One would have thought, one would have hoped, that those running the Obama campaign and the candidate himself would understand the need, now and especially after the election if he is successful, to reassure the many Americans, and others in Europe, who are unsure of him. They worry about whether he has some kind of sentimental family attachment to Islam — one that would prevent him from recognizing Islamic realities for other reasons than George Bush’s naive belief in the essential goodness of anything called, for want of a better word, a “religion.” Islam is far more than a religious faith in the ordinary sense; it is a politics, it is a geopolitics. It presumes to Command or Prohibit in every area of life, and thus constitutes a Complete Regulation of Life. That is what is so dear to the hearts and minds of those who are confused and thrown into mental disarray by modern life, and these, the psychically marginal, can find Islam to be The Solution, or at least Their Solution.
Obama has to demonstrate not merely that he is “a Christian” but that he grasps, as his predecessor did not grasp, what the ideology of Islam inculcates. He must understand, and cleverly share that understanding with those whom he presumes to instruct and protect, that Jihad, properly defined, is the duty — not tangential but central — of Muslims to engage in the “struggle” or Jihad to remove all obstacles, of every kind (the American Constitution, and especially the First Amendment, constitute such an obstacle), to the spread, and then to the certain dominance, of Islam.
Obama is quite capable, if he so chooses, of finding out what is in the Qur’an, Hadith, and Sira. And he ought to be capable of not taking tuition from the espositos and armstrongs, or even from the noah-feldmans, but by reading and learning from those who have read the informative and highly articulate “defectors” from Islam such as Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Wafa Sultan, and Ibn Warraq. He has to do this. He has to do it if he does not want to leave so many — including some who will vote for him despite all kinds of misgivings on this score — permanently nervous, or soon outraged and disappointed that he turned out to be what they had worried about and had hoped would not be the case.
Even if elected, he has a great deal of reassuring to do as to his knowledge of, understanding of, the ideology of Islam. This knowledge should be one based not on dreamy or sentimental visions of his biological but absentee father or his four childhood years in Indonesia. For in both the case of Kenya and Indonesia, especially decades ago, the easy-going, often syncretistic, and relaxed practices he would have encountered are merely misleading. What counts is not the Islam that Obama may have encountered as a child in places or connected to places (Kenya, Indonesia) that are far from the Middle East, in countries where there are still many non-Muslims, and where non-Islamic or pre-Islamic traditions are still much in evidence, not having yet been eradicated (although the situation in Indonesia, too, has changed, as the Muslims purs et durs are ever more insistent and aggressive). Obama may be elected, but he does not thereby become exempt from the responsibility, the duty, to reassure all of us that he is not a stalking-horse, does not harbor secret sympathies, and will be as resolute in his defense of the West and of America, this country that he keeps telling us he “loves so much.”
He, and Axelrod, and the rest of the juggernautish crew, should clearly understand that aside from the youthful tribe of sometimes hysterical enthusiasts, his support is not wild, but very measured, and mostly the result of the awfulness of the past administration and McCain’s failure to articulate sufficiently his differences with Bush, and not because people have ceased to be wary, and worried, about Barack Obama.
A meeting with Ayaan Hirsi Ali and others of that ilk would be a good thing. Attention to the Arab supremacism within Islam, exemplified in the genocidal campaign against black African Muslims in Darfur (and the renewed campaign against black African Christians and animists in the southern Sudan), would also be good. And Obama should stop talking about Afghanistan being the “central front” in the “war on terror” and instead take a much more effective approach, identifying the instruments of Jihad. He should not, for god’s sake not, repeat the Bush notion that we must transfer further Infidel wealth to Muslims in order to curb their aggression, which threatens to turn us, at a time when the tiniest OPEC Muslim Arab states have hundreds of billions in their “sovereign wealth funds,” even as needy as our own government and people have become, into the permanent supporters of any Muslim state or people who happen not to have oil, but who have been led to believe what the Qur’an teaches — that the Infidels owe them a living, or at least the Jizyah. They will have been led to believe this, alas, by the attitudes and behavior of Infidel governments themselves.
If Obama plays this wrong, four years of woe await him, as former enthusiasts, and others who always resisted falling into that category, see all their pre-election suspicions and worries confirmed. If he does what he should, what makes political and moral sense, and manages to do what Bush was incapable of, by openly and accurately identifying the ideology of Jihad (he can keep the word “Islam” out for now, and Kirsopp Lake’s son can explain to everyone on the campaign what the word “synecdoche” means) then many in this country and in India, and in southern Nigeria, and in southern Sudan, and in much of sub-Saharan Africa, and of course among the peoples of Western Europe who feel themselves and their freedoms and customs and laws everywhere under aggressive Muslim attack and siege, will be much relieved, and a first term not of woe but of weal may conceivably be the result.
It requires knowledge. It requires study. It requires an intelligent and deliberate choice. By Obama, and by those who advise Obama.