Published On:13 November 2012
Posted by Indian Muslim Observer

Why American Jews and Muslims backed Obama by huge margins

By Marc Schneier and Shamsi Ali

In addition to having similar dietary laws, customs and rituals, we found out on Nov. 6 that American Jews and American Muslims have another thing in common; each community gave 70 percent or more of its vote during Tuesday’s presidential election to President Obama.

According to two national exit polls, about 70 percent of American Jews supported President Obama over Republican candidate Mitt Romney. A poll conducted in the Muslim community in late October showed that 68 percent of American Muslims backed Obama.

What do these similar vote totals in support of President Obama say about our two communities? First, the results show that majorities of American Jews and American Muslims support President Obama’s vision of an inclusive society where people of all ethnic and religious backgrounds have a chance to succeed. Jews and Muslims alike embrace the vision the president has articulated that “we are all in this together” and that government—as well as religious communities--should be ready and willing to extend a helping hand to members of our society in desperate need.

Both Islam and Judaism contain the injunction: If you save one life, it is as though you have saved the entire world. It is a vision that resonates in the ethic of interdependence and mutual support that President Obama embodies.

It is the common moral imperative to repair the world, which Jews call tikkun olam and Muslims call islah, that has inspired Muslims and Jews in 16 cities across the United States, Canada and Britain to schedule joint Feeding the Hungry and Homeless Together events on Nov. 18 and on ensuing days. These programs are highlights of the Weekend of Twinning, an annual event created by the Foundation for Ethnic Understanding and held every November during which more than 250 Muslim and Jewish congregations and organizations hold joint events involving thousands of Jews and Muslims in 26 countries.

There is, however, a second reason for the overwhelming support for Obama among American Jews and Muslims; namely that both communities strongly reject the anti-Muslim rhetoric articulated by prominent Republicans during the past several years. For example, national Republican leaders shamelessly demagogued the bogus “Ground Zero mosque” controversy of 2010 and held congressional hearings in 2011 based on the false claim that 80 percent of American mosques support Islamic radicalism. This year some Republican congressional leaders also claimed the Muslim Brotherhood had infiltrated the U.S. State Department, while Republican-controlled legislatures in states such as Oklahoma and Kansas passed wholly unnecessary and unconstitutional bans on sharia (Islamic) law.

Despite loud and well-funded efforts to enlist the Jewish community in the Islamophobia campaign of recent years, the majority of American Jews have emphatically rejected it. They have done so because they view demonizing adherents of another faith as contrary to basic Jewish moral values of tolerance and compassion and a violation of Biblical injunctions such as “welcome the stranger.” Also, retaining a searing historical memory of having endured centuries of anti-Semitism which culminated in the Holocaust, Jews feel in their kishkes (guts) that if another religious or ethnic group is attacked today, they themselves may be targeted tomorrow.

Over the past five years, the two of us have successfully brought together Muslims and Jews in North America and Europe as part of a long term effort to build a movement of Muslims and Jews committed to communication, reconciliation and cooperation. We are hopeful in the wake of President Obama’s electoral victory that, after some dark days, America’s celebration of racial, ethnic and religious diversity is reasserting itself. That is a development from which both of our communities can take heart and celebrate together.

(Courtesy: The Washington Post)

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Posted by Indian Muslim Observer on November 13, 2012. Filed under , , , . You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Feel free to leave a response

By Indian Muslim Observer on November 13, 2012. Filed under , , , . Follow any responses to the RSS 2.0. Leave a response

1 comments for "Why American Jews and Muslims backed Obama by huge margins"

  1. Republicans prior to the General presidential election claimed wholeheartedly that American Jews and many American Arabs would vote Republican. They goofed there. What does all this mean? It means racism among the Anglo-races in America, the South mainly, is slowly being put down by egalitarianism for the sake of a cohesive, 'One America'. If the President can bring the unemployment rate down to below five percent, this vision or ideology will be achieved. White racist’s conservative Republicans who hate the idea of another four years of an American of African descent occupying the White House, ought to face facts. The world itself is becoming less ethnocentric and more multicultural, and certainly does not spell the end of the world. Albeit, for White rule in America... it might....

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