In an attempt to silence rumors that he is secretly a Muslim, two Barack Obama campaign volunteers prevented two women wearing headscarves from appearing in a picture with him at a Monday campaign rally. Reacting to the news, the Council on American-Islamic Relations told CNA that they are asking for Obama to invite the women to another rally.
According to news reports, Aref Koussan and Shimaa Abdelfadeel were prohibited from sitting behind Barack Obama’s podium so that they wouldn’t appear in photographs or on television in their hijabs (Islamic headscarves) with the presidential candidate.
Although, Obama’s campaign has apologized to the women, both Obama supporters say that the way that they were treated at the rally left them feeling betrayed.
“This is of course not the policy of the campaign. It is offensive and counter to Obama’s commitment to bring Americans together and simply not the kind of campaign we run,” said Obama spokesman Bill Burton. “We sincerely apologize for the behavior of these volunteers.”
The Council on American-Islamic Relations’ (CAIR) National Legislative Director Corey Saylor responded to the situation by saying, "We welcome the campaign's apology and urge candidates of all parties not to give in to pressure from the vocal minority of Islamophobes in our society that seeks to stigmatize Islam and marginalize American Muslims.”
"All presidential campaigns need to clearly answer the question: Should American Muslims be marginalized from their country's political process simply because of their faith?" Saylor added.
Speaking with CNA about the issue, CAIR spokesman Ibrahim Hooper said that they are urging Sen. Barack Obama to invite the two Muslim women to an upcoming campaign event.