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Posted by on Jan 25, 2008 in Politics, Religion | 9 comments

Larry Sabato on Obama-Muslim Rumors

The Jewish Week:

University of Virginia political scientist Larry Sabato said it is important to examine the Obama rumors in the broader context of today’s bitter, unrestrained political environment.

“I’ve said consistently that this campaign will turn out to be one of the dirtiest campaigns in American history, and the first few weeks prove it,” Sabato told The Jewish Week. “Obama has borne a disgusting burden so far — attacks on his race that are worthy of the 1950s, and complete lies about his supposed ‘Muslim religion.’”

Sabato put part of the blame on the “mainstream media [which] has not done nearly enough to root out the perpetrators.”

He said suspicions about Obama’s religion may compound a racial divide in the campaign in which many white Democrats are simply reluctant to vote for a black presidential candidate.

Here are some more-valid reasons to be concerned about Obama:

Daniel Pipes shows (HERE and HERE) that because Obama’s father and step-father were Muslim and Obama did attend mosque as a child, the Muslim world may see Obama as a Muslim apostate although he is clearly a Christian today. If the Muslim world sees Obama as an apostate, his election may antagonize some elements thereof who may wish to kill him.

According to The Forward, a major American Jewish organization, the AJC (American Jewish Committee), circulated an internal memo questioning Obama’s potential approach to Middle East policy.

UPDATE: Just noticed this Editorial, also in The Jewish Week.

There are legitimate reasons to question Obama’s candidacy on the issues — the same can be said for all his competitors, Democrats and Republicans alike — but outrageous charges about how his childhood years in Indonesia indelibly taint him as a Muslim sympathizer go far beyond the pale.


Part of this reflects the corrosive victory-at-any-cost mentality that has turned “swift boating” into a verb. That is the motive behind “pollsters” who call voters, ostensibly to ask questions about issues but in reality to keep repeating Obama’s middle name — Hussein — as if that alone disqualifies him from the presidency. And in part, the fact these rumors are believed reflects a destructive, seemingly bottomless skepticism about our political leadership, fear and outright bigotry.

The insidious thing about such charges, as political scientist Gilbert Kahn noted in a recent Jewish Week blog, is that once spoken, “it is like you plant the seed in the mind of the jury even if the judge sustains the objection — it’s out there. The suspicion persists and has legs of its own.”

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Copyright 2008 The Moderate Voice
  • rudi

    Since when are Daniel Pipes smears a valid reason for any argument. Change Obama’s name with Debbie W. Schultz and they are just as ugly and unfounded.

  • Jim_Satterfield

    It’s highly unlikely that “the Muslim world” would consider Obama an apostate. Some might make the claim, but it’s highly unlikely that it would be a widely held belief. Never forget the decentralization of the Islamic faith compared to many Christian churches.

  • Davebo

    Rudi, I was wondering the same thing.

    And should conjecture about “the muslim world’s” reaction really be a factor for choosing a leader?

    There is no unified “muslim world”.

  • Lynx

    Yes, we would have to be concerned about Muslim extremists trying to kill Obama, because of course Muslim extremists wouldn’t want an American president dead if they didn’t think they could label him as an apostate.


    Any American president will be the target of Muslim extremist. How do you think they’ll feel about a female president? Yeah, I’m sure that’ll go down well. The fact of the gender or religion of any American president is besides the point, they’ll want to kill the president no matter who he or she is.

    If anything, electing Obama MIGHT (only might) serve to give contrast to extremists words in the eyes of ordinary Muslims. It won’t help their rhetoric of the Great Racist Satan if the US elects a man of color with a middle eastern middle name to it’s highest office.

  • rudi

    Lynx – Muslims never killed Guido in Dearborn when he lumped them into an “Arab problem“. The Great Spaghetti god called for him and thanked him with cancer. One day Dearborn will have a Muslim mayor, they have Muslim councilmen. But no Sharia law…

  • rudi

    Holly you have taken the article completely out of context, then you take this one step further with the Pipes smear. What Holly left out:

    Last week, a group of top Jewish leaders representing groups across the religious and political spectrum issued a statement that sought to stem the onslaught of disinformation.

    Leaders of the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations, the Anti-Defamation League and the American Jewish Committee, among others suggested the anti-Obama campaign represented an effort to “drive a wedge between our community and a presidential candidate based on despicable and false attacks and innuendo based on religion.” The group stressed their statement implied no endorsement of Obama’s candidacy.

    Other signers included leaders of the United Jewish Communities, the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, the Wiesenthal Center and the Jewish Council for Public Affairs.

    Newsweek magazine also published a “Fact Check” online two weeks ago examining and debunking the charges. And the Obama campaign itself is fighting back hard via press releases, public statements and distribution this week of an “open letter to the Jewish community” from seven Jewish Democratic Senate colleagues.

    “Over the past several weeks, many in the Jewish community have received hateful emails that use falsehood and innuendo about Senator Barack Obama’s religion and attack him personally,” the Jewish lawmakers wrote. “As Jewish United States Senators who have not endorsed a candidate for the Democratic nomination, we condemn these scurrilous attacks. We find it particularly abhorrent that these attacks are apparently being sent specifically to the Jewish community. Jews, who have historically been the target of such attacks, should be the first to reject these tactics.”

    The letter, written by Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.), was signed by Sens. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Russ Feingold (D-Wisc.), Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Ron Wyden (D-Ore.).

    Missing from the letter: Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), a leading supporter of Sen. Hillary Clinton’s Democratic nomination bid, and Sen. Herb Kohl (D-Wisc.). Two calls to Schumer’s office seeking information on his absence from the letter were not returned. An Obama campaign source said a decision had been made to stick with senators who were not backing any presidential candidate.

    Only the likes of Schumer is perpetuating the smear, and Holly.

  • Slamfu

    I’m sure before November we will see some actual posters flat out calling Obama a terrorist.

  • happy_hana

    Funny that Daniel Pipes is supposed to be any kind of authority on Islam. The idea that faith is inherited is absolutely, fundamentally antithetical to Islam. Islam is about the individual’s relationship with God. No priests or other intermediaries, no “chosen people” inherited status. It would be a heretical position for a Muslim to believe that which Pipes suggests. You are a Muslim when you say and believe, “La ilaha illa ‘Llah, Muhamaddur rasulu-‘Llah”.

    And yeah,gimme a break– since when do we choose our leaders out of fear of what a bunch of crackpot thugs think about them? Does Pipes know as little about democracy as he does Islam?

  • Loviatar


    Good point earlier regarding Holly in Cincinnati.

    I’ve come to notice that Holly is TMV’s moderate neo-con, so it is not surprising that she took the article completely out of context. She tends to filter most of the candidates statements through her; whats good for Israel the Likud Party is good for the US filter and that makes me question the validity of most of her infrequent postings.

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