Barack Obama/Muslim smear/Conservapedia

From Issuepedia

Overview

Conservapedia founder Andrew Schlafly (Conservapedia user aschlafly) is apparently a willing participant in the effort to spread the Muslim smear, reverting any edits which allude to evidence to the contrary.

  • Barack Obama article, as it stood before the inauguration:

    President-elect Obama will likely become the first Muslim President, and may use the Koran to be sworn into office at his inauguration on January 20, 2009.

  • Woozle's edit attempting to correct this (reverted 4 minutes later by aschlafly)
  • talk page discussion where Woozle asks aschlafly why the revert; much discussion ensues...

Conservapedia Claims

Claims copied from here; this argument cross-posted herehere.

  • CLAIM: Obama's background, education, and outlook are Muslim, and fewer than 1% of Muslims convert to Christianity.
    • RESPONSE: This is actually two claims
      • CLAIM: Obama's background, education, and outlook are Muslim.
        • RESPONSE: Based on what evidence? There is a rumor that he was educated in a Madrassa in Indonesia, but this is patently false; Obama did attend a local public school (not a madrassa) in Jakarta between the ages of 6 and 8, and after that, he was enrolled in a Roman Catholic school. He did not appear to take his religious studies seriously in either school, according to witnesses.
      • CLAIM: Fewer than 1% of Muslims convert to Christianity.
        • RESPONSE: Possbly true, but this is only relevant if Obama was at some point a Muslim. He was never a Muslim.
  • CLAIM: Obama's middle name (Hussein) references Husayn, who was the grandson of Muhammad, which most Christians would not retain.
    • RESPONSE 1: Most Christians also wouldn't run for president of the United States; does this prove that Obama also didn't do that?
    • RESPONSE 2: What evidence do you have that most Christians would not retain the middle name they were given at birth just because it references a mythological figure from another religion?
    • RESPONSE 3: Even if most Christians would decide to change their birth name as you claim, how does this prove that Obama is not a Christian because he did not? "Most" is not "all". Are you implying that any Christian who would not do such a thing isn't a "real Christian"?
  • CLAIM: Obama recently referred to his "Muslim faith."
    • RESPONSE: The description for the YouTube video linked to as support for that claim says " It is as clear as day that he's putting sarcastic quotes around "my Muslim faith" since the entire question is about his (actual) Christian faith."
  • CLAIM: Obama said the Muslim call to prayer is "one of the prettiest sounds on Earth at sunset," and recited "with a first-class [Arabic] accent" the opening lines: Allah is Supreme! ... I witness that there is no god but Allah ...."
    • RESPONSE 1: How does this prove he's a Muslim? Probably many professors of Islamic studies would also be able to do these things, but that doesn't make them all Muslims. What it makes them (and Obama) is educated (and possibly gifted in the area of language) -- both excellent qualities in a world leader.
    • RESPONSE 2: The only source for this allegation is apparently NYT columnist Nicholas Kristof (NYT, 2007-03-06, "Obama: Man of the World"), who (as I understand it) is generally rather positive about Obama. Perhaps this is being taken out of context?
  • CLAIM: Obama stated that the autobiography of Malcolm X, a Nation of Islam leader who became a Muslim, inspired him in his youth.
    • RESPONSE 1: Many black people were influenced by Malcolm X. You'll have to show a high degree of correlation between "being influenced by Malcom X" and "converting to Islam while denying it publicly".
