Obama the self-hating Muslim
One day, Barack Osam ... er, Obama, is a madrassa-educated closet Muslim whose outward Christian faith is merely overcompensation. Next thing you know, the Democratic presidential candidate is hurting Muslims by being seen at every kind of worship house but a mosque.
Some of the recent criticisms of Obama are more fair than others; take the Times Op-Ed today by Salam Al-Marayati and Rabbi Steven B. Jacobs, which rakes both John McCain and Obama over the coals for alienating Muslims in their rush to draw support from Jewish groups:
Just one day after Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton dropped out of the Democratic race, Sen. Barack Obama rushed to receive the blessing of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee. Last week, his campaign volunteers rushed to remove Muslim women wearing head scarves from a Detroit rally. Though Obama apologized, Muslims felt stung by a candidate supposedly running on a platform of inclusion and change.
But the snubs aren't limited to Obama. Sen. John McCain recently dismissed a Muslim American businessman from an important campaign committee. In March, McCain visited the Western Wall in Jerusalem but made no similar visit to the adjacent Muslim holy site, the Dome of the Rock. And although both candidates have made frequent stops at churches and synagogues, neither has made a campaign stop at a mosque.
Some pundits, however, spare the rod on McCain. In the New York Times today, columnist Roger Cohen employs the "campaign stop at a mosque" criticism, but aims it only at Obama. For Cohen, the stakes are high — a casual drop-in by Obama to a mosque could save (wait for it) ... the world!
As Andrea Elliott chronicled in an important article in The Times, Obama has visited churches and synagogues, but no mosque. He had to apologize after two Muslim women wearing head scarves were barred from appearing behind him at a recent rally in Detroit.
Obama should visit a mosque. He has repeatedly shown his courage during this campaign; Americans have responded to his intellectual honesty. One of the important things about him is the knowledge his Kenyan and Indonesian experiences have given him of Islam as lived, rather than Islam as turned into monstrous specter....
Fear-mongering about Islam is a global industry. It thrives on ignorance. Obama has a unique power to break the cycle, not least by emboldening moderate Muslims to denounce terror. Nothing would do more in the long run for the security of the world.
It must be beyond frustrating for Obama that his exotic-sounding name and globe-trotting childhood saddle him with some kind of "responsibility" just as much as they lend themselves to foolish rumors. Just last March, the Pew Research Center released a poll showing all kinds of confusion over Obama's religion: 10% of Americans thought he was a Muslim, a whopping 79% had heard rumors to that effect and barely half could identify his true faith, Christianity.
Considering how the faith pendulum has swung from an irrational fear of his inner Muslim to furor over his exclusion of Muslims in a matter of a few months, I'm surprised Obama hasn't decided to become an atheist — but that conversion would really ruin his chances.
Photo: Associated Press