The power of a photograph

A recurrent accusation levelled at the American Democratic presidential candidate, Barak Obama, is that he is a Muslim.

Why should it matter? After all, the US Constitution states, "... no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States." (Article 6, paragraph 3.)

Unfortunately it matters in this particular election because certain people in the USA are assiduously associating being a Muslim with being a terrorist. And other people are believing them.

I guess they haven’t seen this photograph:

Elsheba Khan at the grave of her son, Specialist Kareem Rashad Sultan Khan.
Copyright: Platon

This was the photograph that moved President Bush's former Secretary of State, Colin Powell, to publicly endorse Barack Obama. On a TV programme, Meet The Press, Powell stated that he was troubled by members of the Republican party insinuating that Obama is a Muslim and therefore associated with terrorists (see the full interview here).

This is what Colin Powell said:

I feel strongly about this particular point because of a picture I saw in a magazine. It was a photo essay about troops who were serving in Iraq and Afganistan. And one picture at the tail end of this photo essay was a mother in Arlington Cemetry, and she had her head on the headstone of her son's grave. And as the picture focused in, you could see the writing on the headstone. And it gave his awards, Purple Heart, Bronze Star, showed that he died in Iraq, gave his date of birth, date of death. He was 20 years old. And then at the very top of the headstone, it didn't have a Christian Cross. It didn't have a Star of David. It had a crescent and a star of the Islamic faith. And his name was Kareem Rashad Sultan Khan. And he was an American.

7 comments:

ghinch said...

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Alistair Scott said...

Thanks ghinch ... look forward to reading it.

Livia said...

Thank you Alistair for posting this. I expect Colin Powell had other reasons as well, but breaking down walls of prejudice often is best accomplished when one teaches by example. I only wish more people who call themselves Americans would read and see this.

Alistair Scott said...

Thank you Livia. As a non-American I suppose I should keep out of the way. But I find the association that is being made between between Islam and terrorism a shocking development.

I thought we'd long got past the time when one group is branded because of their beliefs or culture.

DL NELSON said...

Caring should have national boundaries...nor should tolerance... Thanks for spreading the word...

DL NELSON said...

Caring has no national boundaries nor does tolerance.

Alistair Scott said...

Thanks DL.

But I suspect you meant 'Caring should have NO national boundaries ..."

Nor should they have religious or ethnic ones, either.