Obama’s website says, “Senator Obama was not educated in a Madrassa, was not raised as a Muslim, and was not raised by his father — an atheist Obama met once in his life before he died.”
But now they’re saying he was never a practicing Muslim.
“As a child, Obama crossed a cultural divide in Indonesia,” by Paul Watson in the Los Angeles Times, with thanks to the Constantinopolitan Irredentist:
JAKARTA, INDONESIA “” As a boy in Indonesia, Barack Obama crisscrossed the religious divide. At the local primary school, he prayed in thanks to a Catholic saint. In the neighborhood mosque, he bowed to Allah.
Having a personal background in both Christianity and Islam might seem useful for an aspiring U.S. president in an age when Islamic nations and radical groups are key national security and foreign policy issues. But a connection with Islam is untrod territory for presidential politics.
Obama’s four years as a child in Indonesia underscore how dramatically his background differs from that of past presidential hopefuls, most of whom spent little, if any, time in other countries. No one knows how voters will react to a candidate with an early exposure to Islam, a religion that remains foreign to many Americans.
Obama’s campaign aides have emphasized his strong Christian beliefs and downplayed any Islamic connection. The candidate was raised “in a secular household in Indonesia by his stepfather and mother,” his chief spokesman, Robert Gibbs, said in a statement in January after false reports began circulating that Obama had attended a radical madrasa, or Koranic school, as a child.
“To be clear, Senator Obama has never been a Muslim, was not raised a Muslim, and is a committed Christian who attends the United Church of Christ in Chicago,” Gibbs’ Jan. 24 statement said. In a statement to The Times on Wednesday, the campaign offered slightly different wording, saying: “Obama has never been a practicing Muslim.” The statement added that as a child, Obama had spent time in the neighborhood’s Islamic center.
His former Roman Catholic and Muslim teachers, along with two people who were identified by Obama’s grade-school teacher as childhood friends, say Obama was registered by his family as a Muslim at both of the schools he attended.
That registration meant that during the third and fourth grades, Obama learned about Islam for two hours each week in religion class.
The childhood friends say Obama sometimes went to Friday prayers at the local mosque. “We prayed but not really seriously, just following actions done by older people in the mosque. But as kids, we loved to meet our friends and went to the mosque together and played,” said Zulfin Adi, who describes himself as among Obama’s closest childhood friends.
In this post I gave some considerations about this. Briefly, I think that most likely the media and Obama’s campaign will ignore the question of whether, as an apostate from Islam, Obama is under a death sentence, and tar anyone who brings it up as a “bigot.” They (as well as Obama’s campaign) have a chance here to portray Obama as someone who was raised as a Muslim and thus has a keen understanding of the Islamic world and the Islamic mind — rather like the positioning of Bill Clinton as our “first black President.” Given Obama’s politics, it will not be hard to present him internationally as someone who understands Islam and Muslims, and thus will be able to smooth over the hostility between the Islamic world and the West. Muslim leaders worldwide will not be saying, “He was raised a Muslim. Isn’t that terrible?” Rather, I suspect that both Obama’s campaign and Muslim leaders worldwide will say, “He was raised a Muslim. Isn’t that wonderful? At last, someone who can see our point of view.”
In short, I will not be surprised if Obama’s Muslim upbringing becomes the linchpin of an attempt to present him as the only candidate who can end the war on terror — which, of course, he will propose to do by means of various varieties of appeasement.