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Being a Muslim Should Not be Political Kryptonite

Barack Obama belongs to the United Church of Christ. Yet some of his opponents try to associate him with Islam. In one debate, Obama had to refute the claim that he took his oath of office on the Koran, and reassured the public that he did in fact use the Christian Bible. Phew. Glad that's settled.

But wait a second. How does that make Muslim Americans feel about a near renunciation of their holy book? Christian Obama-supporters probably don't pick up the back-door insult delivered to their fellow Muslim Americans when they "defend" Obama against charges that he is Muslim.

To find out what Obama said when questioned about his time in Indonesia, a Muslim country,

. Obama explains that he went to school there, but did not practice Islam. He has said:

"It gives me insight into how these folks think, and part of how I think we can create a better relationship with the Middle East and that would help make us safer is if we can understand how they think about issues."

When our leaders use terms like Islamo-fascism, or Islamic terrorists, do you think being linked to Islam is dangerous for a politician? Many citizens are both proud Americans and faithful Muslims. So why is it such a potent political weapon to label a partisan foe a Muslim?

Join The Conversation
juju4 juju4 9 years
cmoon -- that is true, and is what keeps me awake at night! I can't believe he brought God into this war.
cmoon cmoon 9 years
I also think we need to remember that some other countries consider the US to be 'terrorists'. Our 'Christian' nation has killed more Muslims in the War on Terror than 9/11 many times over. We also need to remember that our president believes that God has directed him to pursue this path of war. That God put him in the presidency. So you can say this is a holy war. Bush has even said that himself.
Jillness Jillness 9 years
Wow, Princess! Thank you for all of the information!
princess_eab princess_eab 9 years
if you go to the site provided in the famous "Muslim" e-mail, www.snopes.com, you will see that it is a famous "debunking" of urban myths site. Every claim in the e-mail has been proven false as part of an "urban legend" by that site. It is not factual as the e-mail claims; in fact, should anyone simply click the link to Snopes.com, you will see it's been proved "false" at the top of the page. So this evidence actually makes the e-mail debunk itself! Many major news organizations have fully investigated the e-mail's claims over a year ago and continuing to this day, since it is so fast-spreading and so utterly simple to investigate and debunk: --Newsweek's Factcheck.org investigated the claims: http://www.newsweek.com/id/91424 --CNN visited Obama's school in Indonesia (video on Situation Room 1/22/07): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IZ4v7iLnvrQ --PBS also investigated the claims: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7wBOV0Xu4kY --Prominent Jewish leaders at the Simon Wiesenthal Center wrote a letter of protest against the smear: http://www.wiesenthal.com/site/apps/nl/content.asp?c=fwLYKnN8LzH&b=312458&content_id=%7BB03F16FC-B9E1-4AC9-BD73-3B410581C1E7%7D¬oc=1 --Link to official campaign's rebuttal, with evidence and links: http://www.barackobama.com/factcheck/2007/11/12/obama_has_never_been_a_muslim_1.php
princess_eab princess_eab 9 years
Obama. Does. Not. Have. Ties. To. The. Islamic. Religion. If people want to believe some pie-in-the-sky made-up nonsense about someone just because people tell you to, despite all well-investigated and established facts to the contrary, then there is absolutely NO hope left for Americans. This is depressing.
jessy777 jessy777 9 years
There are radicals in all religions and I do not believe for a minute that Obama will have a conflict of interest over fighting RADICAL Islamic terrorists because of ties he has within his family. A person can be born into a different religious family and make the choice to follow another faith. Does that mean they are not really of that faith? I have had this argument at work with a co-worker who firmly believes that because his parent(s) may be Muslim that Obama isn't really a Christian. Through her own words she claims that anyone not born a Christian can't truly claim the faith. That puts a lot of born again Christians in the position of defending there decision to join a faith later in life. I do not believe that a person's religious background matters in a presidential race and is certainly not an indicator of their ability to lead. The fact that Obama is willing to put up with such rumors and attacks on his character and continue to run is one of the reasons I support him.
