Host of the popular “Dr. Oz Show,” could become the first Muslim elected to the US Senate. The Colombia University professor turned national icon rose to prominence on television after initially featuring as a frequent guest on Oprah Winfrey’s talk show and later landing a show of his own in 2009.
Born to a Turkish immigrant family, Dr. Mehmat Oz was a widely known cardiothoracic surgeon before appearing on television and has launched a campaign for Pennsylvania’s Senate seat currently held by Pat Toomey, who will retire soon.
If the celebrity host successfully secures the Republican nomination, it will make him the first Muslim to be elected for the US Senate representing a major political party.
The right time
Adored by millions of fans in the US, Dr. Oz has jumped into one of the most consequential races of the coming elections. At a time when the US health care system seems to be struggling to keep pace with a rising infection rate, facing one of history’s worst health care crises.
With the strategic timing of his nomination and given his reputation as a widely acknowledged and trusted medical professional, Dr. Oz finds himself in a good position to land the nomination.
As he gives early indications of using these attributes to his advantage, boasting of his background as an immigrant child and as a medical professional in his declaration.
His Muslim faith
The celebrity host endorses the Sufi Islamic tradition and has revealed that he was brought up in a family with conflicting religious views. His father adhered to a conservative interpretation of the Muslim faith, and his mother followed the secular vision of Turkey’s founder, Kemal Ataturk.
He has further professed in an interview that he struggled with his Muslim identity as a young man and rebelled against both traditions to settle with the Mystic Sufi interpretation of Islam.
Dr. Oz has persistently criticized the US government’s Covid-19 policies as being inept and unsuccessful in reducing the population’s suffering. He has also called out the government for limiting the scope of acceptable debate over the issue by maligning health care professionals having different views to the government’s narrative.
Oz has been criticized over his ill-advised and allegedly commercially motivated health recommendations, also testifying at a Senate hearing on deceptive advertising for diet supplements.
Oz has also promoted the use and self-administration of hydroxychloroquine as a COVID treatment which The Food and Drug Administration has advised against.