Skip to comments.Fighting the Muslim "Smear": I Have Never Been
Posted on 08/15/2008 7:35:15 AM PDT by freespirited
Introduction by TexasDarlin
Let us state, unequivocally at the outset of this article, that we have NO bias against Islam and nothing against Islamic people.
We are not the ones insulting Muslims. In fact, we feel badly that one of the largest religions in the world is being insulted by a leading contender for the US Presidency. So much for unity.
Barack Obama has made it very clear that he considers it a smear to be Muslim, or to be labeled a Muslim.
The proof of that is right out in the open, on his campaigns Fight The Smears webpage, where he fights the smear:
I have never been a Muslim.
In a private meeting with Jewish leaders in February, Obama emphatically re-stated the claim. He said:
I AM NOT, NOR HAVE I EVER BEEN, A MUSLIM (ESPECIALLY AN ANTI-AMERICAN ONE)
(All-caps courtesy of JTA, which published the story, Obama Reaches Out to Jewish Leaders.)
Clearly, then, Obama believes its a smear to be accused of being Muslim.
But does anyone else notice that the Feb. 2008 statement to the JTA incorporates a bit of lawyerly double-speak: Especially an anti-American one? Does that mean that Obama does not as emphatically deny that he was some other kind of Muslim?
We think so. Just to clarify, we believe Obama when he says that hes never been an anti-American Muslim. No doubt in our minds about that.
We assert that he was a Muslim, though. based primarily on his own memoirs and his own sisters statements, as well as documentation from Indonesia. [Update -- now shown on the school registration form]. But now he wants that part of his life to go missing, like so many state senate or college records. He desperately wants you to believe that he was NEVER A MUSLIM because he believes it to be a smear to be Muslim.
But that anti-smear claim does not match the facts of his life. And much as he might wish to, the facts of his life cannot be re-written. As Judah Benjamin asks: How can the truth be a smear?
That same campaign web page says this:
this myth perpetuates unfortunate falsehoods about the Muslim-American community that are offensive to people of all faiths.
What are the unfortunate falsehoods that are being perpetuated by noting that Sen. Obama was once Muslim? It strikes me that it is Obama who is perpetuating negative connotations by denying his connection to Islam and thereby smearing Islam in the process.
[Judah Benjamin's previous stories are listed at the end. In particular, The Paper Trail: Obama's Indonesian Background, provides context.]
I have no doubt that Obama has never been an anti-American Muslim, though I doubt he could be said not to have been an anti-American Christian since his Conversion.
Obama was a Muslim, not a very good one, not a very pious one, and probably only for forms sake, but he was one in childhood.
Let me say at this point, again, that I have nothing whatever against Islam, or Islamic people of whatever Sect. There are many Loyal Americans who are Muslims, many Muslims who are pro-American around the world and a lot of decent pleasant people who follow the Prophet Mohammed. If you think all Muslims are sinister terrorists bent on conquering the world and reducing every non-Muslim to subjection under the Caliphate, if not destroying all non-Muslims, you are probably someone who has never lived, or worked, alongside Muslims during your daily life. Those who do wish to do that are a dangerous minority in Islam, albeit a powerful one.
I repeat the Senators own statement: I am not, nor have I ever been, a Muslim, especially an anti-American one!
I am quite sure that he was not anti-American and I have known plenty of Muslims who certainly could not be accused of being anti-American. Lolo Soetoro certainly wasnt and that caused friction between him and the Senators mother, according to a number of sources.
There is abundant evidence that Barack Obama was a Muslim when he was living in Indonesia and it is a necessary corollary to believing the Indonesian Records.
There isnt any good evidence that he was a devout Muslim, or a zealot, there isnt even any direct evidence as to which Sect he belonged, there are over 250 different Islamic Sects in Indonesia.
