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The good news about Barack Hussein Obama is that 87% of my Spanish readers would vote for him. This results are almost exactly like the most global polling taken by Iftheworldcould vote. Now the bad news is that when I decided to change my middle name on the internet during the last days of the election to Martin Hussein Varsavsky, around half of my Spanish readers spoke against the move. What I infer from this is that Spanish readers seem to be far more willing to accept a leader of the world with an African father than a leader of the world with a Muslim father. Personally it was interesting to use Hussein as a middle name because while I had experienced antisemitism I had never experienced what Islamophobia felt like. Some of my Spanish comentators were in favor of my endorsement of Obama but not in the same percentage as when they voted for Obama in my blog poll. Others were not openly Islamophobic but they said that they found my endorsement silly, crazy, and stupid. Others went further. One of them said that while she supports Obama my adopting Hussein as a middle name, was ” a total irresponsibility because the real danger to the world today is Islam” and goes on to call Muslims “the devil”.

As I read that comment I remembered the many times that my Muslim friends have told me how frequently they were harassed at US immigration, or just going around Europe in spite of the large numbers of Muslims who live in that continent. As my good friend Daniel Lubetzky, founder of One Voice says, our objective in the Middle East should be to amplify the voice of the majority, the moderates. As we know the vast majority of Muslims around the world have never been involved in acts of terrorism. This blog episode reminded me of the McCain moment when he said that Obama was not an Arab that he was a decent man as if “decent” was the opposite of Arab. So as Martin Hussein Varsavsky, for a few days I could experience how bad it feels to be blamed, as a whole culture, for an activity, terrorism, that while horribly harmful, it is practiced by an tiny percentage of its members.

Follow Martin Varsavsky on Twitter: twitter.com/martinvars

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