In 2007, the Washington Post blamed me for starting the "Obama is a Muslim" rumors -- ironically, since I had said just the opposite in a video (from which the above picture is taken) and in this column. But now, after four months of Obama's Presidency and his pursuit of a consistently anti-Israel line, his favoring of Muslim countries, his making conciliatory gesture after conciliatory gesture to Iran, the only one who can be blamed for the persistence of such rumors is...Barack Obama.
And even if he isn't a secret Muslim, there is little or no difference between the course he is pursuing and the course he would be pursuing if he really were one.
The turnabout from the stance he took on this issue during his campaign is marked. "The Emergence of President Obama's Muslim Roots," by Jake Tapper and Sunlen Miller for ABC News, June 2 (thanks to all who sent this in):
ABC News' Jake Tapper and Sunlen Miller report: The other day we heard a comment from a White House aide that never would have been uttered during the primaries or general election campaign.
During a conference call in preparation for President Obama's trip to Cairo, Egypt, where he will address the Muslim world, deputy National Security Adviser for Strategic Communications Denis McDonough said "the President himself experienced Islam on three continents before he was able to -- or before he's been able to visit, really, the heart of the Islamic world -- you know, growing up in Indonesia, having a Muslim father -- obviously Muslim Americans (are) a key part of Illinois and Chicago."
Given widespread unease and prejudice against Muslims among Americans, especially in the wake of 9/11, the Obama campaign was perhaps understandably very sensitive during the primaries and general election to downplay the candidate's Muslim roots. [...]
In September 2008, candidate Obama told a Pennsylvania crowd, "I know that I'm not your typical presidential candidate and I just want to be honest with you. I know that the temptation is to say, 'You know what? The guy hasn't been there that long in Washington. You know, he's got a funny name. You know, we're not sure about him.' And that's what the Republicans when they say this isn't about issues, it's about personalities, what they're really saying is, 'We're going to try to scare people about Barack. So we're going to say that, you know, maybe he's got Muslim connections.'...Just making stuff up." [...]
Since the election, however, with the threat of the rumors at least somewhat abated, the White House has been increasingly forthcoming about the president's roots. Especially when reaching out to the Muslim world.
In his April 6 address to the Turkish Parliament, President Obama referenced how many "Americans have Muslims in their families or have lived in a Muslim majority country. I know, because I am one of them."
And there has been outright deception. As Julia Gorin points out here, during the campaign Obama's Kenyan grandmother was identified as a Christian. Now she is a Muslim and is making the Hajj. Who set up this deception, and why?