Barack Obama, A Muslim Point of View

By Daniel Pipes

How do Muslims see Barack Hussein Obama? They have three choices: either as he presents himself – someone who has “never been a Muslim” and has “always been a Christian“; or as a fellow Muslim; or as an apostate from Islam.

Reports suggests that while
Americans generally view the Democratic candidate having had no
religion before converting at Reverend Jeremiah Wrights’s hands at age
27, Muslims the world over rarely see him as Christian but usually as
either Muslim or ex-Muslim.

Lee Smith of the Hudson Institute explains why:
“Barack Obama’s father was Muslim and therefore, according to Islamic
law, so is the candidate. In spite of the Quranic verses explaining
that there is no compulsion in religion, a Muslim child takes the
religion of his or her father. … for Muslims around the world,
non-American Muslims at any rate, they can only ever see Barack Hussein
Obama as a Muslim.” In addition, his school record from Indonesia lists him as a Muslim

Thus, an Egyptian newspaper, Al-Masri al-Youm, refers to his “Muslim origins.” Libyan ruler Mu’ammar al-Qaddafi referred to Obama as “a Muslim” and a person with an “African and Islamic identity.” One Al-Jazeera analysis calls him a “non-Christian man,” a second refers to his “Muslim Kenyan” father, and a third, by Naseem Jamali, notes that “Obama may not want to be counted as a Muslim but Muslims are eager to count him as one of their own.”

A conversation in Beirut, quoted in the Christian Science Monitor,
captures the puzzlement. “He has to be good for Arabs because he is a
Muslim,” observed a grocer. “He’s not a Muslim, he’s a Christian,”
replied a customer. Retorted the grocer: “He can’t be a Christian. His
middle name is Hussein.” Arabic discussions of Obama sometimes mention his middle name as a code, with no further comment needed.

“The symbolism of a major
American presidential candidate with the middle name of Hussein, who
went to elementary school in Indonesia,” reports Tamara Cofman Wittes
of the Brookings Institution from a U.S.-Muslim conference in Qatar, “that certainly speaks to Muslims abroad.” Thomas L. Friedman of the New York Times found that Egyptians
“don’t really understand Obama’s family tree, but what they do know is
that if America – despite being attacked by Muslim militants on 9/11 –
were to elect as its president some guy with the middle name ‘Hussein,’
it would mark a sea change in America-Muslim world relations.”

Some American Muslim leaders also perceive Obama as Muslim. The president of the Islamic Society of North America, Sayyid M. Syeed, told Muslims at a conference in Houston
that whether Obama wins or loses, his candidacy will reinforce that
Muslim children can “become the presidents of this country.” The Nation
of Islam’s Louis Farrakhan called Obama “the hope of the entire world” and compared him to his religion’s founder, Fard Muhammad.

But this excitement also has a dark side – suspicions that Obama is a traitor to his birth religion, an apostate (murtadd) from Islam. Al-Qaeda has prominently featured Obama’s stating “I am not a Muslim” and one analyst, Shireen K. Burki
of the University of Mary Washington, sees Obama as “bin Laden’s dream
candidate.” Should he become U.S. commander in chief, she believes,
Al-Qaeda would likely “exploit his background to argue that an apostate
is leading the global war on terror … to galvanize sympathizers into

Mainstream Muslims tend to tiptoe around this topic. An Egyptian supporter of Obama, Yasser Khalil,
reports that many Muslims react “with bewilderment and curiosity” when
Obama is described as a Muslim apostate; Josie Delap and Robert Lane
Greene of the Economist even claim that the Obama-as-apostate theme “has been notably absent” among Arabic-language columnists and editorialists.

That latter claim is inaccurate, for the topic is indeed discussed. At least one Arabic-language newspaper published Burki’s article. Kuwait’s Al-Watan referred to Obama as “a born Muslim, an apostate, a convert to Christianity.” Writing in the Arab Times, Syrian liberal Nidal Na’isa repeatedly called Obama an “apostate Muslim.”

In sum, Muslims puzzle over
Obama’s present religious status. They resist his self-identification
as a Christian while they assume a baby born to a Muslim father and
named “Hussein” began life a Muslim. Should Obama become president,
differences in Muslim and American views of religious affiliation will
create problems.

America Alone:The end of the world as we know it.


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“Miniatures: Views of Islamic and Middle Eastern Politics”

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America is in serious trouble, many no longer realize what values and principles our country is founded on and have strayed from the common sense and creative thinking of our ancestors, how can we fix it?


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  1. It is not Lee Smith’s place to describe Islamic law. Muslims determine whether someone is Muslim based on his actions and statements, not his ancestry. While we understand that under Jewish law Judaism is passed down by the mother to her children under my understanding of Islam, which is based on practicing it and not based on pure imagination as Lee Smith, the religion of a child is learned from the parents. In Barack Obama’s case, his father was not present to teach him Islam, and his mother taught him Christianity. Daniel Pipes’ article lists much evidence, at least half of which has no bearing on whether Barack Obama is Muslim. Shireen Burki is completely wrong–there is worldwide sympathy and empathy for African Americans among Muslims and among non-Muslims–it is likely that an Obama win would immediately soothe many tensions among those at odds with America, since even among Osama and Chavez and Castro there is an ethnic dimension to this conflict which really has started from George Bush’s administration’s attitude characterized for instance by neo-con denunciation of Osama as a “cave man.”


  2. His father wasn’t present, but his step father was. He was a registered Muslim while living in Indonesia, attended the Mosque, prayed and read the Koran. His grandmother was Vice President of a bank, which afforded him the opportunity to attend a private school in Hawaii, this hardly makes him poor. His mother collected food stamps while pursuing her PHD.He has no normal friends, only the likes or Rev. Wright who preached hate,anti-American, anti white smut from the pulpit, Obama sat there with his family for 20 years and listened and agreed. If he didn’t agree , he wouldn’t have stayed that long.His other friends Farenkahn, Bill Ayres, and others are known radicals and home grown terrorists. He has a communist on his campaign staff. This alone should disqualify him from being president. With credentials like this , the FBI would not accept him. Do we want to entrust someone like this with the most critical secrets in the world?His Harvard education was paid for by Arabs, they have been nurturing him for years. These tensions with Castro and Chavez, as well as others started long before Bush, these 2 hooligans want only to destroy us and will do anything to accomplish those ends. The last I heard, if Osama is still alive, he is living in  a cave? Some one who would orchestrate killing 3000 people by flying planes in to buildings , in my estimation,is far lower on the evolutionary scale than a cave man. If you had ever traveled to other countries you would find that the rest of the world doesn’t hate us. Some on the left and the media do, but the typical MR. and Mrs. World doesn’t. If they hated us, why do they all want to come here?


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