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A Rebuttal of Obama Muslim Allegation/Assertion

Reader comment on item: Confirmed: Barack Obama Practiced Islam

Submitted by Tony (United States), Sep 7, 2008 at 04:34

I have read a number of the back and forth opinions on Mr. Obama being perhaps a Muslim, and I honestly wonder what the motivation for these statements are precisely for the following reasons:

1. If Mr. Obama was raised Muslim as a little boy by his step father as the article claims, and as some echo, I would argue that this does not make him a Muslim. All it says is that he had early upbringing in Islam. Unless of course if he chose to practice Islam as an adult. I know some will say that Muslims do not give you that choice, but that is beside the point. You still get to choose, in much the same way as you would have to choose to step out of the christian faith if you were so raised as a young child.

The fact that he chose to be a christian, and has remained so for over 20 years makes him a bona fide christian, no inferior to those who had different pedigrees. To illustrate my point, children who were taken to church by family members, or neighbors but who later convert to something else, do not claim to be Christians after vacating the christian faith. We usually would say such people were "exposed" to christian teachings, but not that they were Christians.

2. If on the other hand Mr. Obama were raised a Christian, and later converted to Islam, he would not be regarded as a Muslim today neither by the American public nor by the Muslims. The protracted insistence (even by those who should know better) that he is, or may be a closet Muslim is simply a political ploy to somehow tarnish his image, and make him less American. I really think such declarations are at the least disingenuous, with very dark motives.

3. Most politicians in the US are Christians only on paper only. Most have no relationship with Jesus that they can vouch for, and there lives and daily choices bear out this assertion. Recently one congressman from Georgia (who has been championing the cause to erect the 10 commandments in front of a government building) was asked to list the 10 commandments and he could not (he could only name 3 but not completely). In political terms this fellow would be called a christian, but Jesus would call him a fool and a hypocrite. I would simply call him an impostor.

4. The argument that he is/may be a Muslim is nullified completely by the revelation that he has been a member of Trinity united Church for over 20 years. It is insightful that before he joined this church, he was essentially "churchless" (and one could say "faithless"), and was not practicing Islam either. This means that even if he were raised Muslim as some continue to insist, he never really embraced this upbringing. He chose to become a christian, and he never looked back.

5. Some of us who were raised in countries with significant Muslim populations, (like Nigeria, Senegal, Indonesia, etc) have taken mandatory classes on Islam, and some have strong relationships with Muslims. Some of my high school teachers, with whom I had personal friendships were Muslims. These does not make me Muslim. But this may be because I am not running for office in the US.

6. Perhaps more importantly, if after 20 years in a christian church (albeit an African American church), some still prefer to regard him as Muslim, it tells me they have no understanding of what Christianity is about. These people see Christianity more as a cultural heritage, passed on by birth or heritage rather than a choice one makes to follow Jesus as Lord and savior and to order one's life by his laws as best one can. Little wonder such people become very unaccommodating, and tend to view strangers to their faith with strong suspicion and doubt. I experienced precisely this when I moved to Germany, and joined a church where I was the only black member at the time. I was well liked and admired by many members of the church but never really assimilated into the system and lives of many of the members, though try as hard I could (I did have some very good friends to this day, many of who were colleagues in the graduate school).

Submitting....

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Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

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