American Muslims and Kamala Harris

The number of Democrats who have thrown their hats in to run as President has already approached double digits or crossed it; its difficult to keep tab. So far the most impressive launch was Kamala Harris, who declared from a huge rally in her homeground, Oakland, California. It’s not hard to see more than a similarity with another hugely famous biracial candidate, Barak Obama, who declared in his homeground Illinois with much fanfare.

Everybody understands that Kamala Harris will be a formidable candidate. Apart from all her personal and professional qualifications, liberal America may just want to recitify the Trump presidency with another emphatic progressive statement.

However, for now I am curious about how Muslims in America will regard Kamala Harris. I find it interesting that several Muslims media personalities have been twitting about Harris with barely disguised antipathy and are quickly delving into oppo research of Harris’s background.

Ofcourse, any sober political observer understands that people like Mehdi Hassan are fanatics who cares for only one issue, how good is the candidate for global Muslims and the way to judge that is probably position on Israeli-Palestine issue. But I believe people like Mehdi Hassan and his cohort do not move in own ways. These guys either coordinate intesely or their ideological lodestar acts as an Schelling point for coordination.

I am curious to see if general American Muslims show hesitancy about Kamala Harris. If they do, what could be reason for such luckwarmth?


18 thoughts on “American Muslims and Kamala Harris”

  1. They say that she collected more donations in 24 hours than Sanders for a whole year. FiveThirtyEight asserts that she has good chances among Afro-American, Latino-American, Asian, born in late 90es and democrat-loyalists. The forecast is that she can win primaries. But now, when Hilary and probably Biden plan to contest the presidency, it is a bit uncertain. Obama named her ‘the most attractive US public attorney’ but he had to retract when was smacked by Michelle from the back side. In Sanskrit, her name means Lotus.

    1. Do south asian muslims (or raised in muslim household) have that high degree of jewish antipathy that other muslim communities have ? Like subcontinent doesn’t have that degree of either positive or negative experience with the jewish community(unlike parsis ). Racism i understand, but how do you sort of cultivate feelings (positive or negative) for someone who you might not meet ever.

      1. my personal exp. is that their antisemitism is sympathetic, not really about them. that is, they have issues with jews cuz arabs do cuz of israel. at my multiethnic masjid as a kid the vociferous and sincere jew-hatred came from arabs, often palestinians who were expelled from their lands. this percolated outward. the south asians tolerated it but they didn’t have ‘skin in the game’

        1. I think that South Asian Muslim Judophobia is real. Railing against Yehudi-Nasara is a staple in every Friday sermon in Masjids. They blame all the world’ evils, particularly the ones befalling upon Muslims on Yehudi-Nasara- America. More to the point they think it is the Yehudi’s who control the Nasara and America.

          Anti Jewish bigotry is very common even in public discourse at the highest level in Bangladesh.

          1. Yeah, its strange though. i was watching a documentary where the last Jewish burial place in Mumbai is just beside a Muslim one, and the caretaker happens to be a Muslim guy for both. Similarly in Kerala which has one of the highest percentage of muslim pops and has had some communal violence but has not turned towards its jewish places (probably has the highest number of synagogues and stuff).

            Just feel that Subcontinent folks dont understand anti semtisim in the same way they understand racism. That’s why i understand how they can love Israel and Hitler (which is used as an example for anti-semetism in India) simultaneously. I am not sure if Indian mosques have that degree of an “Judophobia” as Shafiq says. I could be wrong.

      2. Most Pakistanis have never met a Jew. I think the issue has more to do with the Israeli occupation of Palestine. What is really a political/nationalistic issue is looked at through a religious lens.

        There are people who quote various hadiths about how Muslims can never be friends with Jews. Which is of course quite bizarre because Muslim men are allowed to marry Jewish and Christian women without the women having to convert. If you can marry someone there is no reason you can’t be friends with them.

  2. How is concern about Harris’s record on criminal justice a reflection of Muslim antipathy? I haven’t been following US politics closely but it seems like that is a concern that many on the left have brought up.

