Powell's Remarks Solace for Many

October 25, 2008

Author: Lindsay Wise

Source: The Houston Chronicle


Shariq Abdul Ghani was watching Meet the Press at his Richmond home Sunday morning when he suddenly froze with a cup of Nescafe halfway to his lips.

On the TV screen, former Secretary of State Colin Powell was telling host Tom Brokaw he was disturbed that some Republicans have been spreading rumors that Barack Obama is a Muslim.

"Well, the correct answer is, he is not a Muslim," Powell said. "He's a Christian. He's always been a Christian. But the really right answer is, what if he is? Is there something wrong with being a Muslim in this country? The answer's no. That's not America."

Ghani couldn't believe his ears.

"I was like, 'Wow. Did he say that?' " The 27-year-old owner of a small creative design firm watched the episode again on YouTube to be sure. "I went from shock and disbelief to happiness," he said.

To Ghani and other Muslim Americans, Powell's remarks seemed like a tonic for a presidential campaign that has often made them feel marginalized and vilified.