And this is why, when Michelle Obama appeared at Carnegie Mellon University prior to the Pennsylvania Democratic Primary election last April, the campaign staffers made for certain that there were lots of white folks on the platform behind her. Hillary Clinton was walloping Barack Obama in the polls among white voters (she went on to wallop him among white voters in the election), and Team Obama needed to convey the image that, despite his being black, white voters still go for Barack.
And the Obama gang was doing its job last Monday in Detroit. That meant no women in Muslim-looking head gear on camera with the candidate. Why? For one thing, Obama is fighting the perception that he is, himself, a Muslim. Similarly, the imagery of Muslim-looking women and men symbolizes terrorism in the minds of many Americans. Obama cannot appear as though he’s being friendly, or accommodating, with terrorists.
So two Muslim women were denied the privilege of appearing on camera with Obama, and they apparently went about pitching a fit. And right then and there, even as Obama was delivering his speech at Joe Louis Arena Monday - - Sharif Aref , the brother of Hebba Aref, one of the snubbed Muslim women, was speaking on microphone to reporters, delivering a well-crafted message about the incident that boiled-down to three parts: A) This incident is out of character for Obama, because he has run on a platform of uniting all Americans; B) This incident has happened because Obama is trying to dispel the myth that he is a Muslim and, therefore, is distancing himself from Muslims; and C) We (whoever “We” might include) still support Obama, but he needs to apologize to “us.”
After Monday’s event, the news spread among America‘s Muslim activists, and by Thursday, Obama had personally telephoned both women, Hebba Aref and Shimaa Abdelfadeel, and apologized. On Friday, Hebba Aref told the Detroit Free Press that she had accepted Obama’s apology, and that she was looking forward to sitting on stage with him at a future event.
But what exactly was Obama apologizing for? And who are these people - - the Muslim activists - - who believe that they are entitled to appear on stage with a presidential candidate?
This incident gives every appearance of having been a “set-up:” The women dressed so as to overtly appear Muslim; they got denied the right to appear with Obama; and then they became outraged and started demanding things from Obama.
The worst part of this is that Obama acquiesced, and offered his apology when he had done nothing wrong.
The next U.S. President will face untold challenges and “set-ups” from Muslims, both domestically and abroad. If candidate Obama is so willing to meet Muslim demands in a situation as absurd as this one, how quick would President Obama be to meet Muslim demands when the stakes are higher?
Austin Hill is an Author, Consultant, and Host of "Austin Hill's Big World of Small Business," a syndicated talk show about small business ownership and entrepreneurship. He is Co-Author of the new release "The Virtues Of Capitalism: A Moral Case For Free Markets." , Author of "White House Confidential: The Little Book Of Weird Presidential History," and a frequent guest host for Washington, DC's 105.9 WMAL Talk Radio.