    1. Concern about Harris’s past profession is not a problem in itself but must be seen in context. Muslim activists see people like Bernie Sanders, AOC as most global Muslim firendly major politicians. Do the muslim pack go into detailed oppo research and popularization of negative news of those Muslim-friendly politicians? Ever? Nope. They are the most stauch defenders of those friends through thick and thin. These guys are so set in their way that they can even act strategically. They moment they see a politician who is not sufficiently favorable to their tribe and may become obstackle to a more favorable politician, they go with everything they have.

      It’s purely my opinion but I think that Muslims in America distrust Indian (Hindu) origin politicians more than they do Jewish people. Bernie is ofcourse a famous example of a politician they love. Most western Muslims have gained this amount of sophistication that there are significant number of Jews who are universalist to the point of becoming own-tribe negating. Ofcourse they don’t appreciate such universalism among their own but they understand that these ‘cosmo Jews’ are for real.

    2. muslims as a whole on not really on the left tho. they are like black americans. very democratic. but not very ideological in a distinct way *except* for issues of concern to their community.

      i don’t think muslims have an issue with criminal justice because the profile of the community is middle class. it was only 18 years ago that gw bush probably won the muslim vote thanks to appealing to their middle class concerns and the specific issue of profiling in airports.

      1. Agreed. I would go further. Asian Muslim Americans tend to be pro cop:

        There are entire years in the US where no unarmed Asian Americans are killed by cops. Something like a dozen or so armed Asian Americans are killed by cops every year. Asian Americans commit violent crimes and are incarcerated at a small fraction the caucasian rate. [Note that American caucasians commit violent crimes and are imprisoned at a high rate.]

        Black Lives Matter was originally partly a reaction against Asian Americans and Latino Americans.

  3. South Asian muslim, specifically Pakistani Jewish hatred can be seen in the fact that during the terrorist attack on Mumbai, a suicide squad was sent to kill a Jewish family in Mumbai, while with the same resources hundreds of Hindus could have been killed. That shows the priority of their handlers in Pakistan ie ISI.

  4. I’ve seen exactly the same talk about Harris coming from non-Muslim leftists and progressives. What other well-known Muslims besides Hasan have conspicuously criticized her? What makes you think this is a Muslim rather than hardcore left thing?

    1. Francinicus, there are closet Islamists who push an Islamist agenda. They are often inauthentic and attack their foes indirectly on seemingly unrelated issues. They often tend to be quite anti “pagan” (including anti eastern philosophy — Hindu Buddhist Jain Sikh Taoist) and anti Jewish.

      I have not seen evidence that Mehdi Hasan is a closet Islamist and am not sure why he is attacking Kamala. By contrast Linda Sarsour likely is an Islamist.

      Mehdi Hasan is not a hardcore leftist.


      Shafiq R, what you say about anti Jewish sentiment in Bangladesh is shocking. Indian muslims tend to be pro Jewish and pro Israeli. [Probably over a third of India’s muslims are sufi tilted or liberal.] Bangladeshi and Pakistani muslims were also pro Jewish pre 1947. It is sad that Islamist brainwashing has gone this far.

      I thought Bengali culture would fight imported Islamism and Jew hatred harder.

      Many muslims have said that the only country with a large muslim population where muslims feel safe and can freely practice their religion is India. [The US and Canada have small muslim populations. But I would add both of them too.]

      I long quibbled with this common saying, saying that muslims can also practice their religion in Indonesia, Malaysia and Turkey. But a lot of muslims disagree with me on this.

      Thank Allah that India protects the world’s remaining Sufi and Irfan lineages. Inshallah India will not betray and abandon them the way most of the rest of the world (including Europe) have.

  5. Razib, many baizuo (caucasian intelligentsia) are attacking Harris and Gabbard for Islamaphobia and anti Palestinian bigotry:

    [I didn’t bother watching.]

    I wonder how well this will play with the Democratic base? I think a Democrat who stands up to Islamists could win the Democratic primaries.

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