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Response to D.Pipes

Reader comment on item: Barack Obama's Muslim Childhood
in response to reader comment: Response to Mr. Pipes

Submitted by K.H. Ahmed (United States), May 25, 2008 at 07:31

I realize that you can't respond to all comments so perhaps this is the last word - always nice to get.

I have said numerous times on this post relating to this particular article that I greatly admire your intellect and much of your work but that I find this particular article to be a very thinly veiled form of character assasination and do not understand your reasoning. The facts that it is based upon are weakly supported and for the most part refuted by what is public knowledge of his past. If our political discourse is to be reduced to the parsing of public statements by individuals whether it is Obama or McCain or whoever then I fear for this country of my birth. I look to men of quality such as yourself, those that I disagree with and agree with to put forth the knowledge they have in an honest and forthright fashion so that these citizens that we see on this site have a full and complete knowledge of the facts.

While your use of his name as a "proof" of his being a Muslim is of no great importance in the scheme of thngs, the fact that you know that the name in and of itself is not Muslim but Arabic brings the veracity of the entire piece into question. Why does this bother me so? Because you know it, I know it, but those who read your piece don't know it.

You sir have much that you could contribute to the reformation and modernization of Islam, much to contribute to the exposure of the danger of the Wahabbists, but there is also much you could do to support a better understanding of the full scope of Islam, the moderate forces that exist within it and I have seen you write articles that do exactly that. This however was not one of them.


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Daniel Pipes replies:

The essential charge in this reply is that I must know that "the name [Hussein] in and of itself is not Muslim but Arabic."

But I do not know that. As I put it in this piece, "Only Muslim children are named 'Hussein'." Or, as I phrased it in "Was Barack Obama a Muslim?": "all children born with an Arabic name based on the H-S-N trilateral root (Hussein, Hassan, and others) can be assumed to be Muslim." I stand by these assertions.

Perhaps I should add that it is perfectly possible for someone with such a name to convert out of Islam, as Obama has done. "Hussein," thus, is not indicative of a person's current religion, only of his born religion.

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