Is Obama Muslim? No, but Islam upbringing key
by Melvyn L. Fein
Columnist
November 26, 2012 01:28 AM | 4378 views | 37 37 comments | 10 10 recommendations | email to a friend | print
A week before the election I participated in a debate at Kennesaw State University where I upheld the Romney side of the argument. This was a great deal of fun until I suggested that Barack Obama felt sympathetic toward Islam and its adherents.

At this, half the audience grew restive. What these people thought they heard me say was that Barack Obama is a Muslim. Now angered by my ignorance and insensitivity, they perceived me as a “birther” who hadn’t the sense to recognize that our president is a Christian.

Barack Obama is indeed a Christian, but that does not preclude his being kindly disposed to Muslims. It must be remembered that his father was a Muslim. To be sure, Barack senior was not very observant; nor was he present to raise his son. Nevertheless his offspring had to be aware of, and respectful of, his father’s religion.

But more than that, Barack’s stepfather was Muslim. So is his sister. In fact, Barack spent many of his formative years in Indonesia associating with Muslims and going to school with them. Indeed, this is where he came to the conclusion that the Muslim morning call to prayer is one of the most beautiful sounds in the world.

Nor did his ostensibly Christian mother or grandparents do much to counteract this influence. While they wanted Barack to identify himself as an American, they were not religious people and hence did not press a Christian point of view upon him.

Is it any wonder then that when he came of college age many of Obama’s closest friends were Pakistanis? He socialized with them, he roomed with them and he travelled to meet their families in Pakistan. In truth, it was only when he decided that this association would not be good politically that he cut them out of his life.

Christianity did eventually enter Obama’s life-space — but as a calculated decision. Having come to the conclusion that an American black could not succeed in politics unless he was a Christian, he sought out black ministers to provide him with a religious education once he moved to Chicago to become a community organizer.

Incidentally, he chose Chicago because it had a black mayor and therefore appeared to be fertile ground for his ambitions. If this seems cold and calculating, I submit that our president’s political career is replete with evidence of how cold and calculating he can be.

In any event, it was no accident that once in office, he used the bully pulpit to extol the virtues of Islam. He did this in Cairo, in Indonesia, and at the United Nations — where each time he insisted it was a religion of peace. All of this was presumably intended to lessen international tensions, but it was likewise in harmony with his sentiments.

Why does this matter? Why can’t Obama be as approving of Islam as he desires? The answer is that Islamic terrorism remains with us. We have seen it in Benghazi, on the streets of Cairo, and in the violence in Syria. We have especially seen its potential in the nuclear centrifuges of Iran.

Now the Middle East is a tinderbox. Enemies who no longer feel restrained by American power surround Israel. At this point it is difficult to know where events will lead — but a general war is not out of the question.

Meanwhile, on the home front, liberals feel more sympathetic toward the Palestinians than the Israelis. Kim Kardashian discovered this when she tweeted that she was praying for Israel. As a result, she was immediately attacked and instructed that she must pray for the Palestinians instead.

Under these circumstances, where do Obama’s loyalties lie? No doubt, he will be constrained by the political realities of our nation. Nonetheless, what he will do when under fire may be influenced by longstanding patterns of thought and emotion.

Melvyn L. Fein Ph.D., is professor of Sociology at Kennesaw State University.
Comments
(37)
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Joe Da Pllummer
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November 29, 2012
Mr Too funny makes the following statement,"right wing CBN watching crack-pot," then Mr not too funny wants to engage others in a civil discussion. Now that is Too Funny.
Too funny
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November 29, 2012
I simply asked for evidence of the President's alleged Islamic upbringing. The evidence I was given is as follows:

1. I must read Daily Kos

2. I must watch Chris Matthews

3. I get my news from Kevin Foley

4. I am a Christophobe

5. I must watch CNN, NBC, CBS, ABC, and MSNBC

6. I am not too funny

I rest my case.

Jack Pepper
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November 27, 2012
The latest headlines show that all over the world, Muslims make war and terror. So why should we believe they are not stewing for the same here, just biding their time until the "time is right." They all breathed a sigh of relief when Obama was re-elected, because they believe he is at heart a Muslim. Just one example:

BANGKOK, Nov 27, 2012 (AFP) - Teachers in insurgency-wracked southern Thailand decided Monday to suspend classes at hundreds of schools in the region over the killings of education workers by Muslim militants.

