Our First Muslim President

Colin Powell endorses Barack Obama:

“Well the correct answer, he is not a Muslim. He’s a Christian, he’s always been a Christian. But the really right answer is ‘what if he is?’ Is there something wrong with being a Muslim in this country? The answer is no, that’s not America.”

Thank you, Gen. Powell… Of course, if Bill Clinton was our first Black president, than Barack Hussein Obama can certainly be our first Muslim president. I am bursting with excitement at the thought. For the first time in the six years that I have been in Malaysia, I will know that there is a future for my children in the United States of America, and I will be able to hold my head up with pride as an American in this country. O Muslims! Cast your ballots on the 4th of November. My vote is in the mail, and it belongs to Barack Obama.


26 thoughts on “Our First Muslim President

  1. Isn’t it ironic, here in the self-declared ‘Islamic country’ of Malaysia, one of the popular questions now is ‘Can we have a non-Muslim premier?’

  2. For the first time in the six years that I have been in Malaysia, I will know that there is a future for my children in the United States of America, and I will be able to hold my head up with pride as an American in this country.

    I’m not there yet. I do hope that there can be a future for my child in the US, whether she chooses to take advantage of that or not, insha’allah, but I’m not convinced that an Obama win (and I do expect him to win, insha’allah) will begin to make everything right, at least in the short-term. Insha’allah.

  3. Contrary to what people think, even if Barack Obama is elected, he will NOT be America’s first BLACK president.

    Yeah, you heard me right.

    Instead he will be it’s first HALF-WHITE president.

    If you say he’s black means that you are 50% incorrect.

    If you say, he’s HALF-WHITE, then you are still 100% correct even if you neglected to mention his other half.

    I know he looks black but I look like Brad Pitt’s twin brother. It still does not mean that I’m Brad Pitt’s twin brother.

  4. Does one have to be “100%” black to identify as black? I have a friend who would surely beg to differ; she’s 3/4 white, 1/4 black, but she looks black and she identifies as a black. I’m sure she would rightly say that the percentages don’t matter; what matters is personal identification.

    Besides, as Toni Morrison pointed out back in ’98, Bill Clinton was our first black president. 😉

  5. Right, I’m not quite sure where Benmaarof was taking his argument. Race is not a universal concept; it does not mean the same thing in different countries. Obama is surely black in every sense that matters in the US, thanks to the legacy of the One Drop Rule, regardless of his white mother or his immigrant father. If, on the other hand, you were making the point that Obama is able to see beyond narrow racial categories by virtue of his upbringing (or that racial categories are of themselves problematic) I’d say you’re absolutely correct. His multicultural background is one reason why he’s been able to unite the country as much as he has, oddly enough.

    Here in Malaysia, race is just as silly a concept, just as ill-fitting. There are, or were at the time of independence, Chinese who did not share a common language, religion, geographic origin or local history, but they have all been lumped together as Chinese. The same is more or less true of Indians and even Malays. When you add the bumiputra layer on top, you wind up with a hodge-podge of categories and classes that are intellectually indefensible. You can have full-blooded chinese who are bumiputra, full-blooded malays who are not bumiputra, and even, my favorite, full-blooded chinese who are malay. Some of my children are bumiputra, while the others are not, although their “blood” or their “percentages”, and therefore their race are precisely the same. Bonus points to any Malaysian who can figure out how that can happen…

  6. \”My vote is in the mail, and it belongs to Barack Obama\”

    Do Muslims agree that abortion is ok????
    Or maybe just for American babies???

  7. …and even, my favorite, full-blooded chinese who are malay.

    Some S’porean Malays have told me that in Malaysia I would now be considered a Malay as well, but no one’s ever explained this in any way that makes sense. Can you? And here I thought I was just another white Muslim guy who married a Malay woman, like you. 😉

    Some of my children are bumiputra, while the others are not…

    How so?

    Pics or it didn’t happen 😉

    LOL!!!

  8. full-blooded chinese who are malay – that would be chinese babies who are adopted. I don’t know what the official rules are for adoption nowadays, now that recordkeeping is much more systematic, but there are certainly any number of adult ethnic chinese adoptees who are officially Malay.

