Barack Obama’s campaign, welcomed by Muslim Americans as a harbinger of religious tolerance and a more diplomatic foreign policy, has been reluctant to return their enthusiasm, the New York Times reports, leaving some leaders disappointed and angry. The candidate has appeared at churches and synagogues, but no mosques; aides asked the country's first Muslim congressman not to campaign for him; and campaign volunteers barred Muslim women wearing headscarves from standing behind Obama at a rally.
Leading Muslim Obama backers acknowledge that fears among some Americans may force him to keep his distance, but “the community feels betrayed,” says an analyst. Staffers counter that the campaign is inclusive, noting Obama’s radio ad for another Muslim congressman and his meeting with a Michigan mosque leader. Muslims, with populations in a number of swing states, could be a key bloc for both Obama and John McCain in November, the Times notes.