"Muslim-American On Obama: 'I Was There,'" a Commentary by Leila Taha

January 13, 2009

Author: Leila Taha

Source: National Public Radio


I'm an inconspicuous, vaguely Middle Eastern-looking girl. People in the hallway here at NPR like to comment on my age, telling me I don't look older than 16.

I'm of Palestinian Muslim decent, I can speak Arabic, and the Middle East is close to my heart. But I'm also firmly rooted in my home state of New Jersey- whose reputation is a great injustice.

You would never guess from looking at me, but I was at the center of this year's presidential election. You didn't see me handing out campaign buttons, or on TV, but I was there.

When the e-mail rumors warned people Barack Obama was a Muslim, like myself and 2 billion others, I was there.

When voters attending a rally in hijab, like my aunt wears, were asked move away from Barack Obama's podium and out of view of the cameras, I was there.