Obama supporters add Hussein to their names

June 29th, 2008 - 11:20 pm ICT by IANS  


New York, June 29 (IANS) Many US supporters of Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama are adopting the middle name Hussein in a symbolic act of solidarity against his political opponents’ slur that he is a Muslim, or even a terrorist. Emily Nordling, a 19-year-old student from Fort Thomas, Kentucky, who on Facebook has become “Emily Hussein Nordling”, is one of the growing number of admirers of Senator Obama, the presumptive Democratic nominee, who are informally adopting his middle name, the New York Times reported Sunday.

Obama is a Christian who inherited the middle name Hussein from a Kenyan father he barely knew, who was born a Muslim and died an atheist. But the name has become a political liability, with his critics, including Republicans, often dwelling on it by choosing to address him by his full name.

Obama’s new ‘Hussein’ supporters include those who are Jewish and Catholic, Hispanic as well as Asian and Italian-American from places across the country.

“I am sick of Republicans pronouncing Barack Obama’s name like it was some sort of cuss word,” Jeff Strabone, of Brooklyn, New York, wrote in a manifesto titled “We Are All Hussein” that he posted on his blog.

“My name is such a vanilla, white-girl American name,” said Ashley Holmes of Indianapolis, who changed her name online “to show how little meaning ‘Hussein’ really has”.

The gesture by hundreds has taken place mostly online, obviously because legally changing names is a hassle.

In interviews, several Obama supporters said they dreamed up the idea on their own, with no input from his campaign and little knowledge that others shared their thought, the Times said.

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