoint a Muslim to his presidential cabinet since “based on the numbers of American Muslims in our population” as a percentage, “I cannot see that a cabinet position would be justified.”

That is pretty big talk coming from Romney since he's a Mormon, and Mormons account for only about 2 percent of the total American population — almost the same percentage as American Muslims.

But he will be under a lot of pressure from social conservatives to hype the anti-Muslim rhetoric.

After all, Republicans did it the last time around.

A mere four years ago, certain elements of the Republican Party repeatedly painted Barack Obama as some kind of crypto-Muslim Manchurian candidate. To avoid any blowback, then-candidate Obama never once went within 12 feet of an American mosque entrance during his campaign (and still has not visited one to this day). The issue became so toxic that in June 2008, two women were removed from an Obama rally photo opportunity simply because they wore the hijab (or headscarf).

President Obama should stop bypassing mosques and should call out this bigotry for what it is.

And Romney, as a member of a religious minority, should rise to the defense of Muslim-Americans rather than stoop to slurring them.

Arsalan Iftikhar is an international human rights lawyer, founder of and author of "Islamic Pacifism: Global Muslims in the Post-Osama Era." He can be reached at

You can read more pieces from The Progressive Media Project by clicking here.

Add new comment

By submitting this form, you accept the Mollom privacy policy.


It's finally setting in: Trump is Trump and he’s not going to change because of winning the nomination.

The new head of the Environmental Protection has a history of suing the agency for trying to do its job.

By Wendell Berry

Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front

Love the quick profit, the annual raise,
vacation with pay. Want more 
of everything ready made. Be afraid 
to know your neighbors and to die.
And you will have a window in your head.
Not even your future will be a mystery 
any more. Your mind will be punched in a card 
and shut away in a little drawer.
When they want you to buy something 
they will call you. When they want you
to die for profit they will let you know. 
So, friends, every day do something
that won’t compute. Love the Lord. 
Love the world. Work for nothing. 
Take all that you have and be poor.
Love someone who does not deserve it. 
Denounce the government and embrace 
the flag. Hope to live in that free 
republic for which it stands. 
Give your approval to all you cannot
understand. Praise ignorance, for what man 
has not encountered he has not destroyed.
Ask the questions that have no answers. 
Invest in the millennium. Plant sequoias.
Say that your main crop is the forest
that you did not plant,
that you will not live to harvest.

Say that the leaves are harvested 
when they have rotted into the mold.
Call that profit. Prophesy such returns.
Put your faith in the two inches of humus 
that will build under the trees
every thousand years.
Listen to carrion—put your ear
close, and hear the faint chattering
of the songs that are to come. 
Expect the end of the world. Laugh. 
Laughter is immeasurable. Be joyful
though you have considered all the facts. 
So long as women do not go cheap 
for power, please women more than men.
Ask yourself: Will this satisfy 
a woman satisfied to bear a child?
Will this disturb the sleep 
of a woman near to giving birth? 
Go with your love to the fields.
Lie easy in the shade. Rest your head 
in her lap. Swear allegiance 
to what is nighest your thoughts.
As soon as the generals and the politicos 
can predict the motions of your mind, 
lose it. Leave it as a sign 
to mark the false trail, the way 
you didn’t go. Be like the fox 
who makes more tracks than necessary, 
some in the wrong direction.
Practice resurrection.

Wendell Berry is a poet, farmer, and environmentalist in Kentucky. This poem, first published in 1973, is reprinted by permission of the author and appears in his “New Collected Poems” (Counterpoint).

Public School Shakedown

Progressive Media Project