National Black Republican Association: Obama’s “Startling Confession” of Being an Arab

Francis Rice, chairman of the National Black Republican Association, decides it’s a good idea to make people afraid of Obama on ethnic grounds:

Where did the claim that Sen. Barack Obama is an Arab originate?  It came from Obama himself.  That’s right.  Obama made this startling confession in his book “Dream From My Father” that can be viewed on the Internet

A “startling confession” of being an Arab? Here’s the quote – prepare to be underwhelmed:

“What did Marcus call you just now? Some African name, wasn’t it?”
“I thought your name was Barry.”
“Barack’s my given name. My father’s name. He was Kenyan.”
“Does it mean something?”
“It means ‘Blessed.’ In Arabic. My grandfather was a Muslim.”
Regina repeated the name to herself, testing out the sound. “Barack. It’s beautiful.” She leaned forward across the table. “So why does everybody call you Barry?”
“Habit, I guess. My father used it when he arrived in the States. I don’t know whether that was his idea or somebody else’s. He probably used Barry because it was easier to pronounce.”

Rice pounces on this:

Although Obama confesses in his book that his name, Barack, is Arabic, on the campaign trial, he is telling the American people that his name comes from the African language known as Swahili.

Why is Obama being so dishonest?  Why is he trying to hide his Muslim roots from the American people?

She then goes on to quote apocalyptic Christian fundamentalist Walid Shoebat as further evidence that Obama is “really” a Muslim.

OK, so to risk stating the obvious: (1) in the quote from the book provided by Rice Obama does not in fact claim to be an Arab (let alone “confess” to such a “startling” thing); (2) an Arabic name does not denote Arab ethnicity; (3) the word “Barack” is derived from Arabic via Swahili; (4) the fact that Obama has a partly Muslim family background has not been “hidden” by anyone; (4) the fact that Obama says “My grandfather was a Muslim” implies strongly that he does not identify himself as such.

2 Responses

  1. That a Kenyan Kuslim would give his son an Arabic name would not seem to be unusual. Devout Muslims of all backgrounds are encouraged to learn Arabic, so to be able to read the Koran in its original language.

  2. This is astonishingly ignorant. Swahili, like other languages that have been influenced by the Qur’an, has a number of loan words from the Arabic language, baraka among them. Not only Swahili speaking Muslims would use names like this, so would Christians, as this is an adjective that has meaning for people of all faiths.

    Thanks for exposing the idiocy of Francis Rice. Fortunately all signs point to the fact that this lunatic fringe of the Republican party is having little impact on this election. In fact, the unfairness of it may be pushing folks into the Obama camp. That would be the best thing that could happen – a landslide victory for Obama leading to the marginalization of the Karl Rovian attack dogs. I pray it will be so. Our country can’t take much more of this.

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