[Side Note: There is no evidence his mother was ever Christian and his grandparents were Baptists who converted to Unitarianism, the only Christian Denomination Muslims accept actually follows the Teachings of Christ. Ann Dunham, on her daughter's testimony disapproved of most Christians.]
To say that one is not a Muslim simply because one does not attend a Mosque every Friday, or because one drinks alcohol, or occasionally eats bacon, is exactly the same as saying one is not Christian because one does not go to Church every Sunday, doesnt tithe, or works on a Sunday.
It is nonsensical, not everybody observes their Religion strictly. Can my Christian readers all recite either The Apostles Creed or The Athanasian Creed, are Unitarians Christian when they reject the Doctrine of the Trinity? Which person is Jewish, a Hasid, a Conservative Jew, a Reformed Jew, or a Liberal Jew. Is only one of these groups Jewish?
Clearly the answer to these questions is, no. Visit, or live in any Islamic country, or predominantly Islamic area and you will speedily discover that Muslims are as likely to ignore large sections of the teachings of their Religion as are Christians or Jews.
Speaking of her childhood in Indonesia Maya Soetoro-Ng has said: My father never went to prayer services except for big communal events. I am absolutely certain that he did not go to services every Friday.
She has also stated: My whole family was Muslim, and most of the people I knew were Muslim.
This is a very interesting statement; think hard about it. It can be found in Jodi Kantors article in The International Herald Tribune for April 30th, 2007. Consider what it says about Stanley Ann Dunham and her children.
Fermina Katarina Sinaga, Obamas 3rd-grade teacher at SD Asisi, and a neighbor, stated: Sometimes Lolo went to the mosque to pray, but he rarely socialized with people. Rarely, Barry went to the mosque with Lolo.
These are straightforward statements that allow no misinterpretation and they wholly belie either the LA Times:
He has never been a practicing Muslim. [Incidentally what exactly is a "non-practicing Muslim", if not a Muslim?]
or their earlier Statement (from Obama08):
Senator Obama has never been a Muslim, was not raised a Muslim and is a committed Christian who attends church in Chicago.
However, Maya Soetoro-Ngs statement and that of Fermina Katarina Sinaga certainly match the fact that in his autobiography, Dreams From My Father, in which the Senator relates that he got into trouble for making faces during Koranic studies. In Indonesia only Islamic Students attend classes of Koranic Instruction. Under Indonesian Law no non-Muslim could possibly attend these classes. This in turn shows that any hedging statements made by his former teachers, or suggestions that he may have been wrongly registered cannot be true.
The Ministry of Religious Affairs would, almost certainly, have had any teacher who allowed that to happen fired, and might have closed down the school. According to Nicholas D Kristof, of The New York Times the Senator can still recite the Muslim call to prayer in Arabic. This proves nothing of itself, because I used to be able to do that and I am most definitely not Muslim, but it suggests he was paying some attention to the Muezzin, at least.
The Senators statement: My grandfather who was Kenyan converted to Christianity then converted to Islam, my father never practiced. He was basically agnostic and so other than my name and the fact that I lived in a populous Muslim country for 4 years when I was a child I have very little connection to the Islamic religion, is a provable flat out lie, because his step-father was a Muslim, his half-sister admits to having been a Muslim and says that he was, his birth-father was buried in a Muslim ceremony, in accord with his expressed wishes, and the Senator attended Koranic Classes mandated for Islamic students only by Law.
Again I ask, what is a practicing Muslim? If one were to say I am not a practicing Christian, it would mean that one was a member of a Christian Denomination but did not attend Church. It would not mean that one wasnt a Christian at all, or that one didnt consider oneself to be one, it would in fact mean that one did consider oneself to be one, although lax. A lapsed Catholic is still a Catholic and a non-practicing Muslim is still a Muslim. His own statements prove he is not telling the truth.
One may add this paragraph:
Obamas Step-Father Saw Religion As Not Particularly Useful, But Followed A Brand of Islam That Made Room for Animist and Hindu Faiths.