cine_lover cine_lover 9 years
It is all ridiculous Tres. Just imagine what kind of country we would have if people spent as much time researching policy, reading history books, and studying the Constitution as they do listening to rumors and celebrities
EkaterinaBallerina EkaterinaBallerina 9 years
Trixie6: That is an incredibly ignorant stance to take here and it lacks merit and validity. Your religion does not in any way have any bearing on what kind of leader you will be. Lest you forget that we separated church and state a very very long time ago. What conflict of interest?!? Someone has been drinking Bush's kool aid... The terrorists in this world are not only Muslim, they are from every background. The Bush administration has lead the American people to believe that Muslims are our enemies. Maybe extremist Muslims but lest you forget that prior to 9/11 the worst terrorist attack on American soil was committed by a bunch of white, non-Muslim men, in Oklahoma City. The problem with fighting a "war on terror" is that you are fighting an ideal that can reach any person. There is not real way to identify a terrorist. Frankly have relatives that are Muslim may actually be a benefit. If you truly believe that the Muslims are our enemies, then you should know the more you know about your enemy, the less of a threat they can be. And having studied religions of the world and having read the Koran, I can tell you that extremist Muslims take pieces of the text and distort them to their needs and actions. They are not true believers in the religion otherwise they wouldn't twist it so badly. It is similar to those Christian fundamentalists who ignore the "thou shalt not kill" line in the bible and then go set off bombs at abortion clinics. They are terrorists just as much as someone who straps a bomb to themself and set it off in a busy market in Baghdad. I really wish that politicians would stop using religion like this. Bush claimed God told him to go to war in Iraq and look where that got us. Wars fought in the name of religion and against religion get nowhere in this world...they only cause death, destruction, and pain.
trésjolie1 trésjolie1 9 years
Here, here, cine. I'm actually happy that the Republican candidate is John McCain just because I think he has a lot of character unchanged by fashion in Washington. To spend time discussing his natural born citizenship is .. infuriating, and I feel it is the same thing when people don't think Obama is American enough. There will only be bad solutions and outcomes if we jump on every wagon to dissect the opposing party, on any ground, just to get your own candidate ahead. Mandy had a good points in her posts.
cine_lover cine_lover 9 years
Tres it is ridiculous. When are we going to start paying attention to real issues, instead of stupid unfounded reports? It has been going both ways for the people I talk to about Politics. I actually have had to defend Obama and Hilary. I want people to vote on policies, not on rumors. And I want them to truly understand the implications of the policies in which they believe in. I get so frustrated. If I don't know something, I educate myself on it, but I have come to find out, that is rare. I'll get off my soap box now.
cine_lover cine_lover 9 years
"It was started against folks who plan terrible attacks on other countries because the countries disagree with their way of living." These folks are Islamic Fundamentalists, and it is WAY more then just disagreeing with a way of life. They want others eradicated, and they DESPISE America. "Further, this is theoretically a country where you can practice whatever religion you want. (Though with God on both currency and in the pledge to the flag, that is hard to see)" I am going to have to disagree with this. It does not say any specific religion, which leaves it open to all religions. "I don't care what religion Obama is or McCain is or Clinton is or Huckabee is or Nader is or Romney is, so long as they do not try to push their values upon others." I agree with this statement, although I would personally change VALUES to RELIGIOUS BELIEFS. I personally could not care less what religion my President practices. I am Catholic, so was Kennedy, I am not a fan of Kennedy, and I don't feel he portrayed Catholics in a good light. "I would also argue that you can be born technically in the US but not be a US citizen. If, for instance, you are born in the Chinese embassy here in the US, you are born in China." Mandy, I never even thought of that!
trésjolie1 trésjolie1 9 years
cine; it's totally ridiculous. If John McCain isn't American, then who is?
mandy_frost mandy_frost 9 years
Amen cine! I don't support his bid for the Presidency, but that's because of the issues. McCain was born IN the US. If you are born on US property in another country, you are born in the US. I would also argue that you can be born technically in the US but not be a US citizen. If, for instance, you are born in the Chinese embassy here in the US, you are born in China.
