After just being in Israel, talking and listening to old and new friends who are Palestinian, Arab, Muslim, and some who are Christian, I was caught off guard by the questioner at a John McCain rally in which a woman said she wasn't going to vote for Barack Obama because he is an "Arab."
First reaction: no, no, no: he's not an Arab.
Second reaction at the same time: what's bad about being an "Arab?"
On top of this dialogue there was this article in the New York Times (on-line, nyt.com), in which Hindu's are threatening Christian to convert or flee in India. ‘Embrace Hinduism, and your house will not be demolished,’ ” Mr. Digal recalled being told on that Wednesday afternoon in September. “ ‘Otherwise, you will be killed, or you will be thrown out of the village.’ ” Click here for more.
Coming out of 12 days in Israel I am very sensitive to the realities of this world that barely raises it's head in the safe waters of the Research Triangle in Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill, NC: we live in a world in which people simply fear the "Other" simply because of one's religion or faith. The questioner wasn't asking about Mr. Obama being an Arab, but being a Muslim. I don't think that many people in the States can appreciate that you can be an Arab and not be Muslim.
Pilgrimage in different lands as a Christian matters: it teaches one how small the world is!
Salaam and Shalom,