M. Douglas Wray

Damn Lies

From http://urbanlegends.about.com/library/bl_barack_obama_muslim.htm

Barack Obama Is a Muslim

Netlore Archive: Email rumor alleges that probable U.S. presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama is a loyal Muslim who has lied about his religious background, including his claim to being a devout Christian

Description: Email rumor

Circulating since: January 2007

Status: False

Analysis: See below

Email example contributed by Bill W., 15 January 2007:

Subject:Fwd: Be careful, be very careful.Barack Hussein Obama was born in Honolulu, Hawaii, to Barack Hussein Obama Sr. (black muslim) of Nyangoma-Kogelo, Siaya District, Kenya, and Ann Dunham of Wichita, Kansas. (white atheist ).

When Obama was two years old, his parents divorced and his father returned to Kenya. His mother married Lolo Soetoro -- a Muslim -- moving to Jakarta with Obama when he was six years old. Within six months he had learned to speak the Indonesian language. Obama spent "two years in a Muslim school, then two more in a Catholic school" in Jakarta. Obama takes great care to conceal the fact that he is a Muslim while admitting that he was once a Muslim, mitigating that damning information by saying that, for two years, he also attended a Catholic school.

Obama's father, Barack Hussein Obama, Sr. was a radical Muslim who migrated from Kenya to Jakarta, Indonesia. He met Obama's mother, Ann Dunham-a white atheist from Wichita, Kansas-at the University of Hawaii at Manoa. Obama, Sr. and Dunham divorced when Barack, Jr. was two.

Obama's spinmeisters are now attempting to make it appear that Obama's introduction to Islam came from his father and that influence was temporary at best.

In reality, the senior Obama returned to Kenya immediately following the divorce and never again had any direct influence over his son's education.

Dunham married another Muslim, Lolo Soetoro who educated his stepson as a good Muslim by enrolling him in one of Jakarta's Wahabbi schools. Wahabbism is the radical teaching that created the Muslim terrorists who are now waging Jihad on the industrialized world.

Since it is politically expedient to be a Christian when you are seeking political office in the United States, Obama joined the United Church of Christ to help purge any notion that he is still a Muslim.

Handsome . . . Charming . . . Winsome . . . Dangerous . . . Deceptive . . . Determined

Email example contributed by Cee K., 10 January 2007:

Subject: ObamaThis is the "dude" that some people want to be the next President of the United States. Scary isn't it???????

Speaking bluntly, in a real presidential election, no one in their right mind would vote for Obama. That would be like voting for the guy who just moved in down the street from you, that you wave to from time to time but don't know a thing about. That's Obama. He's been a US Senator for about 100 days, give or take a week. Obama takes great care to conceal the fact that he is a Muslim while admitting that he was once a Muslim, mitigating that damning information by saying that, for two years, he also attended a Catholic school. Obama's father, Barack Hussein Obama, Sr. was a radical Muslim who migrated from Kenya to Jakarta, Indonesia. He met Obama's mother, Ann Dunham, a white atheist from Wichita, Kansas at the University of Hawaii at Manoa. Obama, Sr. and Dunham divorced when Barack, Jr. was two. Obama's spinmeisters are now attempting to make it appear that Obama's introduction to Islam came from his father and that influence was temporary at best. In reality, the senior Obama returned to Kenya immediately following the divorce and never again had any direct influence over his son's education. Dunham married another Muslim, Lolo Soetoro who educated his stepson as a good Muslim by enrolling him in one of Jakarta's Wahabbi schools. Wahabbism is the radical teaching that created the Muslim terrorists who are now waging Jihad on the industrialized world. Since it is politically expedient to be a Christian when you are seeking political office in the United States, Obama joined the United Church of Christ to help purge any notion that he is still a Muslim, which, ideologically, he remains today.

