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Reader comment on item: Was Barack Obama a Muslim?

Submitted by Brian (Canada), Jul 15, 2008 at 11:49

"Summarized, available evidence suggests Obama was born a Muslim to a non-practicing Muslim father and for some years had a reasonably Muslim upbringing under the auspices of his Indonesian step-father."

There's a very simple rebuttal to this piece. Richard Dawkins considers religious upbringing child abuse, and in fact he says we'd never consider pointing at a child and saying that is a Tory child or this is a Conservative child or that is a Liberal child. He considers the entire idea absurd.

So, even if some Muslims consider it possible to be born a Muslim, it is a totally illogical concept at best and at worst child abuse to label a child a religion. It is incorrect.

As well, "reasonably Muslim" is a contested definition and the entire article treads close to a no true scotsman fallacy. Radical Muslims and some moderate Muslims would certainly consider that amount of alleged mosque attendance unreasonable. Prayer is also more than a physical position or a posture. It is a personal connection to god, a relationship closer than any marriage or friendship. If Obama was half-heartedly forced to assume the position, it was not prayer. If Obama did not truly believe, it was not prayer.

Perhaps the campaign stretched the truth when they said "Obama has never been to a mosque" but that is as far as you can logically take it. Going from "being in a mosque" to "reasonably Muslim" is absurd.


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".

Daniel Pipes replies:

Dawkins is entitled to his thoughts but they have zero to do with the laws of Islam or the views of Muslims, which is what I am concerned with.

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