‘The New Obama’: Will Abdul El-Sayed Be America’s First Muslim Governor?

A “32-year-old charismatic Muslim doctor is running for governor of Michigan and in the process trying to change US politics.”

Freelance writer Drew Philp has written an article that comes over as a rather fawning endorsement of the Muslim doctor’s candidature. Philp starts off by conflating a hurricane El-Sayed was lucky to survive as a child, with the current state of American politics:

At seven years old, Abdul El-Sayed sat in the eye of Hurricane Andrew, the most destructive hurricane in US history until Katrina. Living near Miami, El-Sayed drank juice while swaddled under mattresses between his father and stepmother, who was holding El-Sayed’s newborn baby brother just home from the hospital.

The 1992 storm had taken an unexpected turn southward, and the El-Sayeds could not be evacuated. The wind made an awful rattling sound on the screens.

The front door blew in. The wind and the rain whipped into the house, “as if the ocean was coming at you”.

El-Sayed’s father, Mohamed, crawled on his stomach to shut the door, the rain whipping his face, the wind beating his body. The eye of the storm passed directly over them and the National Guard eventually evacuated them.

At the moment, American politics feels a bit like being in the eye a hurricane. Donald Trump has stated America’s nuclear arsenal is “locked and loaded”, should North Korea make any false moves and neo-Nazis are openly parading in the streets bearing torches, resulting in a young woman, Heather Heyer, being murdered in Charlottesville, Virginia.

No one man can stop the hurricane. But in Michigan, a grown-up El-Sayed is now having a go, trying to keep the storm at bay in a state that is having some of the hardest times in the union. He’s still a year out from the primary, but in his attempt at running for governor of the state, he is trying not just to win, but also to change American politics itself.

If El-Sayed wins, he will be the first Muslim governor in US history.

Philp goes on to argue that while “it’s tempting to make any story about El-Sayed about his faith, and how it is central to how voters perceive him,” it’s nevertheless also a “disservice” to “reduce him to his faith. His story, Philp assures the reader, “is one of responsibility, courage and hope.”

El-Sayed says he believes in “a separation of church and state,” making a note that John F Kennedy’s Catholicism was also a turning point in American politics:

“I can tell you that my ability to practice my faith in person, in my own home, when I choose to, where I’m allowed to, because of freedoms in this country have everything to do with that separation of church and state,” he said. “If I am going to want to be able to put my face on the ground 34 times a day, like I do, because I’m Muslim, I want to make sure no one can take that right away from me. And I will not take that right away from anyone else.”

Philp continues:

Maybe most importantly, El-Sayed has a rhetorical style and charisma that draws easy comparisons to a young Barack Obama, his events often inexplicably packed. At a campaign event in Ann Arbor one woman, Tamanika Terry Seward, said: “I think the last time I sat there and gave that kind of smirk is when I first heard Obama in Chicago, when he was running for senator.”

It’s a really long article, and you might want to read the whole thing.

Leo Hohmann, news editor for WND, pretty much puts a different slant on the story to that of Drew Philp. He writes that the Democratic Party may have found its next Barack Obama in Dr. Abdul el-Sayed, adding, “He speaks articulately, without an accent, inserts humor into his speeches at seemingly just the right moments, and he has the full backing of America’s powerful Muslim Brotherhood-linked network of Islamic organizations.”

And according to Dick Manaserri, spokesman for Secure Michigan, a group that educates Michiganders about the threat of Shariah law, “the Muslim Brotherhood would never support a candidate that didn’t have tons of money behind him and that they did not believe ‘has a real chance of winning.'”:

“It’s Obama II,” Manasseri said. “Elizabeth Warren will be coming to campaign for him, the Democrats in other states will be raising money for him. The DNC number-two man [Keith Ellison] will be raising money for him. Of course this guy is going to be on the Sunday morning talk shows. He’ll be everywhere. A candidate for governor who is Muslim Brotherhood … if that doesn’t tell you there’s a Shariah swamp in Michigan I don’t know what does.”