mandy_frost mandy_frost 9 years
I mean, you guys all know that the war on terrorism wasn't started against any country or religion, right? It was started against folks who plan terrible attacks on other countries because the countries disagree with their way of living. I still don't understand WHY we are at war with Iraq. To me, it seems we went in to get rid of a dictator and now are just warring with the so-called insurgency that presumably believes one faction of Islam is superior to the others. PLEASE don't tell me you think everyone in Iraq is guilty of something. They aren't. Most people (yes, people -- women, children, AND men) are totally innocent and deaths are happening for no reason. Further, this is theoretically a country where you can practice whatever religion you want. (Though with God on both currency and in the pledge to the flag, that is hard to see.) I don't care what religion Obama is or McCain is or Clinton is or Huckabee is or Nader is or Romney is, so long as they do not try to push their values upon others. (I think that is one of the myriad of problems with the Bush administration: government funding for religious organizations is a little sick to me, for this country at least, no matter if it is Christianity, Islam, Judaism, or any other religion you can think of.) I think the problems with this world come 50% from folks not realizing that others are different than them and being ok with that and 50% from the more advantaged not trying to help the less advantaged. Why are we even debating that first 50%? To me, it should be the easiest problem to fix! Before someone calls me an Obama lover from this post, I'm not. I'm an equality lover.
cine_lover cine_lover 9 years
Just wanted to say about McCain being born in another country. He was born on a Military base. There for he is a NATURAL BORN CITIZEN.
Cassandra57 Cassandra57 9 years
Sorry I had to step away. Betting ready for work, so must be brief: mina: * I was not alive at the time of the Revolution or Civil war. I don't think most people consider them recent history. * The "12" number was taken from the post to which I was responding. * I said that his heritage could conceivably make Obama vulnerable, not necessarily biased. Also, it's immediate heritage, not ancestry. How recent were FDR's European roots? I don't have a problem with Islam as a religion, the point is that the terrorists identify so strongly with it as their reason for their attacks. qbert: The motivating force for the Germans in WWII was not their religion, it was their nationalism. (To the best of my knowledge) Therefore, your point is invalid. trejolie: IIRC the violent parts of the Old Testament are more historical report than instructions on how to live. I did not mean to imply that Obama will be soft on terrorists, just that arguments and rationales for attacks or special treatment of Muslims as a group presented to him based on religion may find a more receptive ear than they might with someone else. (Hope that makes sense, I'm rushing here.) I *did* specifically say that one cannot generalize. bailaoragaditana: It's not a matter of heritage, it's an issue of recent and current personal family relationships in troubled regions. Not all Muslims are terrorists, but currently, nearly all terrorists are Muslim. Forgetting this fact just makes us open to more attacks. Look at the situation in England, with a number of mosques housing terrorists and hiding weapons. Folks, I don't say this invalidates Obama's campaign, just that it's a potential vulnerability and may affect his perspective. We should not condemn, but should be cautious.
bailaoragaditana bailaoragaditana 9 years
It shouldn't have to be - and for some of the posters above talking about how having Muslim relatives is a "conflict of interest" and such things... seriously, how many ways are you trying to hide your prejudice? "We shouldn't have Muslims in our government"? That right there IS saying that you DO have a problem with your average everyday American Muslim, because you believe that they're somehow not good enough to do what American Christians, Jews, Hindus, Buddhists, atheists, etc can do. There is not, nor should there be, a religious litmus test for participation in public life. To be completely honest, I am ashamed of being American at times like these, when I have to spend countless hours trying to defend America (and often failing) to my international friends when stupid things like this take up so much space in our national discourse. This is simply ridiculous.
trésjolie1 trésjolie1 9 years
I've read the Koran and the Bible form cover to cover, and The Old Testament is far more violent and aggressive than the Muslim scripture. To say Obama will be soft on terrorists because of whatever reason is puzzling to me. Religion can be used in extraordinarily cruel and twisted ways, that has nothing to do with the faith itself but about politics, power and manipulation. We, white Christians and catholics, have done more than our fair share of extremism ourselves. And to label all Muslims terrorist, outside or inside the US is a part of the problem, it is creating distance and pushing young impressionable Muslims to think they need to fight for their rights, faith and heritage. I see this anti Islam sentiment as the new antisemitism, and it is just as unfair. No one thinks we should be weak on terror, or terrorists or terror networks. But to label them all as potential terrorists are going to do more harm than good. It seems we have a short memory, and I agree with tdamji that this is has happened time and time again; and it's the ugliest side of being human.
qbert qbert 9 years
When we were fighting Germany in WWII should we have not allowed Christians in our government due to the conflict of interest in fighting other Christians?