Comments: As of this writing, Illinois senator Barack Obama has yet to officially declare his candidacy for the presidency, but an Internet smear campaign has already been launched against him. We are asked to believe that Obama, who professes to be a practicing Christian and has spoken publicly of his “personal relationship with Jesus Christ,” is in fact secretly a Muslim and has lied all along about his true religious affiliation.No proof is offered by those who make these claims — no sightings of Barack Obama attending a mosque, no pictures of him reading the Qur’an, praying to Mecca, or observing Islamic holidays with his family. The entire case, such as it is, rests on a confused and error-ridden recitation of Obama’s upbringing and purported childhood influences. It also rests on — or exploits — a deep fear and suspicion of the Muslim faith.

Virtually everything we do know about Obama’s parentage and upbringing, it should be stipulated, comes from the senator himself. Obama told the story of his search to uncover his African heritage in Dreams from My Father (Three Rivers Press, 2004), and shared further autobiographical details in The Audacity of Hope (Crown Publishers, 2006). He spoke at length about his Christian beliefs in a 2004 Chicago Sun Times interview with Cathleen Falsani. Must we take his word for everything? Not necessarily, but in the absence of contrary evidence we have no reason to seriously doubt Obama’s own candid account of his life history.

Was Obama’s father, Barack Hussein Obama, Sr., a “radical Muslim who migrated from Kenya to Jakarta, Indonesia?”

No. Though Barack Hussein Obama, Sr. was raised a Muslim, he had lost his faith and become a “confirmed atheist” by the time he attended college, according to his son. Obama’s parents separated when Barack was two, his father moving not to Jakarta, but to the United States, where he attended Harvard. Eventually he returned to Kenya.

Did Obama’s mother go on to marry another Muslim named Lolo Soetoro who “educated his stepson as a good Muslim by enrolling him in one of Jakarta’s Wahabbi schools?”

Yes and no. When Obama’s mother remarried, it was indeed to an Indonesian man named Lolo Soetoro, whom his stepson describes as a “non-practicing” Muslim. But it was his “secular” mother who supervised his education, Obama has written, sending him to both Catholic and Muslim primary schools after the family moved to Jakarta. There is nothing on record to indicate Obama attended a madrassa (Muslim religious school) run by Wahabbists, and in any case it’s unlikely his mother would have chosen to expose him to such an extreme form of Islam given her stated abhorrence of religious closed-mindedness and her stated goal of giving him a well-rounded education, including in matters of faith.

Update: CNN has tracked down the school in question, the Basuki School in Jakarta, which a deputy headmaster described as a “public school” with no particular religious agenda. “In our daily lives, we try to respect religion, but we don’t give preferential treatment,” he told CNN. A classmate of Obama’s described the school as “general,” with students of many religious backgrounds attending. Obama entered the school at the age of 8 and attended for two years.

Is it true that “Obama takes great care to conceal the fact that he is a Muslim while admitting that he was once a Muslim?”

Once a Muslim? When? Unless I missed it while skimming Obama’s two books and sundry interviews, the senator has never mentioned being a Muslim at any point in his life. Yes, he lived in a Muslim country during part of his childhood and briefly attended a Muslim school there, but he certainly wasn’t raised a Muslim and has never been, so far as I can determine, a practitioner of that faith.

That anyone, let alone a sitting U.S. senator with designs on the highest office in the land, would conceal being a Muslim for twenty-odd years while going through the outward motions of practicing Christianity (or vice-versa, for that matter) is a truly bizarre accusation. I’d be tempted to dismiss it as paranoid lunacy if it weren’t so obviously a crass, politically-motivated smear.

Sources and further reading:

The God Factor: Cathleen Falsani Interview with Barack Obama

Chicago Sun Times, 5 April 2004CNN Debunks False Report About Obama

CNN, 23 January 2007

Dreams from My Father

By Barack Obama (Three Rivers Press, 2004)

The Audacity of Hope

By Barack Obama (Crown Publishers, 2006)

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