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Obama's Muslim Childhood

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Submitted by Kepha Hor (United States), Sep 17, 2012 at 21:07

Dr. Pipes, you are right to raise questions about the gaps and falsehoods in Obama's autobiography. I, for one, always wondered how the idea that the President was born in Kenya got its start, for I was fairly certain that the election commissions and parties would do their own vetting of potential candidates--and now I know that Obama himself gave birth to the whole "birther" thing, probably to give himself some exotic appeal. Could it be that the same may be why his college records remain sealed (iunlike those of certain other politicians)? Just wondering.

However, I do not think Obama's Muslim childhood is a material issue, except, perhaps, to certain Muslims who may wish to kill him because he is a murtad. For me, the tinny, hesitant mention of the First Amendment by our Secretary of State on the late date of September 11, versus the strident attacks on people like Terry Jones and Baciley Nakhoula re supposed provocations of the Muslim street, are enough for me to wonder about Obama's commitment to the First Amendment (extremely serious).

My guess is that the very young Barry Obama Soetero, who apparently never learned Indonesian fluently, still wanted to "fit in" in his new environment, and, as a healthy boy, may have even been attracted by the "gymnastics" of Islamic prayer. The older Obama, trying to negotiate the academic world of a later era, and the streets of a partly disgruntled African-American community, may well have used his Islamic name and Islamic childhood for credibility. But, given that our President has never met a form of abortion that he would not put his name on the line for, and has "evolved" in his views of homosexual marriage, I doubt very seriously if Barack Husssein Obama, Jr., ever had any adult understanding of Islam at all.

As for the young Obama trying to "fit in", I actually have a certain amount of sympathy for Obama as a child. My family also has some "racial" ambiguity (although I assure you we are human), and as a man older than the President, I know something of the hard and grating edges of some American doctrines of racial identity. It was probably difficult for Obama the child to be growing up the dark-skinned child of a white mother in the 1960's, especially without a father at his side. I myself had an argument with a school principal against the "one box only" rule about my son's "color code" in the supposedly enlightened 1990's. I suspect that even in Hawaii, it may have been a lot harder for the President's younger self.

I believe that a lot of Obama's personality reflects a deep-seated anxiety about his actual identity, and a deep desire to be "in" with the right crowd.

Obama's waffling on his Muslim childhood as the stepson of Lolo Soetero, though, is a confirmation of this. Having long accepted that Americans are "racist" and "xenophobic", his initial insitinct was to deny any Islamic identity, and so he ran his 2008 campaign. He started speaking about it only after he was sworn in as President.

As a Christian, I am bothered by Obama's use of the "Peace be Upon Him" formula when speaking of Jesus Christ, when I believe that we should ask for the peace of the risen, glorified, God-and-Man-in-one-person Jesus upon us. But, again, I don't think that this proves that Mr. Obama is a Muslim. It merely reflects a shallow understanding of both religions, and a desire to "fit in"--only this time, when speaking to a gaggle of Islamic politicians and diplomats.

Now, all this being said, I will probably vote for Romney, even if I think his religion is both silly and cultish (and I'm sure someone thinks the same about mine), and I think that he is another man who may not have a real "core" (his opposition to the Boy Scouts' opposition to homosexual scoutmasters may come from this, given that he had to appeal to "enlightened" Northeastern constituents). However, there are huge issues with Obama that are much, much greater than his trying to fit in in his new Indonesian environment when he was a vulnerable child.

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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