26 April, 2010


He meant 47 states.. its clear from the context.
I must have held speeches until his brain fell out.

During the election rallies...

Analysis: It's true that during a May 9, 2008 campaign stop in Oregon, Barack Obama said he had visited 57 states. The exact quote, as transcribed in the LA Times "Top of the Ticket" blog (and viewable on YouTube), went as follows:

"It is wonderful to be back in Oregon," Obama said. "Over the last 15 months, we.ve traveled to every corner of the United States. I.ve now been in 57 states? I think one left to go. Alaska and Hawaii, I was not allowed to go to even though I really wanted to visit, but my staff would not justify it."

Not to excuse the gaffe, but it's clear from the context that the candidate intended to say he had been in 47 (or perhaps 48) states, excluding Alaska and Hawaii. Obama acknowledged the mistake later in the day by poking fun at his own "numeracy problem."

The rest of this email can either be taken as a joke or a smear, depending on how amusing one finds yet another reference to Obama's rumored secret adherence to the Muslim faith.

Are there exactly 57 Islamic states in the world? It depends on how you're counting. There are 57 member states in the above-mentioned Organization of the Islamic Conference, which roughly coincides with the number of countries currently boasting a Muslim majority population (estimates generally range from 55 to 57). If, however, the criterion for "Islamic state" is full-blown Muslim rule, the number is significantly smaller than 57.

Finally, is Barack Obama a secret Muslim? If you have to ask, you haven't been paying attention.

Is Barack Obama a Muslim?

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

Comments: We are asked to believe that Senator Barack Obama, who for 20 years has professed 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 Koran, 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 mistrust 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 all of it? Not necessarily. But in the absence of contrary evidence we have no reason to doubt Obama's own candid account of his life story.

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 news 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 have been able to 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 bizarre accusation. I would be tempted to dismiss it as paranoid lunacy if it weren't so obviously a crass, politically-motivated smear.

Is it true that when Obama was sworn into office he used the Koran (Qur'an) instead of the Bible?

No. According to news accounts Barack Obama placed his hand on his personal Bible during his Senate swearing-in ceremony, which was conducted by Vice-President Dick Cheney. Those making this allegation have apparently confused Obama with Congressman Keith Ellison, who actually is a Muslim and was sworn in on January 4, 2007 using a copy of the Koran.

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posted by u2r2h at Monday, April 26, 2010


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