Obama wrote in the Audacity of Hope, When my mother remarried, it was to an Indonesian with an equally skeptical bent, a man who saw religion as not particularly useful in the practical business of making ones way in the world, and who had grown up in a country that easily blended its Islamic faith with remnants of Hinduism, Buddhism, and ancient animist traditions. Obama wrote in Dreams from My Father, Like many Indonesians, Lolo followed a brand of Islam that could make room for the remnants of more ancient animist and Hindu faiths. ["Audacity of Hope", p 204; "Dreams From My Father", p 37] Text taken from Obama08.
and this one:
Obama Spokesman Robert Gibbs Issued A Statement Explaining That Senator Obama Has Never Been A Muslim, Was Not Raised As A Muslim, And Is A Committed Christian. Obamas campaign aides have emphasized his strong Christian beliefs and downplayed any Islamic connection. The Illinois senator was raised in a secular household in Indonesia by his stepfather and mother, his chief spokesman, Robert Gibbs, said in a statement in January after false reports began circulating that Obama had attended a radical madrasa, or Koranic school, as a child. To be clear, Senator Obama has never been a Muslim, was not raised a Muslim, and is a committed Christian who attends the United Church of Christ in Chicago, Gibbs Jan. 24 statement said. [Los Angeles Times, 3/16/07] Text taken from Obama08.
BTW, in Indonesia in the 1960s and 70s there was legally no such thing as a secular household. Indonesia recognized neither Agnosticism or Atheism.
Compare these statements with Maya Soetoro-Ng in an interview with The New York Times Magazine for January 20th, 2008 in which she said:
Your mom has been described as an atheist:
I wouldnt have called her an atheist. She was an agnostic. She basically gave us all the good books the Bible, the Hindu Upanishads and the Buddhist scripture, the Tao Te Ching and wanted us to recognize that everyone has something beautiful to contribute.
You didnt mention the Koran in that list, although Indonesia is the most populous Muslim country in the world:
I should have mentioned the Koran. Mom didnt really emphasize the Koran, but we read little parts of it. We did listen to morning prayers in Indonesia.
Are you worried about mentioning Islam because it has already been evoked by negative campaigners trying to tarnish your brother?
Im not worried. I dont want to deny Islam. I think its obviously very important that we have an understanding of Islam, a better understanding. At the same time, it has been erroneously attached to my brother. The man has been a Christian for 20 years.
What religion are you?
Philosophically, I would say that I am Buddhist.
Unless Maya Soetoro-Ng is lying, Barack Obama was previously not a Christian and logically he was a Muslim, as the Indonesian Records say.
You will notice, however, that Maya Soetoro herself tried to avoid mentioning Islam, though when she did she said I dont want to deny Islam. Nor does she say that she is officially a Buddhist, only that she is Philosophically Buddhist, whatever that means. Incidentally, I have heard both Buddhists and Islamic Sufis described, correctly, as Agnostics. They were still Buddhists and Muslims.
I stress again that there is nothing wrong with having been a Muslim, in the past, or being a Muslim now, but the Senator is not telling the truth when he says he wasnt one in his boyhood.
I for one do not believe for one second that he is part of some great Islamic Conspiracy to place the USA under Sharia Law and reduce the Christian population to Dhimmitude; the idea is preposterous. I know there are Muslims who would love to see it but there are Christians who want to see Islam destroyed, so that balances out.
I dont doubt for a second that he has been an active member of Trinity UCC since his mid twenties, or that he considers himself a Christian, even a practicing Christian. I am reasonably sure that he hasnt been any kind of Muslim for many years. Personally, I would hesitate to affirm that he is, or has been, a Christian at any point but that is just my own prejudice, to which I admit. The present Pope, apparently, says that Black Liberation Theology is not Christianity but a Heresy. Im not quite sure what a Heresy is, in Catholic terms, but I assume the Pope does know and pretty well.
