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Obama apologises to Muslim woman for photo row

Jun 20, 2008 10:12 AM IST India India
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Detroit Barack Obama personally apologised on Thursday to two Detroit-area women who were not allowed to sit behind him in a campaign rally earlier this week because they were wearing headscarfs. Questions were raised in the Muslim community when the two young Muslim women wearing headscarves, were told recently that they could not sit behind Barack Obama in a rally photo shot. “It speaks towards a bigger issue as far as the pervasive Islam phobia is concerned,” says CAIR Michigan Director, Dawud Walid. The two separate incidents involving two different women were first reported by politico.com, which quoted one of the women as saying that she was told she could not sit behind Obama 'because of the political climate and because of what's going on in the world.' Obama apologised saying the actions of the volunteers were offensive and not reflective of the candidate. Meanwhile, aides also sent out several pictures showing Obama with women and men in Muslim dress. Even if the apology is accepted, it brings up an issue that many want Obama and John McCain to talk about. "We would like to hear for both of the senators to say it clearly to the American public that Muslims and the Islamic faith should not be demonized,” says CAIR Michigan Director, Dawud Walid. However, it is a continuing challenge for Obama, whose name and mixed race heritage put him in the crosswinds of cultural divides. Black and white, Christian, Jew and Muslim people are sending anonymous emails meant to damage his bid through cyber space. Obama does not always walk both sides of the line but he has on several occasions made that point. "It's not just that I'm a Christian and so these emails are misinforming people. They're also feeding on anti-Muslim sentiment and that's also wrong,” says Obama. There is no doubt that it is hard to make history without being caught in the crosswinds.