Friday, August 08, 2008

Obama's Muslim Upbringing

Daniel Pipes, a credible scholar of Islam, claims that Obama was raised a Muslim, despite Obama's claims to the contrary. The implications are (1) Obama is lying about his past (2) If he was raised a Muslim and is not now practicing it, then he is considered an infidel in Islam and ought to be executed. That is a keep principle of Islamic law. This could have significant political implications if he were to be elected president.

Notice that Pipes is not claiming that Obama is now a Muslim.


David said...

If I may offer an alternative interpretation of Obama's religious roots: there is a difference between being raised a Muslim and considering oneself a Muslim. The fact that Obama's father was Muslim, he registered as a Muslim in school, sometimes attended Mosque and so on, does not necessarily suggest that he ever endorsed Islamic teaching.

Now maybe he did consider himself a Muslim at one time. If that's true, then his recent statements to the contrary represent blatant lies. But all the evidence Piper points to is circumstantial, and does not demonstrate that Obama ever fully embraced the Muslim worldview. It would be no different from a Lutheran getting confirmed but failing to exercise faith in what was taught.

Jeff Burton said...

Though I think him the worst major party candidate of my lifetime, I will attempt to defend Obama on the charge of lying about ever having been a Muslim. You can grant all the facts in the referenced article and still believe Obama is not lying. What does the article say? That his biological father (who abandoned him at an early age) was Muslim. That his step-father was a Muslim, without any indication that he inculcated his step son in Islam. If what I've read about his mother is any indication, I doubt she would have encouraged him to practice Islam. That he went to a mosque once in a while. I've been to mosques, and I've never been a Muslim. That he was listed as Muslim on some sort of school registration. That's pretty equivocal. That he was in a Koran class (probably the result of his school registration - but again not proof he ever thought of himself as muslim). Then one random Indonesian's (whose relationship to Obama is not given) statement that he was "previously quite religious in Islam." The "piety" section was a non sequitur.

None of this is proof that Obama is lying. I have to take him at his word that he was not raised as a Muslim and never considered himself one.

It really bothers me when people throw around the term "liar" with little to back it up. The left has irked me to no end during the current administration with their constant and baseless charges of prevarication. To be fair, I have to draw attention to the same phenomenon on the right.

Rick said...

What bothers me about BHO is not so much is denial of being a muslim, but his claim of being a Christian.


Irf said...

Why does it annoy you, Rick? Can't a black man be a Christian? And if someone is a Muslim just because their father is Muslim, doesn't that mean Ayaan Hirsi Ali is also Muslim?

Tom Hinkle said...

The person whose Christianity I'm starting to doubt is Dr. Grootuis' for perpetuating this garbage against his brother in Christ. If you disagree with him about real issues, fine, but this is garbage.

Tom said...

David is exactly right. When you blow the chaff away from Piper's claims, what you have is that Obama's father was a Muslim (we knew that), that he occasionally went to the mosque (stands to reason if he was with his father who was a Muslim), that he lived in an predominantly Islamic country until he was ten (although he attended a Catholic school some of that time--does that make him Roman Catholic too?), and that he knows a little something about the Koran. And all of this is supposed to be inconsisent with his claim to have never *been* a Muslim? Give me a break.

I'm not the Obama fan that many are, but these kinds of scurrilous claims and suggestions are really out of line.

Ruth said...

What would happen if Barack Obama confessed that he was raised as a Muslim? Could Americans accept it?
I have no idea about the purpose of bringing up this topic. Can someone tell me?

Tom Hinkle said...

First, I apologize for my previous comment casting doubt upon Doug's Christianity. I was way out of line there.

Second, I still think this whole thing is bogus. Let's take it from a Christian angle. A person could be brought up as a child in the church, go to Sunday School, and even attend a Christian school, and yet never embrace Christianity. I would think the same could be said for Muslims. If Obama is saying that he never embraced the Muslim religion, I think we have to take his word for it. That would be a hard thing for an outsider to confirm or deny.

Third, adolfrechmann is obviously a neo-Nazi and should be banned. But you see, Doug, the type of people these accusations attract.

Bill said...

Thank you Tom Hinkle for saying something about Adolf's racist comments. I was curious to see how long it would be before someone caught on and/or Doug addressed it.

David said...


I think this issue was raised because Obama's background seems to suggest he's being dishonest about his connection to Islam. This would represent a strike against his moral credibility. In the end, however, I think the evidence is circumstantial and doesn't conclusively demonstrate that he is lying.

The mere possibility that he once practiced Islam is not the main issue, at least as far as I'm concerned. While a candidate's upbringing is relevant, insofar as it has contributed to their character and development, this could easily be over-emphasized when trying to judge suitability for public office.

On the other hand, if Obama was a professing Muslim at one time, then it is perfectly obvious why he would be motivated to conceal that fact. Given the current perception of Islam in Western culture, it would be difficult to imagine a former Muslim becoming president of our nation.

And for crying out loud, Doug, would you please ban this racist clown from the discussion thread?

Bill said...

So your handler/alias/name is Adolf Eichmann and you are not a Nazi?

Irf said...

"Given the current perception of Islam in Western culture, it would be difficult to imagine a former Muslim becoming president of our nation."

Which Western culture? Which Western country? How do you define "Western"?

In places like New Zealand and South Africa, Muslims aren't seen negatively.

And how rational is this predominant view of Muslims? Personally, I think it has less to do with terrorism and more to do with the fact that Islam is so similar to Judaism in its theological structure and the fact that it has a legal tradition.

And European Christians have had 700 years more practice at hating Jews.

Let's be honest about this. Evangelical Christians who support Israel do so because they want Armageddon to come quickly. And what will Armageddon involve? Well, there is the rapture. Then there is the slaughter of Jews. You might attack Nazis on this blog, but the evangelical Jesus will make Hitler's slaughter of Jews look like a picnic.

Tom Hinkle said...

Adolf, the URL you posted earlier links to a white supremicist organization. And you have the gall to say you're not racist?

David said...


The issues you raise are not relevant to this discussion thread. If you have an axe to grind, please take it somewhere else.

Ruth said...

I really appreciate your explanation. I agree with Tom Hinkie that BHO could have been raised Muslim but he never embraced it. It must be difficult for a Christian American to think about it but as a person who was born and raised in Indonesia, I could really understand what BHO meant by not embracing Islam. However, as a non-American, I am wondering what kind of president are Americans seeking for?

Irf said...

David, it isn't that the issues I raise are irrelevant. It's that they are too uncomfortable for Western Christians to face. Sometimes it takes a Western non-Christian to say what needs to be said.

Douglas Groothuis, Ph.D. said...

I had not checked these posts for a while, and did not notice Adolfeichmann. What kind of person would chose the name of a mass murderer for a name!?

This discussion is really out of hand. I never claimed Obama was a Muslim now. I explained why this is an issue. Are you folks reading what I said or what Pipes (not Piper) said?

I said nothing against black people or doubted that blacks can be Christians!

This Adolf character has a link to a racist web site, which I abhore and abominate. He may like my criticisms of Obama, but does so for the wrong reasons. I have nothing but contempt for any and every racist organization.

Thus I am banning him from the blog and deleting his comments. Sorry it took me so long; I wasn't keeping up with what was going on.