    • RESPONSE 2: "Nation of Islam" is not part of the Islamic religion but was founded in the US, presumably based loosely on Islamic ideals. Do you have any evidence that Obama is a NoI member? Wouldn't NoI be very interested in publicizing Obama's membership if he had joined, as a way of promoting themselves?
  • CLAIM: Obama raised nearly $1 million and campaigned for a Kenyan presidential candidate who had a written agreement with Muslim leaders promising to convert Kenya to an Islamic state that bans Christianity.
    • RESPONSE 1: Where is the evidence that Obama campaigned for Odinga?
    • RESPONSE 2: While this might demonstrate that Obama was friendly to Islam, this does not prove that he is Muslim. The Eisenhower administration arranged a coup-d'etat in Iran in 1952, replacing the democratically-elected president with a monarchy. Does that make Eisenhower an anti-democratic royalist? Donald Rumsfeld shook hands with Saddam Hussein; does that make him a Muslim terrorist?
  • CLAIM: Obama's claims of conversion to Christianity arose after he became politically ambitious, lacking a date of conversion or baptism.
    • RESPONSE: Has anyone bothered to ask his church (or his office) to see if they have a record of this?
  • CLAIM: On the campaign trail Obama has been reading "The Post-American World" by Fareed Zakaria, which is written from a Muslim point-of-view.
    • CLAIM: So... everyone who reads that book is a Muslim?
  • CLAIM: Contrary to Christianity, the Islamic doctrine of taqiyya encourages adherents to deny they are Muslim if it advances the cause of Islam.
    • RESPONSE: Ah-HA! So every time he denies he's a Muslim, that PROVES he really IS! ...Hey, maybe you're a Muslim too! Go on, prove me wrong.
  • CLAIM Obama uses the Muslim Pakistani pronunciation for "Pakistan" rather than the common American one.
    • RESPONSE: Right, and I bet he uses "C.E." instead of "A.D." in his dates, and maybe even the Metric System. He also pronounces "divisive" with a short "i" in the second syllable. What in the world does this have to do with anything?
  • CLAIM: Many of Obama's statements about religion conflict with Christianity, leading one group to demonstrate with a 7-part video series, "Why Barack Obama is Not a Christian."
    • RESPONSE: Christianity has a wide range of views on a lot of different subjects, and any one person's views are bound to be "un-Christian" by someone's lights. When I have time, I will review the linked videos and respond in more detail. (Reason #1, Reason #2, Reason #3)
  • CLAIM: Obama was thoroughly exposed to Christianity as an adult in Chicago prior to attending law school, yet no one at law school saw him display any interest in converting. Obama unabashedly explained how he became "churched" in a 2007 speech: "It's around that time [while working as an organizer for the Developing Communities Project (DCP) of the Calumet Community Religious Conference (CCRC) in Chicago] that some pastors I was working with came around and asked if I was a member of a church. 'If you're organizing churches,' they said, 'it might be helpful if you went to a church once in a while.' And I thought, 'I guess that makes sense.'"
    • RESPONSE: Perhaps he is simply not very enthusiastic about Christianity. Many people who aren't Muslims feel the same way.
  • CLAIM: Obama is mentioned as helping to organize the 1995 million man march led by black Muslim leader Louis Farrakhan from the Nation of Islam.
    • RESPONSE: ...and therefore...? (This is basically the Malcolm X argument in a weaker form.)

