CHICAGO — For many Muslim- and Arab-Americans, comments former Secretary of State Colin Powell made over the weekend about Sen. Barack Obama's candidacy were a much-needed salve on a festering sore.
On "Meet the Press" on Sunday, Powell said what many Muslims and Arabs said they have waited to hear from a prominent figure like Powell throughout the 2008 presidential campaign.
Addressing the false rumor that Obama is a Muslim, Powell said: "The really right answer is: What if he is? … Is there something wrong with being a Muslim in this country? The answer's no. That's not America."
Ahmed Rehab, executive director of the Council of American Islamic Relations' Chicago office, called Powell's comments "a real morale booster."
"With many politicians looking the other way out of political expediency, here was someone who called truth to power," he said.