Interfaith Alliance criticizes use of Obama in Somali Dress

Washington, DC – Rev. Dr. C. Welton Gaddy, President of The Interfaith Alliance released the following statement in response to reports that Senator Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign circulated a photograph of Senator Barack Obama in traditional Somali dress:

If it is true that this photo was circulated by the Clinton campaign, then they should be ashamed of themselves, and Senator Clinton should apologize. This incident is the latest example of presidential candidates using religion to divide this nation rather than to unite it. Senator Obama is not a Muslim and never has been; but even if he were, it should not matter. Candidates should be judged on their merits, not on what house of worship they attend.

The circulation of this photo is clearly not aimed at promoting better interfaith relations, and it has the broader impact of marginalizing the Muslim community as a whole. It is a modern day scare tactic in the tradition of the Willie Horton ad.

The Interfaith Alliance (TIA) is a nonpartisan, grassroots organization dedicated to promoting the positive and healing role of religion in the life of the nation and challenging those who manipulate religion to promote a narrow, divisive agenda. With more than 185,000 members drawn from more than 75 faith traditions and 47 local activist groups throughout America, TIA promotes compassion, civility and mutual respect for human dignity in our increasingly diverse society. For more information visit