So the #MuslimMeeting has neo-cons and other assorted Islamophobes going haywire. Although it would be an understatement to say the Obama administration has a complicated relationship with the American Muslim community especially on civil liberties and foreign policy. Nonetheless this is a good effort to reach out to a diverse array of individuals from the American Muslim community.
Muslims Infiltrate the White House! Me Included!
I was one of the 14 ‘Muslim-American leaders’ invited to meet with President Obama on Wednesday afternoon. Here’s what it was like.
By: Dean Obeidallah
I can’t believe it but Louie Gohmert and Michele Bachmann were right after all. Muslims have infiltrated the White House—and at the highest levels. Sharia law can’t be far behind, so I hope you like turkey bacon and non-alcoholic beer because that’s all you will be getting once these Muslims have their say.
What am I talking about? Well, on Wednesday, I was one of 14 Muslim-American leaders to attend a one-hour meeting with President Obama at the White House. I must admit I was thrilled at the prospect of actually having a conversation with the president about issues of concern to our community.
Once I was in The White House, two main thoughts came to mind. First, it looks just like House of Cards. I kept waiting for Frank Underwood to walk out and share his plans for world domination.
And secondly, after I sat down in the Roosevelt Room and observed the glasses and plates that bore the White House insignia, I immediately began plotting how to sneak one out with me. Seriously, you would’ve had the same thoughts if you saw it. They are really impressive/cool. (No plates or cups were ultimately stolen.)
In any event, why was this meeting happening? Farhana Khera, a lawyer and executive director of Muslim Advocates, who spearheaded the effort, explained, “We’ve been asking for a meeting with the president since he came to office.”
Now, that doesn’t mean that there aren’t Muslim-American leaders who have an ongoing working relationship with the administration. But there has never been a meeting with leaders from around the country with Obama before this. (And just so it’s clear, there are many other great Muslim-American leaders other than just the 14 at this meeting, but the White House wanted to keep this event small to encourage a discussion.)
So what happened at this meeting? Well, I’m happy to announce that I’m now the new ambassador to the United Kingdom. OK, not exactly. In fact, there are certain ground rules to these meetings, so I can’t disclose everything.
List of those who attended:
Diego Arancibia, board member and associate director of the Ta’leef Collective; Azhar Azeez, president of the Islamic Society of North America; Maya Berry, executive director of the Arab American Institute; Hoda Elshishtawy, Muslim Public Affairs Council; Rahat Husain, Universal Muslim Association of America; Farhana Khera, president of Muslim Advocates; Dr. Sherman Jackson, professor of religion and American Studies and Ethnicity at the University of Southern California; Farhan Latif, chief operating officer, Institute of Policy and Understanding; Imam Mohamed Magid, representative of the Adams Center; Haroon Mokhtarzada, CEO of Webs; Kameelah Mu’Min Rashad, Muslim chaplain at the University of Pennsylvania; Dean Obeidallah, comedian; Bilqis “Qisi” Abdul-Qaadir, director of women’s basketball operations at Indiana State University; Arshia Wajid, founder of American Muslim Health Professionals.