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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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