The photo above, which ran in a New Yorker photo essay called "Service" and shows Elsheba Khan, an Indo-Caribbean immigrant from Trinidad at the grave of her son, Kareem Khan. The photo was cited by former secretary of state Gen. Colin Powell during his endorsement of Barack Obama on this week's "Meet the Press" (video clip below).
Here's how SAJAer and St. Louis Post-Dispatch columnist Aisha Sultan described the TV moment:
And then he reminded us of an American hero:
In the NYT, Maureen Dowd wrote a column called "Moved by a Crescent." She started by listing several things that "bugged" Powell about the Republican Party, then went on to say:
“I stared at it for an hour,” he told me. “Who could debate that this kid lying in Arlington with Christian and Jewish and nondenominational buddies was not a fine American?
His obituary in The Star-Ledger of Newark said that he had sent his family back pictures of himself playing soccer with Iraqi children and hugging a smiling young Iraqi boy.
His father said Kareem had been eager to enlist since he was 14 and was outraged by the 9/11 attacks. “His Muslim faith did not make him not want to go,” Feroze Khan, told The Gannett News Service after his son died. “He looked at it that he’s American and he has a job to do.”
In a gratifying “have you no sense of decency, Sir and Madam?” moment, Colin Powell went on “Meet the Press” on Sunday and talked about Khan, and the unseemly ways John McCain and Palin have been polarizing the country to try to get elected. It was a tonic to hear someone push back so clearly on ugly innuendo.
Even the Obama campaign has shied away from Muslims. The candidate has gone to synagogues but no mosques, and the campaign was embarrassed when it turned out that two young women in headscarves had not been allowed to stand behind Obama during a speech in Detroit because aides did not want them in the TV shot.
The former secretary of state has dealt with prejudice in his life, in and out of the Army, and he is keenly aware of how many millions of Muslims around the world are being offended by the slimy tenor of the race against Obama.
He told Tom Brokaw that he was troubled by what other Republicans, not McCain, had said: “ ‘Well, you know that Mr. Obama is a Muslim.’ Well, the correct answer is, he is not a Muslim. He’s a Christian. He’s always been a Christian. But the really right answer is, what if he is? Is there something wrong with being a Muslim in this country? The answer’s no. That’s not America. Is something wrong with some 7-year-old Muslim-American kid believing that he or she could be president?”
More on Specialist Khan:
- Online photo gallery from Arlington Cemetery
- An NFL fan's triubute
- NYT blog The Lede" writes about Khan
- Newark Star-Ledger coverage
- Guestbook in his memory
Here's how the Dowd piece ends:
But he also received more e-mails insisting that Obama is a Muslim and one calling him “unconstitutional and unbiblical” for daring to support a socialist. He got a mass e-mail from a man wanting to spread the word that Obama was reading a book about the end of America written by a fellow Muslim.
“Holy cow!” Powell thought. Upon checking Amazon.com, he saw that it was a reference to Fareed Zakaria, a Muslim who writes a Newsweek column and hosts a CNN foreign affairs show. His latest book is “The Post-American World.”
[Back in May 2008, SAJAforum ran a short item about Obama carrying around Zakaria's book.]
Here is the clip from "Meet the Press":
Post your comments below. [NOTE: This post was written with input from Anil Kalhan and Arul Louis]