In saying that he has never been a Muslim and in claiming that calling him Islamic, or a Muslim is a Smear, Senator Obama, in my view, insults every Muslim on the Earth.
He also insults his biological relatives and his step-fathers family. He insults the memory of both his paternal grandfather and the father he claims was so important in his life. He insults his step-father, the step-siblings he, apparently, has in Indonesia and his stepfathers family.
He insults Indonesia and its people by his very attitude. But worse than all of that, to my mind, he insults the intelligence of the American people and of his own followers. How can the truth be a smear?
Why is the Senator failing to tell the exact truth? Is it the current prevalence of anti-Islamic feeling, indeed bigotry, in the USA, or is it that he fears to admit it because to do so will show that the Indonesian Records are correct and that therefore he previously had Indonesian nationality?
Either way it is cowardice and either way it is a lie. At the most charitable interpretation the Senator is being grossly misleading and his surrogates are lying. That it is a lie seems obvious according to his own books, family friends, and his own sister. A liar and a coward isnt the right person to be POTUS.
Attempting to portray all who share this opinion as "fringe bigots" is not going to fly.
After all we’ve seen, why is it considered “intolerant” or “hateful” to have a bias against Islam?
Haven’t our experiences led us to this point?
Are those experiences invalid?
Aren’t they numerous enough to be statistically significant?
I have a “bias” against Islam.
If my parents had put “Zen Buddhist” on my first-grade registration form, I wouldn’t consider that I had once been a Zen Buddhist. Indonesia is the worlds’ most populous Moslem country. Every kid is going to be registered as a Moslem regardless of whether or not they actually ever had any instruction in the religion or practiced it or not unless their parents specifically stated otherwise. This one’s a non-starter as far as I’m concerned. Let’s concentrate on something substantial.
Stopped reading there.
If the premise is that denial of being islamic is a smear on the religion that no one's acknowledging, that's a valid point.
I think this is a major assumption on your part, for several reasons. For starters, Islam is the predominant religion in Indonesia, but it is not as if 99% of the people are Muslims.
Most people in the U.S. are Christians. My family is Jewish. My parents never listed me as Christian on any form.
I can state with the authority of personal, long-term, intimate, deep, and continuing knowledge of Indonesia and its cultures, the quoted statement is categorically false. I suggest it is made by an individual with absolutely no knowledge of what he is talking about.
all together now...
“...not that there’s anything wrong with that...”
see Acts 4:12 for further info
I have lived in Balikpapan and here in Djakarta for the past 26 years. My 4 kids have always been registered as “Katoliks”, both on our Kartu Keluarga and in their school registrations.
My point isn’t that I expect that every kid in Indonesia is going to get listed on this school forms as Moslem whether he or his parents want him to or not. I have every expectation that if Mom or Dad says “My kid’s Catholic” they’ll put “Catholic” on the form. My point, expressed quite poorly I admit, is that just because a kid is listed as Moslem on an elementary school form doesn’t mean that he’s being instructed at home in Islam or that he ever practiced it or had any self-identity as such. I thank you for your comments, which I deserve.
Where I was trying to get to is that I think that saying “Ah hah! Look at this school form! Obama lied when he said he was never a Moslem!” is bogus.
I understand. Now, let’s suppose that your guess is correct. The problem is that there is still other evidence that he practiced Islam as a child. You can find it in numerous places, among them an article by Daniel Pipes; the Corsi book, various Obama truth sites.
I don’t particularly care about this since he obviously had no choice in the matter. But the question of his honesty and integrity IS a big one for me. The way he has responded to this question is one of the reasons I just don’t trust him.
As far as his integrity goes; the man is a creature of the Daley Machine. When actual government reformers ran in the last set of elections in the Chicago area, he endorsed the Daley Machine candidates. So much for integrity.
Your right being called Muslim is a smear! But then again McShamnesty called Robertson and Falwell agents of extremism, just for defending the right of Christians to practice their faith.
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.