Too funny
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November 27, 2012
Radical Islam is a horrific, misogynistic, and violent religion, but to hint that the President is a sympathizer with those monsters is astronomically imbecilic.
Too funny
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November 29, 2012
evidence please. Put up or shut up.
Pumpkin Vine
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November 28, 2012
Me thinks Mr Too funny is spending so much time here that he is falling behind reading The Daily Kos.
Too funny
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November 28, 2012
Still waiting on the evidence to back your "loud and clear" statement.
Klein Foleyic
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November 28, 2012
@Too funny

Oh, I understand now. So, CNN, NBC, CBS, ABC, and definitely MSNBC are what you consider primary sources, and Chris Matthews is what you consider a source of objective evidence?
Too funny
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November 28, 2012
No - provide objective evidence from primary sources
Klein Foleyic
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November 28, 2012
@Too funny

What do you consider right wing propaganda? My guess is anything you disagree with would fit your definition of so called propaganda.
Too funny
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November 28, 2012
@Klein Foleyic, without regurgitating right wing propaganda, enlighten us with this "loud an clear" evidence please.
Klein Foleyic
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November 28, 2012
@Too funny

No need to consider hints. Obama's actions and policies clearly prove he is an Islamic supporter and a Muslim sympathizer. Moreover, Obama's anti Christian policies speak loud and clear.
Pumpkin Vine
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November 29, 2012
@Too funny

Evidence of what? Your views are very self-evident.
Too funny
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November 27, 2012
Your headline says, "Islam upbringing key" which to most discerning readers would suggest that you are yet another right wing CBN watching crack-pot suggesting BS that just isn't true. Just quit being stupid.
SG781
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November 27, 2012
@Too funny

Your Christophobia is very apparent.
Too funny
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November 28, 2012
Wrong. I trust all religions equally.
SG781
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November 28, 2012
@Too funny

Your definition of trust is not equal at all.

Right?

Too funny
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November 28, 2012
Of course it is equal. I question the rationality of any adult in any part of the world who gets their advice and guidance from an imaginary friend
SG781
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November 28, 2012
@Too funny

But you consider gospel any advice and guidance you get from Chris Matthews or Kevin Foley? Yes, I see now what meets your definition of rational.
Too funny
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November 28, 2012
Ummm, no. I don't watch television news and Kevin writes opinion pieces. Opinion is a word you should look up in the dictionary so that you can start to understand the difference. (unless you think dictionaries are left wing conspiracies as well)
Learning Fast
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November 26, 2012
I always enjoy reading your work, Dr. Fein. And, as usual, I learned some new perceptions from reading this piece.

The fact is, I never realized our President was a Christian. I always presumed the absence of Christianity in his heritage would result in his assumption of his more prevalent Islamic family background. So thank you for helping me in this regard.

Oh, one more thing, could you please point me to your source that proves him to be a Christian? I've looked all over and cannot find anything on it. Thank you.
Bubba W
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November 26, 2012
Strange how no one has mentioned CAIR (Council on American Islamic Relations). The liberal Marxist media is also silent about CAIR. Who or what is CAIR? CAIR is an American based organization which finances and promotes domestic terrorism. CAIR also launders money sent from America to finance overseas Islamic terrorism, such as the attack on Benghazi. Whenever special rights are demanded to build a new mosque, CAIR will show up and file a dozen frivolous lawsuits against local zoning officials, in an attempt to bankrupt small towns. CAIR is big money which is being used to bring sharia law to American and take over entire cities, such as Deerborn, Michigan. Barrack Hussein Obama fully support CAIR.
Betsey
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November 27, 2012
Read the book "Muslim Mafia" by Gaubatz and Sperry for their inside look at CAIR. Gaubatz worked with them as an intern and exposes exactly who they are. The network they provide and the power to prevail in towns across America against local officials and small town journalists is a must read.
frogbreath
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November 26, 2012
So, Foley,

In your haste to have at Dr Fein are you suggesting hat Obama was not raised Muslim? Did not attend a madrasa? Are he words from Bush's mouth a challenge to what Dr Fein wrote?/ I think not.

For well over five years now, I have watched as conservative voters have been accused of racism.

I wish to use the other edge of that sword and suggest that your perpetual attacks on Dr Fein are motivated by anti semitism.

Wear that accusation for a while. You certainly have used racism against Dr Fein many times here.

Zain2
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November 26, 2012
This is the kind of shallow and intolerant reasoning that will no doubt attract some people.

So what if Obama does have a soft spot for muslims. What is wrong with that. There are 2 billion muslims in the world? Is Mr Fein implying that ALL muslims (or atleast the practicing ones) be vilified and viewed with suspicion. Is that the way forward Mr Fein? So the terrorist acts of a few should put us at war with 2 billion citizens of the world? Rather than tackle the terrorism problem itself, we should prepare for a world war? Bravo, Mr Fein. Do you have a muslim neighbor by any chance? Do they have a family and do they work for a living too? Any chance you have witnessed that?

