A Muslim President?

A Bangladesh-born Muslim, Jamil Imran is campaigning for state House District 69 in Georgia. If he wins, he would be the sole Muslim in the state Legislature, and the only representative from the Indian subcontinent.

Now while I understand that you have to be born in the US to have a shot at the Presidency, the thought occurred to me that there is technically nothing to stop an American-born Muslim from making it all the way to the top. However, I think it will be many, many years before the US is ready for the idea of a Muslim President. What say you? Could it happen?

I think we’re still years away from electing a Jewish president, let alone a Muslim one. Hell, we’ve only managed to get one Catholic in the White House in 200-odd years. And we ended up killing him.

Heh, that’s a doozy. As far as I know, every president to date has been a white male, and no minority candidate has been a serious threat so far (although Colin Powell would have had a good shot if he ran). I guess it could be a white male Muslim, but we haven’t had any non-christian religions in the Oval Office according tothis site. We haven’t even had any relatively neutral (by American perception) religions in the presidency, such as Bhuddism or Hinduism. Judaism is now pretty sympathetically-perceived in the US after the Holocaust gained widespread recognition (though I think anti-Semitism is still a force), and we still haven’t had a Jew in office. Since Islam, in addition to not being non-Christian, comes with negative baggage, I don’t think we’ll have a Muslim C-in-C for a long time. I’d say the following groups get a President before Muslims:

Native Americans
Arab-Americans (non-Muslim)
Muslims should beat out the following, though:

Former sex industry workers (includes exotic dancers, etc.)
Severely handicapped (i.e. missing legs, etc.)
Animals (i.e. a really smart monkey)
Alien species
Uh, just my WAG :slight_smile:

I know Lieberman came pretty close - he would have been Vice-President if Gore had won, so if anything unfortunate then happened to Gore (God forbid…:)), Lieberman would have stepped up and the US would then have had its very first Jewish President. So it’s not all that improbable, but could the same be said for a Muslim candidate?

That’s already fals…oh, a smart monkey. My bad.

I don’t see aliens lining up for elections, though.

You are QUITE certain that no US president was either of these?
QUITE certain?

Sorry… should have said “open homosexuals/bisexuals”… If da public don’t know, it don’t count.

Would it then be possible to have a Muslim President as long as he kept quiet about it?

If anyone has news about a former president being gay, I’d like to hear about it. Can you at least give a hint?

No Muslim presidents in our lifetime- the barrier will be broken in the next generation by the following (in the order of likelihood)
Hispanic man
Black man
White woman

Sadly, I agree that transvestites are a ways off. Too bad- J Edgar Hoover could have been his own first lady.

Well, I won’t say it’s impossible. I do think it will be a long, long time before it happens. There are a lot of other minority groups who have had a much longer and broader public presence in the U.S. Yes, Jews do spring to mind – it’s not like there’s any shortage of Jews in politics, but only a couple of generations ago having a Jew in high elected office was much rarer than it is now. Most people I know couldn’t decide whether Lieberman was an asset or a liability to the Gore ticket; there are a lot of Jews in positions of influence these days, but sometimes those of us who live in diverse urban areas forget just how many people still distrust Jews, or are openly anti-Semitic. A Jewish friend of mine who went to college in rural Wisconsin was astounded when she discovered that a fellow student actually believed that Jews had horns.

As for keeping quiet about one’s religious faith, particularly a faith as polarizing as Islam is in modern America? Slightly less likely than Hell freezing over. If you run for public office in the U.S., every single person you’ve ever met and every opinion you’ve ever held is put under a microscope.

I do find it interesting, though, that a nation like Pakistan has had a female leader, while the U.S. has not. Although my comparative politics professor said the only way Benazir Bhutto managed to pull that one off, politically, was that she always covered her head in public and had a baby just about every year. (Coming from a political family probably didn’t hurt, either.) Heck, we haven’t even had a female Vice President, although I guess Geraldine Ferrarro got reasonably close. I think Madeline Albright has been the highest female officeholder in the U.S. so far, unless you count some of our more active First Ladies as unofficial office holders.

Plus, I think we would need a much larger critical mass of a) Muslims born in the U.S. and b) U.S.-born Muslims making their way up the political food chain before one gets elected to any high Federal office.

I second this. Come on, the suspense is killing me! :confused:

Sept 10, 2001, it wasn’t possible. The probability has since dropped.


The jury is out on Buchanan, but there’s a lot of circumstantial evidence that suggests it.

Yep. I had a history professor in college tell me it was a largely open secret during his time in Washington and that Buchanan (a lifelong bachelor) also had a partner living in Georgetown duirng his presidency.

Your severely handicapped option is already off – FDR had polio and couldn’t walk without crutches and mostly used a wheelchair.

I also think homosexuals/bisexuals will beat out Muslims. They’re well organized politically.

I think former sex industry workers have a shot, too, along the lines of the protest vote that got an Italian porn star elected to Parliament a couple decades ago. If the Dems and Pubs piss enough people off, a candidate might come forth just to stick in the party leader’s eyes.

In fact, every last group on the list will beat out Muslims. Why? Because Muslims are the only group where the widespread perception among Americans is that, “They hate us.” Now, I’m not saying all Muslims hate Americans. But I do think most Americans think they do. I think.

From what I recall, FDR wasn’t handicapped when he first ran. And even afterwards, I believe he took great pains to hide the extent of his disabilities. So I’d still say we have yet to see an openly severely handicapped fellow get elected (I guess you might say one got RE-elected, depending on how many Americans knew the extent of his health).

So were blacks during the 60’s, and they still don’t have a president to their name. I mean, it’s still OK and encouraged in a lot of places to openly slur (fag) and insult gays as a whole, and the majority of the country doesn’t recognize their lifestyle as acceptable (i.e. a majority polled said they are against gay marriage). It’ll take a lot of time to erase these well-embedded prejudices, upwards of 2 generations, methinks…

I think it will depend on the candidate. If the guy is a war hero with a Medal of Honor to his name for saving fellow American soldiers’ lives, he can probably overcome that stigma, which will hopefully be a fading stigma in the near future. Don’t get me wrong; a muslim prez is far far away, but the association of Islam and evil will probably be easier to break than that of homosexuality and sin/disgust/fear, provided that Islamic terrorists are still not blowing things up years down the road, or if they are, that a strong moderate Islamic voice is seen as distinct from the loony fringe by the American populace. And remember, the anti-gay fellows will always be able to trot out that dusty old Book to justify themselves…

In any case, I will consider myself lucky if I see a Muslim (or gay) president in my lifetime (I’m in my 20’s).

Jeez, Captain, my first thought was of Pat Buhanon. It did make me laugh, though.

FDR contracted polio in 1921, after the beginning of his political career, but before his greatest successes.

I believe we’ll see a woman elected president in my lifetime. (I’m 46.) She will, of course, be at least outwardly a Christian. I don’t anticipate an openly non-Christian being able to win the job for many decades.