Colin Powell did two things last week with which I strongly agree. He called Senator Barack Obama “a transformational figure” and endorsed his candidacy for the presidency. And he answered an emphatic “NO!” to a TV moderator’s question about whether there was something intrinsically un-American about being Muslim.
There is no doubt that some political partisans are desperately attempting to link the two things — Obama and Islam hoping to discourage the election of the one by spreading lies about the other.
One element of this cynical effort is an anti-Muslim movie being distributed by newsletter, newspaper, and direct mail in swing states, including Missouri. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch deserves credit for refusing to distribute a DVD of the movie — though dozens of other newspapers across the country did.
St. Louis has a large and valued community of Muslims. There is a minaret on the skyline of south St. Louis. Earlier this week, members of the St. Louis Interfaith Partnership assembled to denounce the movie saying that it contained lies and spread hate. At the same event, my friend Imam Muhamed Hasic of the Islamic Community Center noted that the movie said more about its makers than it did about Muslims. "They are trying to spread hate and intolerance in our communities," he said.
I share these St. Louisans’ outrage — and add my own endorsement and emphasis to Gen. Powell’s words.