But from reading this article and the xenophobia he is attempting to spread, I suspect that Mr Fein is a single issue person. Its not hard to connect the dots here. Likud Israel views muslims and arabs as their greatest challenge to uncontested land grab. Doesn't it work beautifully for Likudniks if Americans too would hate muslims and using their might fight them everywhere. So it should not surprise anyone that the people who spew the most hatred for muslims also happen to be in love with Israel and its policies of segregation. A subsequent opinion piece should point out this similarity and talk about where their loyalties lie.
Betsey
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November 27, 2012
There is no place for such anti-Semitism in America, Zain2. I did not interpret Dr. Fein's column to be offensive to "ALL Muslims" nor did he promote xenophobia. He simply states the reality of our president's preferences. Why so sensitive? This victimhood thing is amazing with you Muslims. You've existed peacefully in America for generations, yet post-9-11 you act as though YOU were the ones enslaved in our history.... Americans owe you nothing but the opportunity to live your lives. The average Muslim in Georgia shouldn't have to meet some higher standard of patriotism, but in your possible attempts to distance yourselves from radical elements, you resort to victimhood and accusing non-Muslims of something which we are not guilty of. NO ONE has penalized Muslims in America since 9-11. If anything, your status has been elevated, within the White House, State Dept., FBI and other organizations as we attempt to bend over backwards to show our tolerance. Until you address incidents of radical imams spreading their ideas in mosques around the country....we will be suspicious.
Zain2
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November 27, 2012
Is it just me or is it an oxymoron to be saying that I am (or muslims are) playing victims (for saying why vilify our entire community) while in the same breath a criticism of the state of Israel (not jews mind you) is being labelled as antisemitic. Now that is victim-hood for you.
Mo Abdul
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November 28, 2012
@Zain2

Your xenophobia is not as big a problem as your faulty logic.
Embarassed
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November 26, 2012
Mr Fein, PHD, questions the President's loyalties, promotes religious intolerance and cites Kim Kardashian as an example. If this is the kind of professors employed at Kennesaw State University, you can be certain, that institution will be removed from consideration for any of my children's choices for higher education.

Kevin Foley
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November 26, 2012
Pres. George W. Bush must have been raised as a Muslim, using Doc Fein's intolerant reasoning:

"Here in the United States our Muslim citizens are making many contributions in business, science and law, medicine and education, and in other fields. Muslim members of our Armed Forces and of my administration are serving their fellow Americans with distinction, upholding our nation's ideals of liberty and justice in a world at peace."

Remarks by the President on Eid Al-Fitr

The Islamic Center of Washington, D.C.

December 5, 2002

"Over the past month, Muslims have fasted, taking no food or water during daylight hours, in order to refocus their minds on faith and redirect their hearts to charity. Muslims worldwide have stretched out a hand of mercy to those in need. Charity tables at which the poor can break their fast line the streets of cities and towns. And gifts of food and clothing and money are distributed to ensure that all share in God's abundance. Muslims often invite members of other families to their evening iftar meals, demonstrating a spirit of tolerance."

Remarks by the President on Eid Al-Fitr

The Islamic Center of Washington, D.C.

December 5, 2002

"America treasures the relationship we have with our many Muslim friends, and we respect the vibrant faith of Islam which inspires countless individuals to lead lives of honesty, integrity, and morality. This year, may Eid also be a time in which we recognize the values of progress, pluralism, and acceptance that bind us together as a Nation and a global community. By working together to advance mutual understanding, we point the way to a brighter future for all."

Presidential Message Eid al-Fitr

December 5, 2002

"Islam brings hope and comfort to millions of people in my country, and to more than a billion people worldwide. Ramadan is also an occasion to remember that Islam gave birth to a rich civilization of learning that has benefited mankind."

President's Eid al-Fitr Greeting to Muslims around the World

December 4, 2002

"Ours is a war not against a religion, not against the Muslim faith. But ours is a war against individuals who absolutely hate what America stands for, and hate the freedom of the Czech Republic. And therefore, we must work together to defend ourselves. And by remaining strong and united and tough, we'll prevail."

Press Conference by President Bush and President Havel of Czech Republic

Prague Castle, Prague, Czech Republic

November 20, 2002

Samuel Adams
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November 27, 2012
Wow, Foley can Google.

Now Google "terror attacks U.S. post 9-11"

Of course, you won't see the word Muslim at all, but we know when they yell Allah Ackbar who they are.
commenters galore
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November 26, 2012
First, thank you for a very thoughtful, insightful and accurate column. Its interesting that the Muslims come out to defend themselves and their religion but are always remarkably silent when it comes to speaking out against Muslim terrorists who attack us. And to add a little more fodder to the discussion, wonder how long before they try to foist Sharia law off on us?
Betsey Ross
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November 26, 2012
Excellent column Dr. Fein. Isn't it interesting that the posts in response are dramatic overstatements of your ideas on Obama...just as your recent comments were interpreted by their brain as you saying Obama "is" Muslim, now they accuse you of indicting all Muslims in the war on terrosim. This is because the narrative has been decided, ten years in, that Islam is going to be portrayed as a VICTIM of the political group they despise rather than the reality -- that there is a pushby some Muslims to put more Muslims in powerful positions in the U.S. government so as to further undermine our U.S. Constitution which is incompatible with the Muslim's final goal of introducing the sharia law into our country. By many imams' admissions, sharia is incompatible with the Constitution.

