Just once I would like to see a person in politics NOT immediately bend at the waist when they hear the dreaded ‘M’ word.
“Deval Patrick vows support for Muslims,” by Marie Szaniszlo in the Boston Herald, May 23:
In his largest meeting with Boston-area Muslims, Gov. Deval Patrick agreed yesterday to take aim at ensuring their rights and addressing racial profiling.
The session came little more than a week after two Bay State Muslims were arrested in a raid following an attempted car bombing in Times Square in New York.
More than 1,100 Muslims attended the forum at the Islamic Society of Boston Cultural Center and Mosque in Roxbury, where Patrick was given one minute to answer “yes” or “no” to seven questions, including whether he would:
Have law enforcement agency heads and others meet with Muslims to discuss the need for cultural awareness training.
Designate a liaison to the Muslim community.
Urge the public and private sectors to accommodate Muslims’ religious obligation to attend Friday afternoon prayers.
The governor answered yes to every question. Patrick said he had already named a liaison. When it came to prayer times, Patrick said he wants to promote overall religious tolerance.
Beginning his comments in Arabic by saying, “Hello, how are you. I speak Arabic a little,” the governor said the forum was not his first exposure to Islam, noting that he’d lived in Sudan and Nigeria.
“Yours is a peaceful faith, and I know that. I know you are worried that others know that,” he said. The head of one Muslim group said he was interviewed three times in recent years by FBI agents “fishing for something.” A mother told of walking with her baby in the months after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks and feeling terrified when a cab driver pulled up to them and said, “We should kill you all.”
“We are here for power and for recognition,” said Bilal Kaleem, president of the Muslim American Society of Boston. “We’re against extremism and terror.”