Barack Obama/Muslim smear

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Overview

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There have been repeated claims that Barack Obama is in some way a Muslim. These claims are completely false. They originally appeared to be part of a smear campaign designed to shave away support for Obama's 2008 presidential bid, although they persist to some degree even in the later years of Obama's final term as President.

These accusations, though completely contrary to the American ideal of tolerance, seem to resonate with some people who are apparently willing to grab at any excuse, no matter how shallow, to dislike Obama – possibly as a way of avoiding an admission of racism. (Indeed, many of these smears also include racial elements.)

There have also been repeated attempts to associate Obama with prominent "enemy" figures and paint him as a closet terrorist:

  • emphasizing Obama's middle name of "Hussein" so as to evoke an association with the late Saddam Hussein, who was painted as an arch-nemesis by the Bush administration.
  • mis-spelling his last name as "Osama" so as to evoke an association with accused 9/11 mastermind Osama bin Laden

The "Madrassa" Claim

In January 2007, Fox News ran stories claiming that the Clinton campaign had discovered that Obama was educated in an Indonesian madrassa (Muslim religious school). Obama did attend a local public school (not a madrassa) in Jakarta between the ages of 6 and 8; after that, he was enrolled in a Roman Catholic school. He did not appear to take his religious studies seriously in either school.

The Descent Claim

In 2008, Edward Luttwak published an article in the Wall Street Journal arguing that Obama would be considered an apostate Muslim by Islamic law due to his father being born Muslim, and concludes that this could be bad for foreign relations. This story was gleefully repeated by others (e.g. James Taranto), but it is also false. See commentary on the Luttwak article for more information.

Despite its falsehood, this accusation appears to remain credible to many people, e.g. pro-McCain rallyers who admitted to believing that Obama is a terrorist because "he has the bloodlines for it".

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to file

  • 2015-02-16 Obama never emotionally "became American." "the 44th president of the U.S. is radically different from all of his predecessors: He spent his childhood in a Muslin nation, his biological father and stepfather also practicing the religion, and later grew up with Communist grandparents in the least “American” state in the Union (Hawaii), surrounded by radical Marxists, at least some of whom were acknowledged Communists with primary loyalty to the international proletariat and the Communist International (Comintern) rather than their own country." This should probably also be filed under a more general Obama derangement topic.

Filed Links

Apparently the smear has taken hold so completely that "a Muslim running for president" is understood to mean Obama.

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  • 2008-10-19 [Talk|Index] Push Poll Sez "Obama's a Muslim!!1!11!!!" § Americans in Contact PAC, a religious right organization, is delivering false information about Barack Obama in the guise of a voter poll.
  • 2008-10-19 [Talk|Index] Powell's endorsement §
  • 2008-10-13 [Talk|Index] Misconceptions of Obama fuel Republican campaign - 13 Oct 08 § Republican supporters at a Palin rally in Ohio believe that black people will "take over" if Obama is elected, and that he thinks white people are trash.
  • 2008-10-11 [Talk|Index] Big ballot boo-boo: Osama for president? §
  • 2008-10-08 [Talk|Index] The McCain-Palin Mob § McCain-Palin rally attendees in Strongsville, Ohio are asked if they believe Barack Obama is a terrorist.
  • 2008-08-04 [Talk|Index] Obama is a Muslim and Other Idiocies § [2]“And never mind, by the way, that Obama's father, while raised Muslim, was actually an atheist by the time he met Obama's mother. So why aren't they claiming that he's really an atheist? Because Muslims are scarier than atheists at the moment.” They're still trying to make it stick, with no new arguments to offer.
  • 2008-05-12 [Talk|Index] President Apostate? § Luttwak makes the case that Obama might be considered an apostate Muslim by Islamic law, and concludes that “...of all the well-meaning desires projected on Senator Obama, the hope that he would decisively improve relations with the world's Muslims is the least realistic.”
  • 2008-05-08 [Talk|Index] Where did the Web rumors about Obama come from? § [2]“...it's unlikely that any campaign or political professional is associated with creating the sordid stuff – the fallout would be a political nightmare ... In fact, they tend to be the work of committed political amateurs. .. One practitioner in Virginia, who hates Obama like a dog hates cats, led a reporter through his efforts. Because the man is a retired clandestine CIA officer, identifying him could endanger officers or operations that remain classified, so McClatchy will not reveal his name. .. In late 2006, convinced that an Obama presidency would be disastrous for America, he decided to start an anti-Obama operation. He combed the public record on Obama. He used a couple of allies and informants — half-jokingly dubbing his group "The Crusaders" — to learn about Obama's background, especially his Africa connection and how he came to be the editor of the Harvard Law Review. .. He assembled a dossier on Obama, including allegations that Obama attended a madrassa, or Islamic religious school, in his youth in Indonesia.”
  • 2007-02-21 [Talk|Index] FOX ATTACKS OBAMA § A compilation of snips from Fox News, showing the many "fair-and-balanced" ways in which Fox has sought to undermine Barack Obama's candidacy. Also includes some bits of the CNN report which revealed that the Jakarta school Obama attended was just a regular public school, preferring no religion. More here.
  • 2007-01-23 [Talk|Index] Debunked Insight Magazine and Fox News Smear Campaign § [2]“Insight Magazine published these allegations without a single named source, and without doing any independent reporting to confirm or deny the allegations. Fox News quickly parroted the charges, and Fox and Friends host Steve Doocy went so far as to ask, "Why didn't anybody ever mention that that man right there was raised – spent the first decade of his life, raised by his Muslim father – as a Muslim and was educated in a Madrassa?" .. All of the claims about Senator Obama raised in the Insight Magazine piece were thoroughly debunked by CNN, which, instead of relying on unnamed sources, sent a reporter to Obama's former school in Jakarta to check the facts.” (emphasis is in original)
  • 2007-01-22 [Talk|Index] Hillary Clinton Drops Madrassa Bomb on Barack Obama § [2]“The gloves are off: Hillary Clinton is reported to be already digging up the dirt on Barack Obama. .. The New York senator has reportedly outed Obama's madrassa past. That's right, the Clinton team is reported to have pulled out all the stops to reveal something Obama would rather you didn't know: that he was educated in a Muslim madrassa.” The claim is false on both counts.
  • 2007-01-19 [Talk|Index] Obama Smeared As Former "Madrassa" Student, Possible Covert Muslim Extremist § [2](includes Fox News video) “The Fox hosts failed to correct the false claim that Obama is Muslim. One caller, referring to Obama, said, "I think a Muslim would be fine in the presidency, better than Hillary. At least you know what the Muslims are up to." Anchor Gretchen Carlson responded, "We want to be clear, too, that this isn't all Muslims, of course, we would only be concerned about the kind that want to blow us up."rdquo;

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