What’s happening to the congresswoman sends a warning to all Muslim politicians. As Trump administration policy makes Israeli-Palestinian relations even more tense, nativism rises again in American political life and the GOP continues to accuse Democrats of institutional anti-Semitism, the pressure on Muslims over their views on Israel and Palestine will likely grow.
Already, “there is a not-insignificant assumption about where you are likely to stand,” said Abdul El Sayed, who sought Michigan’s Democratic gubernatorial nomination in 2018 but lost.
Muslim politicians have to weigh whether anything they say could be enough to counter those preconceptions. They might be able to assuage people’s genuine concerns rooted in limited experience or misinformation and boost solidarity between American Muslims and Jews, which has flourished under a president who seems to dislike all minorities. Or they might be entering a trap. Rivals, bigots or some mixture of the two are always waiting for a slip-up.