Wednesday, June 11, 2008
“Before sitting down to tea in Tehran, at least one precondition Obama might consider making is establishing whether the mullahs believe that apostate Muslims, such as himself… should be killed”.
I was moved to send one of the authors this e-mail
Dear Robert Singh
Thank you for your
interesting analysis (with Thomas Lynch) published in the 'Guardian' comment column on 10 June.
Could you perhaps give a link or reference to a rigorous study showing that Senator Barack Obama was ever a Moslem thus giving himself the opportunity to become an apostate? If possible, other than your own writings.
I do note the amusing coincidence that one of the other articles published on the same Guardian page(on the subject of the TV programme 'Top Gear') quotes Roland Barthes’ argument that cultural myths develop through deceptive transparency in that "Myth... abolishes the complexity of human acts, it gives them the simplicity of essences ... (creating) a world wide-open and wallowing in the evident .. a blissful clarity". I have to admit to believing up to this point that the 'Obama as a (former) Moslem narrative' was one of those myths convenient to a particular set of arguments and I look forwards to discovering any challenges to my assumptions.
If I get a reply I will append it here.
But what do our LibDem Moslems make of this apostasy claim? Is there any way it could really have substance? And true or not if some over-excited person believes it and believes it needs lethal attention, this repeated casual use of the claim could have violent consequences.
I do also note that the book written by Lynch and Singh ‘After Bush: the Case for Continuity in American Foreign Policy’ has won high praise from the likes of Richard Perle of the American Enterprise Institute (sometimes described in the US Liberal political sphere as the ‘Prince of Darkness’); Daniel Pipes (of the Middle East Forum) and John Yoo (Professor of Law at Berkeley University and possible the most prominent US legal scholar to argue that the current US administrations actions on indefinite detention and torture are legally justified). Maybe that shows that I am practicing guilt by association mythologizing?
Somewhere in Open Democracy there is a comment on this book by Fred Halliday which says
"...[P]erhaps of greatest importance, there is no evident wish in the US - whether in the political elite in Washington, or in the Democratic Party, or in the nation as a whole - to abandon US primacy and exceptionalism. The new president of 2009 will only in some degree alter existing policies. Washington will continue to want to run, if not control, the world."
So maybe we should read Lynch and Singh as a warning against over-romanticising what could emerge from an Obama Presidency?
The biggest scandal about Obama's parentage should surely be the bigamy his father engaged in - he never divorced his first wife...
Obama should of course not be held responsible for the sins of his father.
Looking round the world of anti-Obama online postings, it seems that the Moslem Obama seekers have moved on from the failure of Barak Obama Sr to ensure his son was raised a Moslem.
The emphasis now is on Obama's time in Indonesia where his mother moved after marrying another Moslem, Lolo Soetoro.
Obama was educated at a Catholic school in Jakarta and later at a secular government school (so progressive in Indonesian terms that the female staff wore miniskirts). So much for the 'educated at a Madrassa' mantra.
However Indonesia has national identity cards and these include a category for 'religion'. It seems to be the common practice for Children automatically to be registered according to the stated ID card religion of the father, or legal father figure, so Obamas ID card status was 'Moslem'.
The one question which could possibly still be outsanding is whether the young Obama ever accompanied his stepfather to the Mosque at one of his infrequent big-occasion attendences and if so whether the young Obama ever said and understood the implications of the first prayer of any service, the recitation of the first sura of the Koran, known as the Fatiha. If he did so about the age of ten (the age when he left Indonesia) it is just possible I suppose that some Moslem legal schools would assume this to be an attestation of faith. Comments?
Obama's half-sister by the way has married a Chinese-Canadian. Her children are Buddhists.