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Faith and Intelligence, in the service of fear and hatred.

Reader comment on item: Barack Obama through Muslim Eyes

Submitted by person of the book (United States), Sep 25, 2008 at 21:22

As far as I can tell this article attempts to make two major points relating to Obama and Islam: 1. Some Muslims think that he is Muslim, or find his father's heritage meaningful in considering Obama's relationship to their faith. Well, those who think that he is still Muslim are just not well informed, and how can we blame them? Some Americans who are registered to vote are no better informed.

But, Obama's cultural heritage has never been in question. His father was a Kenyan Muslim. From a Muslim perspective, and considering the fact that many muslims are aware that there are some people (ahem) in the west who see the religion through a problematically narrow lens, it's understandable that they are intrigued, perhaps "bewildered". It does not seem that you are actually arguing that he is Muslim.

No one presents evidence that Barack Obama follows the major pillars of the religion. Instead, he attends a Christian Church, and participates in all the regular rites of the faith. Which brings me to point two, which concludes this article: Somehow, ignorance on the part of some as to Obama's faith, or their mistaken belief that Islam is inheritable even if one does not subscribe to the pillars of Islam, or their perception that this makes him apostate to the religion, is a problem.

Why is this a problem? How can these misconceptions be of serious concern, when they are as likely to open up dialogue with our Islamic neighbors as they are to concern them. Surely he could not be more poorly perceived in the Muslim world than our current leader. I propose that the real problem is fear-mongering among those who either mistakenly perceive Muslims as an actual threat to their well-being, or who would like others to buy into that fear. This tactic is not new. I recall that Kennedy's Catholicism was seen by some as a potential problem because he would "follow the Pope."

Of course, these were unfounded fears, Kennedy led the country as an American, he prayed as a Catholic. This series of articles is nothing more than a the public exhibition of what happens when an intelligent, well-educated mind and a faithful heart become a mouthpiece for fear and division. Please consider the possibility that Islam, Judaism, and Christianity have more in common than our current political dialogue would have us know, and help the communities of faith which guide us begin to challenge political rhetoric which would incite us to hate each other. We cannot continually blame large groups of people for what small groups have done. As both Christian and Muslim stories have related, Jesus taught restraint from judgement and punishment when the would-be punishers are themselves guilty of the same. ...

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