Hosseini on Barack Hussein Obama

Khaled Hosseini, the author of book-club favorites The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns, has an opinion piece in the Washington Post about John McCain and Sarah Palin’s not-so-veiled accusations that Barack Obama is a terrorist.

Twice last week alone, speakers at McCain-Palin rallies have referred to Sen. Barack Obama, with unveiled scorn, as Barack Hussein Obama. Never mind that this evokes — and brazenly tries to resurrect — the unsavory, cruel days of our past that we thought we had left behind. Never mind that such jeers are deeply offensive to millions of peaceful, law-abiding Muslim Americans who must bear the unveiled charge, made by some supporters of Sen. John McCain and Gov. Sarah Palin, that Obama’s middle name makes him someone to distrust — and, judging by some of the crowd reactions at these rallies, someone to persecute or even kill. As a secular Muslim, I too was offended. Obama’s middle name differs from my last name by only two vowels. Does the McCain-Palin campaign view me as a pariah too? Do McCain and Palin think there’s something wrong with my name?

What has been truly revolting is watching this clip, where a woman at a McCain rally said that Obama was an “Arab” and John McCain retorted, “No Ma’am, he’s a decent family man.” Apparently the two qualifiers are mutually exclusive in his universe.