Muslim in the White House.
When I wrote those words as far back as January 2007, I was called every name in the book. I was a hater, a racist, an islamophobe. When I wrote this oped, "Obama, the Muslim thing and why it matters," back in November 2007, I was excoriated. There were 265 posts at Atlas from January 2007 until the election under the heading: Muslim in the White House. Remember, you were not allowed to say it.
Well, all that is changed. Snap! Just like that. Imagine if the following piece had run during the election. Or better yet, after 911, when we still had our marbles.
It is a devastating piece. Today in Forbes magazine, it is finally declared. (hat tip Michael in Portugal)
I know it's odd to say this. At first, I thought I was the only Muslim engaging in this folly, and I am reluctant to express it lest right-wing zealots try to use "Muslim" as a smear and cite my theory as proof of an Islamic traitor in the White House or some such nonsense.
That would be me, I guess. As if being a Muslim had no implications. Looking over the global landscape, it is patently obvious that Islam is of no consequence. /sarc off
Truth is hate speech.
But, since Election Day, I have been part of more and more conversations with Muslims in which it was either offhandedly agreed that Obama is Muslim or enthusiastically blurted out. In commenting on our new president, "I have to support my fellow Muslim brother," would slip out of my mouth before I had a chance to think twice.
Of the few Muslims I polled who said that Obama is not Muslim, even they conceded that he had ties to Islam. These realists said that, although not an avowed and practicing Muslim, Obama's exposure to Islam at a young age (both through his father and his stint in Indonesia) has given him a Muslim sensibility. In my book, that makes you a Muslim--maybe not a card-carrying one, but part of the flock for sure. One realist Muslim ventured that Obama worships at a Unitarian Church because it represents the middle ground between Christianity and Islam, incorporating the religious beliefs of the two faiths Obama feels connected to. Unitarianism could be Obama's way of still being a Muslim. (And let's not forget that the church Obama worshiped at for so many years had a minister who reminds most Muslims of their own raving, excitable ministers. Even if Obama really is Christian, he picked the most Muslim-esque minister out of the bunch to guide him.)
This is all part of Obama's plan to turn this country away from its Judeo-Christian foundation and pervert it into an Islamo-Christian nation. Don't Christians know they will be eaten whole once the changeover is complete? READ HISTORY.
The rationalistic, Western side of me knows that Obama has denied being Muslim, that his father was non-practicing, that he doesn't attend a mosque. Many Muslims simply say back, "my father's not a strict Muslim either, and I haven't been to a mosque in years." Obama even told The New York Timesadhan, the Islamic call to prayer, which the vast majority of Muslims, I would guess, do not know well enough to recite. he could recite the
I think many of us Muslims see Obama as Muslim, or at least of Muslim heritage, because his background epitomizes one of the major Muslim experiences--a diverse upbringing that eludes any easy classification as specifically one religion or one culture. So many of us Muslims around the world have Islam in common, but an altogether different culture from one another. Many Muslims share a culture with a Christian, Hindu or Buddhist community but not the same religion. When faced with such diversity, there are no hard and fast rules for Muslim identity.
What no Jews? Were Jews deliberately omitted from her taqiyya? We know how wonderfully Islam has treated the Christians, Hindus and Buddhists? READ HISTORY!
So it's the ummah after all. Ummah first - expansion of Islam.
The Qur'an speaks often of the umma, or the worldwide community of Muslims. In the early days of Islam, the Prophet Muhammad led the small umma. Every decision, every effort, everything was for the umma--people who were often unrelated by blood but had become related by choice as Muslims. In those early days, many Muslims had gone against the wishes of their own families in converting to Islam, pitting brother against sister, father against child. Perhaps that's why the concept of umma became so dear and is still echoed today--in my opinion, echoed more than that Western favorite jihad--in Muslim homes, whether those homes are in the United States or in Palestine.
Perhaps it is my--and most Muslims'-- loyalty to the umma that is behind our insistence on seeing Obama as Muslim. Islam survived and continues to survive because Muslims believe we have to respect and take care of each other, as members of the umma.
Survive? At 1.5 billion Muslims, you're not surviving, honey. That submit or die thing is very effective.
If we were to start excluding members, or revising our broad guidelines for admittance, the very essence of the community feeling that is important in Islam, that gives me and other Muslims comfort everyday, would be undercut.
Broad? I hardly call the punishment of death for apostasy "broad"... I smelleth the taqiyya!
So when Obama says he's not Muslim, my umma mentality says I know better. Once you have a Muslim parent, especially a dad, you're in. Whether you like it or not, Muslims all over the world see you as one of them.
We have always known.