zeze zeze 9 years
Lainetm: I have 2 point for you, your notion on Muslims not denouncing the terror attacks is WRONG (see below) and 2) you may say that Muslims must come out and be vocal in renouncing the attacks - to this I say a Muslim has an obligation to denounce the terror attacks as much as anyone else, these muslims were no on the planes, they didn't crash into the towers, they lost friends and family too in these attacks and in attacks overseas by these same terrorist - why should they be required to speak out more than anyone else to prove anything. It is like accusing someone of something they didnt do an expecting an apology for making them think they did it! (Please see the article its very interesting, we may all learn something in this discussion) Please read this article: http://au.news.yahoo.com/080227/19/15z7t.html AND THESE ARE NON-AMERICAN MUSLIMS!!! WASHINGTON (AFP) - A huge survey of the world's Muslims released Tuesday challenges Western notions that equate Islam with radicalism and violence. The survey, conducted by the Gallup polling agency over six years and three continents, seeks to dispel the belief held by some in the West that Islam itself is the driving force of radicalism. It shows that the overwhelming majority of Muslims condemned the attacks against the United States on September 11, 2001 and other subsequent terrorist attacks, the authors of the study said in Washington. "Samuel Harris said in the Washington Times (in 2004): 'It is time we admitted that we are not at war with terrorism. We are at war with Islam'," Dalia Mogadeh, co-author of the book "Who Speaks for Islam" which grew out of the study, told a news conference here. "The argument Mr Harris makes is that religion in the primary driver" of radicalism and violence, she said. "Religion is an important part of life for the overwhelming majority of Muslims, and if it were indeed the driver for radicalisation, this would be a serious issue." But the study, which Gallup says surveyed a sample equivalent to 90 percent of the world's Muslims, showed that widespread religiosity "does not translate into widespread support for terrorism," said Mogadeh, director of the Gallup Center for Muslim Studies. About 93 percent of the world's 1.3 billion Muslims are moderates and only seven percent are politically radical, according to the poll, based on more than 50,000 interviews. In majority Muslim countries, overwhelming majorities said religion was a very important part of their lives -- 99 percent in Indonesia, 98 percent in Egypt, 95 percent in Pakistan. But only seven percent of the billion Muslims surveyed -- the radicals -- condoned the attacks on the United States in 2001, the poll showed. Moderate Muslims interviewed for the poll condemned the 9/11 attacks on New York and Washington because innocent lives were lost and civilians killed. "Some actually cited religious justifications for why they were against 9/11, going as far as to quote from the Koran -- for example, the verse that says taking one innocent life is like killing all humanity," she said. Meanwhile, radical Muslims gave political, not religious, reasons for condoning the attacks, the poll showed. The survey shows radicals to be neither more religious than their moderate counterparts, nor products of abject poverty or refugee camps. "The radicals are better educated, have better jobs, and are more hopeful with regard to the future than mainstream Muslims," John Esposito, who co-authored "Who Speaks for Islam", said. "Ironically, they believe in democracy even more than many of the mainstream moderates do, but they're more cynical about whether they'll ever get it," said Esposito, a professor of Islamic studies at Georgetown University in Washington. Gallup launched the study following 9/11, after which US President George W. Bush asked in a speech, which is quoted in the book: "Why do they hate us?" "They hate... a democratically elected government," Bush offered as a reason. "They hate our freedoms -- our freedom of religion, our freedom of speech, our freedom to vote and assemble and disagree with each other." But the poll, which gives ordinary Muslims a voice in the global debate that they have been drawn into by 9/11, showed that most Muslims -- including radicals -- admire the West for its democracy, freedoms and technological prowess. What they do not want is to have Western ways forced on them, it said. "Muslims want self-determination, but not an American-imposed and -defined democracy. They don't want secularism or theocracy. What the majority wants is democracy with religious values," said Esposito. The poll has given voice to Islam's silent majority, said Mogahed. "A billion Muslims should be the ones that we look to, to understand what they believe, rather than a vocal minority," she told AFP. Muslims in 40 countries in Africa, Asia, Europe and the Middle East were interviewed for the survey, which is part of Gallup's World Poll that aims to interview 95 percent of the world's population.
