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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.


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