At the last Democratic convention four years ago, just around 30 delegates were Muslim. At this last one, more than 230 Muslims were among the delegates. Is it a coincidence that at their convention, they denied God three distinct times, yelling NAY, cheering the voice vote and turning their backs on the Christian god? I think it's no coincidence.

And Dr. Fein's assertion that Obama's Muslim roots are stronger than his political decision to become a Christian is spot on. In his second term, we'll start to see special treatment of anything Muslim. While the Catholics and other groups are forced to comply with governmental mandates, the Muslims will gain special waivers, and before you know it we will be France, Belgium, Sweden, Norway....with blasphemy laws and all that goes with them.

I am NOT anti-Muslim. But if just one percent of Muslims are radical, that's about a half million too many radicals for me. I will protect any Muslim's right to worship in my neigborhood, and I would hope he would do the same for me, but I will not cede special rights and privileges because I live under the Constitution, not the sharia.
GregAbdul
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November 26, 2012
Obama isn't supposed to like Islam because out of almost two billion people, some of us are criminals? And that is a rational response, unlike the birthers and those who say he is Muslim? And you say that because obviously no Christian does any violent crime? There is irrationality on the conservative side that for some reason, seems quite unable to go away. Please stop and reflect. In America, Islam is a growing phenomenon protected by the First Amendment. Republicans keep coming off like a bunch of hateful, prejudiced, old white guys. After Romney has been thoroughly trounced less than a month ago, here you are, trying to explain why your prejudice against Muslims is okay and everyone should feel that way. Your column shows that old white America/Republicans have a lot of soul searching to do. As Muslims, our biggest problem today in America is that our mosques are filled beyond capacity and our need for construction of new space is getting the attention of locals who think like you. Please get over your prejudice. The Framers did not intend for you to sit in judgement of my private relationship with God, nor Mr. Obama's. I agree. Our president is a calculating politician, but you also need to understand that a big part of his calculation is that your criticism would be seen as prejudice. You can be true to your faith and at the same time accept my freedom in America not to believe in worshiping a man. The Republican Party is headed the way of the dinosaur. The question we all watch and wait to be answered is if any of you have something to save the American conservative movement. More of the same old mean old white man routine is certainly not the answer.
zar
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November 26, 2012
Just as you have very diplomatically provided a rational argument for why Obama would be a closet Muslim sympathizer, your ignorant comment associating Islam with terrorism because of the actions of a specific few belie your hidden prejudices. Surely, if you can hide and only display your prejudices in such a subtle fashion, so can Obama. You have tried to make it seem like a rational argument but failed the basic test of logic. Terrorists who happen to be Muslims do not make the religion Islam a terror loving religion. If that logic could be upheld, then one could argue Christianity produces the highest number of terrorists. Note the number of Christian murderers, rapists, muggers, thieves and whatever other kinds of criminals exist in the U.S. Should we just resort to calling them terrorists. What about the Christian Basque killers in Spain or the God know how many other Christian groups all around the world that nobody pays any attention to. The fact is, the current era is one of Western Christian powers. As they say, might is right. And in that vein, Christian powers define, rightly or wrongly what is terror and what isn't. So before you give us your diplomatically worded rationalizations, please understand there are many people who see it for what it is, illogical vitriol
Jawahar Gandhi
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November 27, 2012
Islam is indeed an evil religion because it succeeded in inspiring more than a billion people to raise their voice against Zionist atrocities on defenceless Palestinian muslims; atrocities which would put Hitler to shame; Zionism is Nazism reincarnated
@zawahar ghandi
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November 27, 2012
You are incorrect. There is a direct correlation and history of cooperation between radical Muslims and the Nazis, with many, many photos on file of Muslim leaders meeting with Hitler, Himmler, et al. very well documented. They collaborated in the extermination of the Jews, and though the Nazi regime does not exist today, the rise of anti-semitism in Europe and now the Icelandic countries is directly related to the open border policies of the socialist governments, allowing Muslims and political correctness to virtually take over their nationalistic identities. America, it would seem, is about a dozen years behind, and Obama is hell bent on making us a carbon copy, bending to the Muslim demands. Bowing, in fact, like a boy student in a madrassah.

Today's conflict between Israel and Hamas in the Gaza is a direct result of many rockets being fired into Israeli civilian population centers without provacation. And this was AFTER Israel ceded the Gaza territory to the Palestinians. NO MORE PROPAGANDA!
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