minaminamina minaminamina 9 years
You call them "Muslims" I prefer "terrorists". Nothing these people did has been at all in relation to the words of their faith, nor has it been with the approval of the majority of leaders of their faith. And white Christians have attacked us on our own soil more than any other group of people have, with more casualties - Prez. Johnson pardoned all Confederates after the Civil War, he didn't keep them out of Congress. White Christians were elected to our first offices after the Revolutionary war - they weren't seen as perhaps too lenient on the British. 12 Muslims! Wow! And here that 1.6 billion of the rest must be so happy Obama is being elected so that he can let all the rest do the same, right? I don't think "leniency on Muslims" is the issue - people are concerned about leniency on terrorism, something which Obama has never iterated. I'm not voting for the man, but I feel that as an American, I have to respect EVERYONES right to pursue their goals, regardless of their race, religion, gender, etc. I think asserting he would be lenient on Muslims is going ten steps backwards in our progression as a people - this is absurd. Also, our WWII president, FDR, was of Dutch, French, and GERMAN ancenstry. Funny, huh? And he never revealed that to the media - probably due to fear of the same reaction we are seeing here. I respect your opinions, but they seem shallow to me, honestly. I come from a multi-ethnic, multi-religious nation, and these things were never an issue. I think because Americans are so seperate in many ways, this is why people are scared of silly little things like this.
Cassandra57 Cassandra57 9 years
I'm a bit distressed that so many of us are quick to lay accusations of shallow bigotry. I don't really disagree with trixie. I'm not paranoid enough to think Obama is a secret terrorist sympathizer, but his heritage may make him less tough on Muslim terrorists than he would be, otherwise. I know that not all Muslims are terrorists. However, it has been widely (even internationally) noted that moderate Muslims have almost universally failed to criticize the violent extremists. Does this make them silent sympathizers? I wouldn't generalize, but it's distinctly possible. During WWII, do you think we would have elected a president with a Japanese or German parent? It doesn't mean that they would have been disloyal, but their connections would have made them vulnerable. What if someone threatened to bomb President Obama's father's village unless he ...(fill in the blank). I don't think it's helpful to oversimplify this discussion, no matter which side you are on. mina: 1) No white Christian nations have attacked us on our own soil recently (or our overseas embassies or military bases). (I'll exempt the Serbian embassy, for the moment, as that was not really a premeditated and coordinated attack.) 2) If a group of women who shared a common, clearly identified philosophy coordinated a violent domestic attack, I would say we shouldn't elect any members or sympathizers of that group. 3) More than 12 Muslims were involved in the 9/11 attacks, alone. 4) It's common knowledge (I don't have any citations) that American money funded and prolonged the IRA effort. I can't say whether JFK's presidency provided any implicit approval. Logic over emotion, folks, it will get us further. Glad to see the discussion, though!
zeze zeze 9 years
"I find it interesting though, that so many people are quick to jump to Muslims' defense." - Jovian Skies I find it more "interesting" how little people care about basic American rights! It's easy to be part of the majority and talk about not taking chances - but I wonder how you would be acting if a group you were affiliated with caused trouble and you were told to sacrifice you rights b/c a small minority in this group did what it did. I bet the Constitution would be more sacred then! We all talk about the Quran, Bible, Torah, and so on, but what happened to separation of church and state, why don't politicians serving secular positions swear on the constitution and leave religion where it belongs, in our hearts between us and our God.
minaminamina minaminamina 9 years
So... wait a minute... why were white, Christian presidents okay then? They have ties to the white, Christian world community that enslaved, colonized, and continue to participate in neo-colonization in much of the world - we should stop elected them! Oh my gosh, Hillary Clinton has ties to womanhood... that must mean once a month she's going to be a crazy b**ch and ruin the state of our nation! Come on... "ties to Islam"? 1.6 Billion people in the world have ties to Islam - maybe 12 of them are crazy. If JFK was elected and didn't aid the IRA, then I'm pretty sure we'll be okay with Obama. And I'm so glad there are people who are "willing" to "be friends with" Muslims - good for you. I have Muslim friends too, so I guess it's okay if I stereotype their religion without bothering to pick up their Qur'an and read about the strict rules of warfare that DO NOT ALLOW FOR CIVILIAN TRAUMA. Learn the difference between extremism and culture - this is not Islam, this is terrorism. Real Muslims, the majority of Muslims, believe in the same 10 commandments Christians do, the same Jesus Christians do, and the same Moses Jews do.
JovianSkies JovianSkies 9 years
I agree with everything foxie had to say. It could be either way, and no matter how much we want to believe it's definitely one way or the other, we won't know unless Obama makes it into office. Some are willing to chance it, and some are not. I find it interesting though, that so many people are quick to jump to Muslims' defense.
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