Barack Obama caused another stir over his ties to Islam on Sunday when he noted that “John McCain has not talked about my Muslim faith” in an interview with George Stephanopoulos. Stephanopoulos immediately corrected him, and Obama backtracked to say, “my Christian faith…What I’m saying is that he hasn’t suggested that I’m a Muslim.”
A few pundits tried to make something of this, attempting to revive the “Obama is a Secret Muslim” rumors, but there really wasn’t anything more to it than a verbal stumble. Obama is not a Muslim, and there is enough to question about training, experience, ideology, core values, and judgment without endlessly parsing the slip of the tongue of a tired man.
It is noteworthy, however, that just as this tongue-slip was making the rounds, Menashe Amir of Radio Israel’s Persian language service noted that “one of the Iranian religious leaders said if Obama will enter the White House, then Islam will conquer the heart of the American nation.” Amir, who was born in Iran, said the Iranian mullahs favor Obama “mainly because he is a Muslim.”
This recalled the words last June of Libyan strongman Muammar Qaddhafi, who characterized Obama as “a black citizen of Kenyan African origins, a Muslim, who had studied in an Islamic school in Indonesia.” Gaddhafi declared that “all the people in the Arab and Islamic world and in Africa applauded this man. They welcomed him and prayed for him and for his success, and they may have even been involved in legitimate contribution campaigns to enable him to win the American presidency.” He called on Obama — whom he referred to as “this black man” — to “take pride in his African and Islamic identity, and in his faith,” and “change America from evil to good” so that America would “establish relations that will serve it well with other peoples, especially the Arabs.”
Qaddhafi is famously loony, but there is no doubt that the Obama campaign has generated enormous enthusiasm in the Islamic world. Some of it is probably generated for propaganda value, and some is quite real.
Egyptian journalist Yasser Khalil declared recently that “Barack Obama represents a phenomenon that has drawn global attention and captivated the minds of Muslims around the world.” Writing from Cairo, he said that “in spite of the campaign’s heated debate and some controversial rhetoric regarding Islam, large segments of the Muslim population here remain fascinated with the election and have become big fans of Senator Obama.” He explained this fascination as a manifestation of Muslim “hope in the political approach of Obama and his advisers. His apparent eagerness to rally more international support for US policy, and even talk to America’s ‘enemies,’ is cause for optimism. Imagine what global politics might look like in Iraq, or Sudan, or Afghanistan, if Obama-like vision had influenced US leadership earlier.”
We can imagine that all too easily — and that’s the problem. The Iranian mullahs and Qaddhafi, among others in the Islamic world, are hoping that Obama will talk to our enemies the way Europe — still suffering the horrors of World War I’s aftermath — hoped that Neville Chamberlain would fly to Munich to talk to Adolf Hitler in 1938. And Obama, naïve and supremely self-confident, will be all too eager to oblige.
Since Obama would be talking to our enemies from the standpoint of the common liberal “blame America first” assumptions, he is likely to come away from such talks with results similar to those obtained by Neville Chamberlain. He will obtain Peace In Our Time, yes: but that time will last only until the next attack against Americans or our allies. Like Chamberlain’s, it will be a supremely fragile, evanescent peace that will render us weaker — both militarily and in terms of national will. And when it is reached, in the face of the global jihad threat, it will have made it easier for Islam to “conquer the heart of the American nation,” and nothing will be done seriously to impede its global advance.
The millions who suffer under the oppression of the Iranian mullahcracy deserve better — as do our allies in Israel and everywhere that free people are threatened by the jihad and Islamic supremacism. Barack Obama is not a Muslim. But the enthusiasm he has inspired among those who would like to see America brought to her knees indicates that they, at least, know exactly what he really is.