Friday, January 19, 2007


This is very sleazy: the Moonie periodical Insight has posted an article questioning whether Barack Obama is really a secret Muslim -- and is claiming that speculation about Obama's true faith is coming from Hillary Clinton's camp.

Are the American people ready for an elected president who was educated in a Madrassa as a young boy and has not been forthcoming about his Muslim heritage?

This is the question Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton's camp is asking about Sen. Barack Obama.

An investigation of Mr. Obama by political opponents within the Democratic Party has discovered that Mr. Obama was raised as a Muslim by his stepfather in Indonesia. Sources close to the background check, which has not yet been released, said Mr. Obama, 45, spent at least four years in a so-called Madrassa, or Muslim seminary, in Indonesia.

"He was a Muslim, but he concealed it," the source said. "His opponents within the Democrats hope this will become a major issue in the campaign." ...

Sources said the background check, conducted by researchers connected to Senator Clinton, disclosed details of Mr. Obama's Muslim past. The sources said the Clinton camp concluded the Illinois Democrat concealed his prior Muslim faith and education....

The article goes on to detail the alleged Obama deception. It's barely distinguishable from the crude e-mail I quoted on Wednesday, which is making the rounds.

But ascribing the search for Obama's past to Hillary -- that's clever. Insight gets to palm it off while pretending to be merely an innocent conduit of information; meanwhile, Hillary is portrayed as a sneaky, conniving, vengeful schemer -- just like a woman, just like a Clinton.

Maybe this won't go mainstream -- but it's already more than just a cheesy e-mail smear campaign, and we have nearly two years to go before Election Day '08.

My guess is that there's going to be a "lite" version of this attack that does reach the mainstream -- namely, that Obama's really an atheist or a believer in religion-as-buffet, and he's lying about his Christianity. Read the Snopes debunking of the Obama's-a-Muslim e-mail; note that Obama talks in his books about his father's atheism, his stepfather's status as a non-practicing Muslim, and his mother's religious eclecticism ("On Easter or Christmas Day my mother might drag me to church, just as she dragged me to the Buddhist temple, the Chinese New Year celebration, the Shinto shrine, and ancient Hawaiian burial sites"). The e-mail claims he joined the United Church of Christ because it's "politically expedient"; I can easily imagine cable talk-show hosts, goaded by new-style GOP Swift-boaters, asking whether he might have done this not because he's a Muslim and is lying about it, but because he has no faith, or is (gasp!) open to non-Judeo-Christian religious ideas, and is lying about it.

And getting that into the mainstream could drag the whole sleazy slander into the public consciousness.


And then there's another angle: Thomas Lipson, writing at the American Thinker -- a marginal right-wing site that tries to maintain a phony air of respectability -- describes Obama as a "Muslim forever," according to Islamic law, because he had a Muslim father, then argues that Obama's current Christianity "would seem to make him a potential target for death, according to at least the more militant adherents of Sharia law." Lipson expresses the hope

that an enterprising journalist will question Obama about whether or not he feels threatened by his apostasy, and ask him for an outright denunciation of the practice of enforcing the death penalty, and a call for religious freedom in Islamic countries.

These people are going to try every way they can to portray Islam as sinister and then hang Islam around Obama's neck. The only question is whether the mainstream press will give them an opening to do so.


UPDATE: Wow, this made it up the media food chain in a hurry:

This morning, Fox News featured a segment highlighting a right-wing report that Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) attended an Islamic "madrassa" school as a 6-year-old child.

Fox & Friends host Steve Doocy pointed out that madrassas are "financed by Saudis" and "teach this Wahhabism which pretty much hates us," then declared, "The big question is: was that on the curriculum back then?" Later, a caller to the show questioned whether Obama's schooling means that "maybe he doesn't consider terrorists the enemy." Fox anchor Brian Kilmeade responded, "Well, we'll see about that."

The Fox hosts failed to correct the false claim that Obama is Muslim. One caller, referring to Obama, said, "I think a Muslim would be fine in the presidency, better than Hillary. At least you know what the Muslims are up to." Anchor Gretchen Carlson responded, "We want to be clear, too, that this isn't all Muslims, of course, we would only be concerned about the kind that want to blow us up." ...

Twenty-one months before the election and we're already in the sewer. Rot in hell, Rupert.

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