Tarry for the Nonce

June 18, 2008

Transcending Identity Politics . . . to a Point

Filed under: Politics — lmwalker @ 4:11 pm

The Obama campaign does not wish him to appear with women in hijab:

In Detroit on Monday . . . two different Obama volunteers — in separate incidents — made it clear that headscarves wouldn’t be in the picture. The volunteers gave different explanations for excluding the hijabs, one bluntly political and the other less clear . . .

The volunteer “explained to me that because of the political climate and what’s going on in the world and what’s going on with Muslim Americans, it’s not good for [Hebba Aref] to be seen on TV or associated with Obama,” said [friend Ali] Koussan, a law student at Wayne State University.

Shimaa Abdelfadeel’s story was different. She’d waited in line outside the Joe Louis Arena for three hours in the sun and was walking through the giant hall when a volunteer approached two of her non-Muslim friends, a few steps ahead of her, and asked if they’d like to sit in “special seating” behind the stage, said one friend, Brittany Marino, who, like Abdelfadeel, is a recent University of Michigan graduate who works for the university.

When they said they were with Abdelfadeel, the volunteer told them their friend would have to take off the headscarf or stay out of the special section, Marino said.

Obviously, after objections were raised, the campaign offered an apology to the two women. As Aref observed, however, I think the women are owed a personal apology from Obama.

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