Barack Obama, ‘Muslim’ president
Like many Muslim Americans, I had high hopes – now dashed: our brother drinks beer, eats pork and won’t fast at Ramadan …
After Obama’s wishy-washy defence of Muslim Americans’ freedom to build a community centre, which includes a mosque, two blocks away from Ground Zero, a poll from the Pew Research Centre reveals that nearly 20% of Americans – up from 11% a year ago – consider him a Muslim, and nearly 43% are unsure of his religion.
As a Muslim American, I presciently spotted the tell-tale signs of Obama’s Muslimy-ness and raucously celebrated – along with the entire monolithic entity of 1.5bn Muslims – our successful Islamisation of America. With one of us finally implanted in the White House and the other wearing a Miss USA tiara, minarets on the Capitol and a burqa-clad Hillary Clinton were only a lunar cycle away.
The smoking gun proving Obama belonged to the “stars and crescent” occurred during his interview with influential pastor Rick Warren, when he publicly admitted: “I believe Jesus died for my sins and I’m redeemed through him – that is a source of strength and sustenance on a daily basis.” Further testimony came with his 2009 Notre Dame graduation speech, where Obama referenced his community organising days in Chicago, boldly declaring: “… it was through this service I was brought to Christ.”
His decisive break with Christianity and subsequent undying fealty to the Islamic empire clearly then occurred at the White House Easter prayer breakfast, where he welcomed the esteemed guests as his “brothers and sisters in Christ“. And how can one forget Obama publicly denouncing Reverend Jeremiah Wright, his pastor for over 20 years at the Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago?
However, despite this powerful evidence of his Islamic faith, my mind is plagued with doubts concerning Obama’s authentic Muslim credibility. The world takes photos of him eating lunch during Ramadan, a holy month for Muslims in which we abstain from food and drink until sunset. Also, Obama apparently likes beer – which is strictly forbidden in Islam – and he never hesitates to flagrantly exhibit this sin. Memorable examples include his drinking bout with Professor Henry Louis Gates’ arresting officer, Sgt Crowley, or his chugging a few bottles while awkwardly bowling to pacify nervous, middle-class white voters in Pennsylvania during the primaries.
It also appears that Obama indulges in eating swine – thoroughly forbidden for Muslims – and he was subsequently caught devouring a tasty piece of salami with Michael Bloomberg, mayor of New York, who may also be a closet Muslim given his recent stirring and eloquent defence of religious liberties in light of the Park 51 mosque controversy.
So I worry about my Muslim brother’s observance. In over two years, Obama has yet to step foot in a mosque. Furthermore, when given the ripe opportunity to pick a Muslim judge for the supreme court – thereby implementing sharia law through stealth judicial activism – Obama instead nominated Elena Kagan (a Jew and a female to boot!). His cabinet, which counsels him on the most critical domestic and foreign policy issues, does not contain even one member with an Arabic name.
And despite all the president’s obvious Muslim credentials and avowed commitment to convert America to an Islamic theocracy, there are only two elected Muslim American officials out of 435 Congress members. What is more, hummus has not supplanted peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, hookahs have yet to be installed in congressional chambers, male elected officials continue shaving their facial hair, Egyptian soap operas and al-Jazeera have yet to replace Fox News and CNN, and the Iron Sheik, sadly, is still not the White House spokesman.
And yet, many impassioned and determined voices continue proclaiming Obama a “card-carrying Muslim”.
Objectively reviewing the evidence, one notices that Obama’s middle name is indeed shared by a recently deposed Iraqi dictator, and the president’s first and last name contain superfluous multisyllables. Also, Obama, who is biracial and raised primarily by his white, Christian mother, had a Kenyan father, who was a (non-practising) Muslim. Further, the family lived in Indonesia, a Muslim country, for nearly four years. Obama also wore a traditional African turban and dress – a little too confidently and comfortably – while visiting Kenya in 2006, and he said “Assalam aleikum” – a little too eloquently – while addressing Muslims in his famous Cairo speech.
If one was to disavow common sense, history, evidence and truth, and, instead, rely purely on hysteria and hearsay created out of conjecture, then perhaps superficial appearances do conclusively prove Obama is a Muslim. Following this logic, Bill O’Reilly could secretly be a Manchurian Candidate for Hamas because of his prolific knowledge of Arabic, as gleaned from his usage of “loofah” and “falafel” when allegedly attempted to sexually harass a female producer. George W Bush could potentially be a covert, homosexual Saudi Arabia spy, since photos show him holding hands with Prince Abdullah and kissing him on the cheek. Rachel Ray, that perky culinary superstar, could be cooking lethal, anthrax-laced batches of girl scout cookies for Hezbollah, because, after all, she wore a keffiyeh in a Dunkin’ Donuts commercial.
After review, the evidence produces a hung jury in deciding whether or not Obama is a Muslim. But, even if he is one, it appears he is a “secular Muslim” – precisely the type Pamela Geller, the rightwing blogger responsible for creating much of the anti-NYC mosque hysteria, allegedly welcomes with open arms. She and her likeminded ilk should embrace “secular” Obama, who drinks beer, eats pork and doesn’t observe Ramadan, instead of relentlessly demonising him.
It seems, after all, that his “Muslim” values coincide closely with American family values – of being married, staying loyal to your wife, raising well-behaved children, actively helping neighbours and contributing to the public good of the community members, as he did in Chicago. With his deep understanding of “Muslim culture”, the president could also foster conciliation and healing with Muslim communities in Afghanistan, Iran and Pakistan. Finally, Obama being a Muslim would permanently negate al-Qaida’s narrative that America is at “war with Islam”. How could “America” hate Islam if American citizens had elected a biracial citizen with an Arabic name and non-Christian religion as their president?
Thankfully, at least 80% of Americans seem impervious to the “Obama is a Muslim” Kool-Aid being peddled abundantly by a reactionary minority. But that 20%, maybe more, choose to remain ignorant of American principles and history, thereby paralysing their ability to reflect on how similar fear tactics, baseless doubts and paranoid allegations smeared another US president nearly 50 years ago. His name was John F Kennedy and his offence was to be a Catholic.
The irony of this shameful debacle is that Obama is, in fact, a “card-carrying Christian”. Ultimately, it suggests the question: had he actually been Muslim, or instead been Hindu, Jewish or atheist, would he be any less American?
The overwhelming evidence suggests not.