Group Wants More Muslims in White House
A concerted albeit under-the-radar effort is being made by Muslim Americans to have more Muslims serve in the White House.
The Chicago Tribune reported that resumes of 45 of the most qualified Muslim Americans have been submitted to the White House for review for possible job positions with the Obama administration.
Among those spearheading the effort is Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.), the first Muslim to be elected to the U.S. Congress. The Congressional Muslim Staffers Association has also helped with the vetting process.
"It was mostly under the radar," said J. Saleh Williams, program coordinator for the Congressional Muslim Staffers Association, to the Tribune. "We thought it would put (the president) in a precarious position. We didn’t know how closely he wanted to appear to be working with the Muslim American community."
During the campaign, President Obama had to repeatedly state that he was a Christian after rumors wildly circulated that he was a secret Muslim because he had lived in Indonesia and his estranged father was from a Muslim background.
Obama has tried to distance himself from being seen as a Muslim personally, while also trying to reach out to the Muslim world and change the U.S. image among Muslim countries.
He is scheduled to deliver a speech in Istanbul on April 7 that is meant to extend America’s hand of peace to Muslims worldwide.
There are an estimated 7 to 8 million Muslims in America, making up about 2 percent of the population.