Kudos to Senator Obama for personally apologizing for the discrimination against two Muslim women at a rally Monday in Detroit. However, the incident has caused many minority groups to take pause, sit back and wait to see what unfolds next.
The Senator personally called and apologized to Hibba Aref and Shimaa Abdelfadeel, the two Muslim women who were prevented from sitting behind the Senator because they wear hijab (head scarf).
Hebba Aref was an officer of the Muslim Students Association (MSA) when she attended the University of Michigan in Dearborn. MSAs across the country serve Muslim students on campus and the campus community as a whole through various activities, including interfaith dialog and community service events to foster a better understanding of Islam. This year over 100 MSAs held "Peace...Not Prejudice" events to bring diverse student groups together to dispel stereotypes. Berkeley MSA, for example, had 27 student groups co-sponsor the week, including Jewish and Black student groups.
The Washinton Post published an editorial highlighting this effort by Muslim Students: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/11/09/AR2007110901961.html
So a woman who spent her college years trying to dispel stereotypes falls victim to those same stereotypes at a rally for the first African American US Presidential Nominee by a major political party? Hmmm.
We now wait to see if Obama's message of Change We Can Believe In will manifest itself in action that includes all Americans and dispenses with the discrimination African Americans and American Muslims have become all to familiar with. In fact, I Hope and dare to believe it will.