    Some of my children are bumiputra, while the others are not…
    This one I’m going to hold onto till I get some more guesses…

  9. I’m not sure what your friends are getting at, JD, but us husbands of malays are not malay in the eyes of the law, nor are wives, although we could be said colloquially to have “masuk melayu”. In fact, it is unclear whether our children our malay. Ethnicity is assumed to follow the father, so that would make our kids “european”. But the wrinkle is that the child’s birth certificate does not record race: it records the race of the father and the mother, but not that of the child. What the implication is for the law, I really haven’t discovered. I suppose I will find out when my children go to make their identity cards, which will state their race.

    Of course, to complicate things further, race is not precisely the same thing as bumiputra status. Bumiputra status is actually where the rubber meets the road, because race does not have real-world implications, whereas bumiputra status does (bumis get a wide range of affirmative-action-style benefits). So yeah. It’s a good thing that everything works here in practice, because in theory …

  10. Do Muslims agree that abortion is ok????
    Or maybe just for American babies???

    You know, whomever, you’re kind of on to something there. What I would choose to practice in my personal life as a muslim is not necessarily what I would recommend as public policy for a diverse nation of 300 million. Drinking is against the law for me as a muslim but I won’t hold it against Obama for being pro-legalized-booze.

  11. Just stumbled on this piece by Glenn C. Loury: The Call of the Tribe:
    This was my earliest glimpse of the truth that racial identity in America necessarily involves an irreducible element of personal choice.

    It’s a bit heavy reading, but speaks to Benmaarof’s first comment fairly well.

  12. Whomever, abuse is unwelcome here, particularly anonymous abuse. You can come back when you have a name, a valid email address and a more pleasant disposition.

  13. But the wrinkle is that the child’s birth certificate does not record race:

    When A’ishah had jaundice just after birth, we had to take her several times to the polyclinic for blood tests; on her polyclinic card (which all of us here more or less have), she was listed as being “Caucasian.” That was a bit of a blow for Milady, who, while knowing that it would read that way, was still a little disappointed that A’ishah wasn’t listed as Malay anyway. Personally, I view A’ishah prolly like you do your own kids, half-and-half and, insha’allah, gaining the best from both worlds.

    @ Whomever: Generally speaking, Muslims don’t support abortion except for cases of rape, incest, and to save the life of the mother. But, unlike you, apparently, we haven’t made abortion the litmus test for deciding on political candidates. As practicing Muslims following Islam, the middle way, there are some issues that make us supportive of the left and other issues that supportive of the right. For most American Muslims we have swung our support to the left, and the right is very much to blame for a lot of people voting for the Democrats. So take a good long, hard look in the mirror next time before you cast your aspersions on the Muslim community.

  14. Peace be upon Americans

    May God bless USA…

    Who is Black without White…
    Who is White without Black…

    We are Human Race…
    Don’t let the Animal Race laughing…
    Don’t let the Evil cheering…

    Peace be upon Barrack Hussein Obama II
    We pray for your victory

    (from us in Malaysia, South East Asia)

  15. Sorry, late comer to this thread.
    Re: race in Malaysia

    I thought the child always follow the race of the father. There was my mother’s in Ipoh student whose father is Indian and mother a malay. She was ‘classified’ as an Indian. Then again there is our thespian Amir Muhammad who was classified as Malay. Not to mention Tun Mahathir. A school friend who has a Javanese dad and a Chinese mum was classified as Malay although a Javanese is not necessarily a muslim nor do the cultural practices particularly Malay Malaysian and they speak Javanese.

    “Bonus points to any Malaysian who can figure out how that can happen… ”

    Elementary, my dear Watson (or is it, bin Gregory?) when it comes to Malaysia, theory and practice are strange bedfellows.

  16. And this is why race-based politics are useless at best.

    My parents are Bangladeshi migrants and I was born and brought up in Malaysia. NOBODY knows what to do with me – especially since we’re all legally Muslim and permanent residents (which just flummoxes them further). I’m usually tossed into “Lain Lain” [other], but some places don’t even have a “Lain Lain” box. One time in school one teacher wanted to classify me as “Malay” and remarked “Of course Malay, I won’t put you as Indian!” – even though culturally I was more Indian than Malay! MayBank has me as bumiputera, which is ironic given my non-citizenship and my general treatment of being a third-class “citizen” 😛

    I have a friend who’s Indian, but because she’s Sikh she’s considered “Lain Lain” at school. Which makes no sense to me. I’m guessing your children are classified as different things depending on which administrative body deals with them?

