Why the people who believe that Obama is a Muslim are not ignorant—and why the people who believe that they are ignorant, are ignorant

A reader suggested that I “send to the Washington Post online comments section for Richard Cohen’s article your specifics showing why it is reasonable to think Obama is a Muslim. Many thousands would read it.” I thought this was a good idea, so I reworked my August 24 blog entry, “That dismaying poll about Obama’s religious affiliation” (a link to which I had e-mailed to Cohen), into a format that would be more appropriate for an online comment or a letter to the editor. Unfortunately, after I finished preparing it, I found that there is no link for posting comments to Cohen’s article. Here is the comment I intended to send to the Post:

Richard Cohen says that people who believe that President Obama is a Muslim are “ignorant” and “on the edge of insanity.” No, it is Richard Cohen who is ignorant of the many well-known facts that might lead reasonable people to doubt that Obama is a Christian and to believe that he is a Muslim.

Here are some of the reasons for doubting that Obama is a Christian:

1. Obama’s only Christian affiliation in his entire life was with the Trinity United Church in Chicago, where Rev. Jeremiah Wright, an ally of the black Muslim Louis Farrakhan, taught that the black race is the incarnation of good and the white race the incarnation of evil. This is not exactly an idea associated with any Christianity that most people have heard of.

2. The sermon by Wright which, according to Obama’s memoir, “converted” Obama to Christianity was the one that included the line, “White man’s greed runs a world in need”—again, not exactly a notion associated with the Nicene Creed.

3. Since ending his relationship with Wright and leaving Trinity Church in April 2008, Obama has not joined any other Christian church.

4. Obama has derided Christians as bigots who cling to their Bibles and guns and hate everyone who is different from themselves.

5. Obama is not known for making comments to friends about his deeply felt belief in Jesus Christ.

And here are some of the reasons for believing that Obama is a Muslim:

1. He has made extravagant expressions of affection for Islam, for example, that the Muslim call to prayer is “one of the prettiest sounds in the world.”

2. In his Cairo speech in 2009, he said that he would defend Islam from anti-Islamic “stereotypes” wherever they appear. What this really means, from the Muslim perspective, is that Obama has declared himself to be an enforcer of the Islamic law, which prohibits any critical statements about Islam.

3. He has carried out that pledge in conspicuous ways. For example, under his leadership as commander in chief, the U.S. military has completely ignored and covered up the truth that the mass murder by Maj. Nidal Hassan at Fort Hood was a jihad attack on the United States. Equally shocking, Obama has had his national security and homeland security officials systematically eliminate any reference to the Islamic nature of Islamic terrorism.

4. Obama’s father was a Muslim, and therefore, according to Islamic law, Obama is a born Muslim.

5. Obama attended a Muslim school for several years when he was a boy in Indonesia, the largest Muslim country in the world, and living under the guidance of his stepfather, who was a Muslim, just as his father was.

6. Numerous relatives of Obama’s on his father’s side are Muslims.

7. Various prominent leaders in the Muslim world have stated that Obama is a Muslim. They base this conclusion on the same facts listed herein.

8. Finally, Obama’s middle name is Hussein, the name of the Prophet’s grandson, a name widely used by Muslims. It is deeply indicative of Obama’s own identity that when he launched a career in American politics, he didn’t drop his alien-sounding middle name, which might tend to hurt the career of a U.S. politician, but kept it.

In conclusion, there are lots of facts that might lead a reasonable person to assume that Barack Hussein Obama is a Muslim. But Richard Cohen, who calls other people ignorant, doesn’t know those facts.

- end of initial entry -

Gintas writes:

You have summed it up perfectly. At best, he’s a really, really bad Christian. At worst, he’s a Muslim practicing taqiyya. And he could be anything in between, none of which is good.

Daniel S. writes:

I think it also important to define what exactly is meant by identifying Barack Obama as a Muslim. Of the more serious critics of Obama that recognize his relationship to Islam, I do not think any would consider him a devout and observant Muslim who reads the Koran regularly and prays five times a day. I seriously doubt that Obama puts any stock in the traditional doctrines of orthodox Islam. His commitment to liberal social policies (abortion, homosexual “rights,” etc) would cast doubt on any suspicion that Obama takes Islamic theology and law all that seriously. Obama clearly is a “cultural” Muslim, someone who identifies with the Muslims in a cultural, social, and historical sense. This is tied to his immersion in liberation theology and radical left-wing politics which views the assorted non-white and non-Christian peoples of the Third World as being morally and culturally superior to the racist and imperialist Christian West. Obama, coming from a Kenyan Muslim background, naturally feels a kinship with black and brown Muslims over white Christians in America. So again, while I have seen no evidence that Barack Obama is a devout and pious Muslim, he is certainly a nominal, cultural Muslim who sees Islam as a positive and sympathetic religion, while viewing traditional, orthodox Christianity with obvious disdain.

LA replies:

I was not arguing that Obama is a Muslim, nor was I defining what being a Muslim means. I was only saying that the people who believe that he is a Muslim (whether they mean Muslim in the religious or the cultural sense) are, given all the evidence, not being unreasonable.

As for what I believe Obama’s beliefs to be, my guess is similar to yours. I don’t see any strong evidence suggesting that he is a religious Muslim, but he clearly identifies with Islam in a way that he does not identify with Christianity and the West. For all practical purposes, then, he is on the side of Islam against the West, or at the very least he tilts in a pro-Islam direction. Therefore, in my view, it is not only reasonable to believe that Obama is pro-Muslim; he in fact is pro-Muslim. And remember, from the Muslim point of view, the most important distinction is not between Muslims and non-Muslims; it is between people who are on the Muslim side and people who are not on the Muslim side. This is shown by the fact that the goal of jihad is not (at least directly) to convert people to Islam, but to bring them under the political power of Islam, i.e., to incorporate them into the Muslim side. Once the latter occurs, the fundamental goal of jihad has been reached, even if the people living under the power of Islam have not yet converted to Islam. Similarly, when non-Muslims say that they think Obama is a Muslim, I think that what they are really saying is that he is on the Muslim side, and in this I believe that they are correct.

Daniel S. writes:

It was not my intent for you to understand the first part of my comment as being directed at you. I was speaking generally about those who link Barack Hussein Obama directly with Islam.

LA continues:

I should add that the position I’ve just laid out, that Obama is “on the side of Islam,” though not necessarily a Muslim in the religious sense, is the minimal position on the subject. Daniel Pipes, the soul of moderation, has argued in several columns that Obama is at least technically a Muslim in the religious sense.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at September 07, 2010 10:27 AM | Send

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