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Despite the strong statements made by Senator Barrack Obama, the Democratic Presidential candidate, expressing his determination to go after Osama bin Laden and other Al Qaeda leaders even to the extent of sending American troops into Pakistani territory if precise intelligence on the location of OBL is available, jihadi and other fundamentalist organisations in Pakistan believe it would be better for the members of the Pakistani diaspora in the US to vote for Obama. They feel that he will make a break from what they regard as the anti-Muslim policies followed by the Bush Administration. They apprehend that if Senator McCain wins he will follow the Bush policies without any major change.

2. The Shias of Pakistan too want the members of their sect in the US to vote for Obama since his attitude towards Iran is seen by them as less hostile than that of Bush and McCain.

3. In a despatch from Washington published by the "Daily Times" of Lahore on October 28,2008, Khalid Hasan, its Washington Correspondent, reported as follows: " About 90 per cent of American Muslims are expected to vote for Barack Obama on November 4, according to a key Muslim community leader, who wished to remain anonymous since any open or overt expression of support from a Muslim group for Obama is likely to hurt rather than help his bid for the White House. Leading Muslim organisations and groups have been requested by Obama’s people not to declare their support to the Democratic candidate openly as they fear it will be used to decry the Senator as a ‘crypto Muslim’ or ‘jihahidi manqué,’ so much paranoia about Islam and Muslims has been spread by neocon supporters of John McCain and certain radical, ultra conservative church and evangelical groups. According to Agha Saeed of the American Muslim Taskforce on Universal Rights and Elections, “Our goal is to maximise Muslim voter turnout, support candidates who support civil liberties, world peace, universal healthcare, better education, a fair immigration policy and social justice. Even if better candidates were to win on November 4, it will take a long and determined effort to help restore America’s promise, ideals and principles.” The American Muslim Taskforce is planning to release a Muslim-American voter survey in the next few days. "

4. Pro-Al Qaeda Arab elements, however, believe that McCain's victory would be better in the over-all interest of the global jihad against the so-called Crusaders. They are calculating that by persisting with the policies of the Bush administration he could aggravate the economic mess in the US and other Western countries and this would help the cause of the global jihad against the so-called crusaders. They are describing the economic difficulties of the US as a punishment meted out by Allah in reprisal for the US actions in Iraq and Afghanistan and project the crisis in the Wall Street and other stock markets of the West as Allah's third front to help the Muslims. It remains to be seen what position, if any, Al Qaeda officially takes.(28-10-08)

(The writer is Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt. of India, New Delhi, and, presently, Director, Institute For Topical Studies, Chennai,. E-mail: )


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