  17. I’m guessing your children are classified as different things depending on which administrative body deals with them?

    Yes, and in some cases the same administrative body deals with each of my children differently! That’s the one that’s utterly strange. According to the rules of the nation’s largest public university, which shall remain unnamed for google’s sake, some of my children are bumi and some are not. It works like this: to be admitted, one must be bumi. Whether or not you are bumi is based on your state of birth. In West Malaysia, if one parent is a bumi, the child is bumi. In Sabah, if the father is bumi, the child is bumi, irrespective of the mother. In Sarawak, the mother and father both must be bumi to confer bumiputra status on the child. Thus, my two oldest children, born in West Malaysia, are bumiputra, while the four born in Sarawak are not! 😀

    What is still unknown to me is whether this is the metric that all institutions use to determine bumi status, or whether each administrative body uses different rules. Could it really be that a person could be bumi for university admission but not for land purchases? Or bumi for state scholarships but not for government investments (ASNB)? It boggles the mind. Personally, I’m not concerned for my children’s sake. I assume they will be able to succeed on their own regardless of what NEP benefits they are given or denied. There’s plenty of opportunity in this country. But it is amazing to think that there is no single nationwide ruling for determining such a fundamental aspect of citizenship.

  18. I believe if you married a malay and become a muslim, and your children is considered as a malay and get the bumiputera status and the previlage.That is the government policy. You have to understand the history of Malaysia.
    No worry. Even the malays in malaysia are not a true malay. We come from everywhere. I am not a true Malay either. My dad is a Siam , and my mother is a Paskitanist. But I been consider as a Malay instead of Paki-Siam. The formula is that, as long as we were Muslims, we were consider Malays. Because in Malaysia at “that” time ,Muslims is Malays and Malays is Muslims. Like I said before. You have to know the history.

  19. Could it really be that a person could be bumi for university admission but not for land purchases? Or bumi for state scholarships but not for government investments (ASNB)?

    I’m Bumi for MayBank and for anyone that doesn’t understand the concept of “permanent resident” or “Bangladeshi”. In all else I am nobody. So yes, it does happen.

  20. The formula is that, as long as we were Muslims, we were consider Malays.

    I think this is the reason why the Singaporean Muslim Malays were telling me (in my 10/29 comment) that I, a white Muslim, would be considered Malay if I lived in Malaysia.

  21. @benmaar – it would seem that your modus operandi in this case would Jim Crowism of a different breed, but same intention. While Barack may indeed be half-white, he identifies as a Blackamerican.

    Secondly, the notion that all other Blackamericans are some how of “pure blood”. This is bonk, as most of us coming out of the Blackamerican experience have full knowledge that we are a mix of other elasticities ranging from European, Indigenous American, Jewish and otherwise. Nonetheless, this has not detracted from our sense of blackness [as if being white connotes some sense of racial purity as well…].

    And lastly, I would assert that your allegations are to simply undermine the accomplishment and significance of the first Blackamerican president in the history of the United States. With Barack’s victory have come the nay-sayers, crawling out from under the rocks and wood work to try and downplay or neutralize a moment of national celebration for, but not exclusively, for Blackamericans. You comments are both uneducated, arrogant and most certainly suspicious of an alternate agenda.

    Like it or not, Barack IS the first Blackamerican president and al-Hamdulillah for that.

  22. Urm, this is taken from the Malaysian constitution (from Wikisource):

    “Malay” means a person who professes the religion of Islam, habitually speaks the Malay language, conforms to Malay custom and –

    (a) was before Merdeka Day born in the Federation or in Singapore or born of parents one of whom was born in the Federation or in Singapore, or is on that day domiciled in the Federation or in Singapore; or

    (b) is the issue of such a person

  23. Assalamu’alaikum

    I saw that photograph of the tombstone of a Muslim who was involved in “Operation Iraqi Freedom”. In Islam, a Muslim cannot take up arms against other Muslims.

    If they do, they go to hell. There’s a Hadith about that.

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