Emily Nordling has never met a Muslim, at least not to her knowledge. But this spring, Nordling, a 19-year-old student from Fort Thomas, Ky., gave herself a new middle name on Facebook.com.
"Emily Hussein Nordling," her entry now reads.
With her decision, she joined a growing band of supporters of Sen. Barack Obama, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, who are expressing solidarity with him by informally adopting his middle name.
Obama is a Christian, not a Muslim. Hussein is a family name inherited from his father. But the name has become a political liability. Some critics on cable television talk shows dwell on it, while others, on blogs or in...