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Reader comment on item: Confirmed: Barack Obama Practiced Islam

Submitted by Greg Norfleet (United States), Oct 14, 2008 at 21:34

In response to your three main points which were:

  • "Interviews with dozens of former classmates, teachers, neighbors and friends show that Obama was not a regular practicing Muslim when he was in Indonesia" – implying he was an irregularly practicing Muslim.
  • "Obama occasionally followed his stepfather to the mosque for Friday prayers, a few neighbors said" – confirming that he did pray in the mosque.
  • "Obama's 3rd-grade teacher at the Catholic school, who lived near the family [said that] ‘Rarely, Barry went to the mosque with Lolo'" – confirming that Obama attended mosque services.

1.) Your logic is flawed here. Take the example, "I was not a regularly practicing vampire when I lived in Kentucky" (a true statement) in place of your own. This statement can be rewritten as "If I lived in KY then I was not a practicing vampire", the contrapositive (an accurate rewrite) would be "If I was a practicing vampire then I did not live in KY" (also a true statement). Notice this statement does not state definitively that I have ever been a vampire and although it may surprise you I have in fact never been even an irregularly practicing vampire. Thus the statement that "Obama was not a regularly practicing Muslim" does not prove that Obama has at any point been a practicing Muslim.

2.) If I walk into a bar does that confirm that I had been drinking beer? I could also have been drinking whiskey or I could even have been the designated driver and abstained from alcohol. By the same train of thought, if a person walks into a cathedral, a synagogue, and a mosque do they necessarily pray to a different conception of god in each or does it prove that they pray to any god in any for that matter? One's spiritual beliefs cannot be determined by a person's location in the physical world.

3.) I am a little confused by this point to be perfectly honest. Are you saying it is a bad thing to have some sort of base familiarity with different religions or cultures? Do you think that Islam is a contagious disease that a person can catch in some sort of ceremonial matter? Beyond being ridiculous, this is incredibly bigoted; but I won't waste your time by arguing about the basic morality of contributing to the racial scapegoating of Muslims in America.

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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