• First published in 2004 as Bartholomew’s Notes on Religion (BNOR).

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NY Times Op-Ed Claims Obama is a Muslim Apostate

The New York Times has a strange piece by Edward Luttwak explaining why voting for Barack Obama would be a bad idea:

As the son of the Muslim father, Senator Obama was born a Muslim under Muslim law as it is universally understood. His conversion, however, was a crime in Muslim eyes; it is “irtidad” or “ridda,” usually translated from the Arabic as “apostasy,” but with connotations of rebellion and treason.

…At the very least, that would complicate the security planning of state visits by President Obama to Muslim countries, because the very act of protecting him would be sinful for Islamic security guards. More broadly, most citizens of the Islamic world would be horrified by the fact of Senator Obama’s conversion to Christianity once it became widely known — as it would, no doubt, should he win the White House. This would compromise the ability of governments in Muslim nations to cooperate with the United States in the fight against terrorism, as well as American efforts to export democracy and human rights abroad.

In the UK Damian Thompson of the Daily Telegraph enthuses that “Luttwak is on to something”, although various other blogs have managed some critical thinking and pointed out the shortcomings of Luttwak’s argument. The most detailed response has come from Ali Eteraz, who observes that as a child abandoned by his secular Muslim father and Muslim relatives it is unlikely that Obama could be regarded as an apostate. He also notes that

Luttwack’s [sic] affirmation of Islamic law over and above international law should raise concerns, not only about his expertise, but also his allegiances.

This seems to me to be pretty obvious. How does it help “the fight against terrorism” to reject a candidate who is (allegedly) unacceptable to foreign Islamists? Why is this not the “appeasement” that conservatives are constantly denouncing? We might also ask whether Luttwak would have raised such a concern about an ex-Muslim-turned-Republican firebrand running for president, or whether Thompson would be so keen to agree. If not, then we must conclude that this is a case of bad faith.

However, while Luttwak is unable to give us any actual examples of Islamists who want Obama dead (and indeed, much of the anti-Obama rhetoric has been based on the assertion that organisations like Hamas would prefer him as president), it is that case that the adherents of one particular ideology have threatened to kill him, and they are based in the USA rather than the Muslim world. Jesus’ General has a quote from a certain racist radio host named Hal Turner:

…I’m starting to come to the realization that it may be up to a sole person, acting alone, to make certain this guy is never allowed to hold the most powerful office in the world. Sorry it may have to be that way, but it may.

Probably this kind of thing already “complicates the security planning” of Obama’s movements.

(Hat tip: Islamophobia Watch)

PS: Stupidity comes in diverse forms; this blog reported in January that

On my way to church, I was listening to KIRO 710 on the radio and an Obama supporter calls in and said Hillary Clinton shouldn’t be president because having a woman in charge would offend Muslim countries (I don’t believe that this person is representative of the vast majority of Obama supporters).

One Response

  1. Dear Richard

    What is your Phd in – is it related to the topics on this blog page?

    Regards Gary

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