Discussion

Schafly's Talkpage

The following dialogue took place on aschlafly's talk page (last verified revision). It was deleted once, possibly by accident. --Woozle 12:01, 12 November 2008 (UTC)

This apparently got deleted by mistake. --woozle 14:59, 11 November 2008 (EST)

Obama's not a Muslim. Why did you revert me? --woozle 12:13, 11 November 2008 (EST)

Because you're wrong. Also, your racial claim about Obama has unclear significance and is unproven.--Aschlafly 12:40, 11 November 2008 (EST)
How was he wrong? Philip J. Rayment 21:28, 11 November 2008 (EST)
Re significance: are you kidding me? I mean, really -- have you not seen the reactions, domestically and abroad? Black people all across the US are talking about how amazing it is that they "lived to see this day", and they never thought it would happen.
Re "unproven": Are you suggesting that we may have unknowingly had a black president previously? Or that Obama isn't actually African-American?
As for him being a Muslim -- what's your evidence? He's a member of a Christian church, he has never (to the best of my knowledge) made any statements that weren't grounded in either secular or Christian philosophy, and his father was an atheist. When did he convert to Islam, and where is the evidence showing that this happened? --woozle 12:49, 11 November 2008 (EST)
The Obama page sets the proof out in clear fashion. Open your mind and realize the truth. RodWeathers 13:03, 11 November 2008 (EST)
Folks, you have to do better than that. We're an encyclopedia here, and statements in entries have to be meaningful and proven. Proof does not consist of asking questions, for example, or relying on popular vote.--Aschlafly 13:08, 11 November 2008 (EST)
What would you consider adequate proof? The list of arguments on the Obama page is easily refuted -- but I'm sure that if I start doing so, even here in a discussion page, you will find some pretext for removing my refutations and possibly banning me. So where is an appropriate place to have this discussion? --woozle 13:29, 11 November 2008 (EST)
You lost credibility with me with your baseless claim that the "list of arguments" is easily refuted and your excuse for not refuting them. I'm not going to spend my afternoon on your misperceptions.
Contribute to other entries. Let's see some substance first. Godspeed.--Aschlafly 13:49, 11 November 2008 (EST)
Nice Catch-22 there -- if I had gone ahead and given some "base" to my claim, you would have booted me without further ado, and erased my arguments. When I ask nicely and civilly where we can have this discussion, you brush me off. How about this, then? conservapedia:User talk:Aschlafly/Obama Muslim discussionDebate:Is Obama a Muslim?
As I said, let's see some substance first. This is not a blog. I have pending questions and interesting discussions with people who do contribute and learn here. I'm going to address those first.--Aschlafly 17:31, 11 November 2008 (EST)
I would very much like to contribute some substance to the Obama article by correcting the horrid rumor you have posted there as fact; this has been the point of my contacting you in the first place. Do I take it, since you do not seem to have anything to add to the corrections I pointed out, that you accept them as valid? May I assume I now have permission to update and correct the Obama article without being reverted again (or banned)? (...also, I'm not sure what you mean about this not being a blog; I have not posted anything like a blog entry anywhere, nor did I suggest doing so; I'm trying to help improve the accuracy of the reference work you have been building here, which is why I brought these errors to your attention once my attempt to correct them directly was reverted.) Thank you. --woozle 18:24, 11 November 2008 (EST)
"Woozle", keep it up and your account will be blocked. Show us you can contribute something of substance to the encyclopedia before expecting to be taken seriously. Yes, your account will be blocked if you decline that request and push liberalism here.--Aschlafly 18:36, 11 November 2008 (EST)
I daresay Woozle misunderstands the purpose of this website, or has chosen to disregard it. We are not here to debate various points but to build trustworthy articles. Talking back to senior editors (or the project founder) is foolish. He should do what I have done: focus on good writing and editing. If he doesn't care to do that, he is welcome to start some Debate Topics; occasionally points have been proven there and then made their way into articles. --Ed Poor Talk 19:00, 11 November 2008 (EST)
"Talking back?" I apologize; I truly thought I was being respectful and deferential, if perhaps candid. I suppose there must be higher standards of deferentiality here than I am used to. I have indeed been trying to focus on helping to build trustworthy articles though good editing, starting with fact-checking -- which for some reason has not been recognized as a valid contribution. However, your suggestion about Debate Topics is exactly the sort of information I was looking for earlier when I asked where we could properly have this discussion. Consequently I have started the following page: Debate:Is Obama a Muslim? (and moved the contents of the subpage I referenced earlier)
Also, I do hope nobody seriously thought any of my comments were "promoting liberalism"; I'm interested in facts and verification here. If anything I said seemed liberally slanted, I would be most appreciative if it were pointed out. Thank you. --woozle 21:23, 11 November 2008 (EST)

Yes, I'd agree that Woozle does misunderstand the purpose of this web-site. I haven't looked at the Barack Obama article in ages, but this discussion prompted me to, and that makes it clear that the purpose of this web-site is not to bother with the truth, but to find any straw one can to find fault with someone. The list of "evidence" that Obama "is" Muslim is nonsense, and some of it has been refuted before on the main talk page, but there it is still there. Woozle disputes the truth of the claims, and Ed Poor says that we are not here to debate various points, but how are we going to determine the truth when people disagree, unless we debate those disagreements????. Philip J. Rayment 21:28, 11 November 2008 (EST) (P.S. I wrote this before getting an edit conflict with Woozle's latest post).

that makes it clear that the purpose of this web-site is not to bother with the truth, but to find any straw one can to find fault with someone Very nice, Philip, very nice. At last he wolf tears off its sheep's clothing and reveals its true nature. Your continual interference with the work of conservative editors, which you cloaked in a mish-mash of slanders and blather about 'justice', can now be seen in clear daylight. Your vicious and lying attack on Conservapedia, its Leader, admins and hard-working editors shows you to be an enemy of this project, something that many of us have suspected for some time. If this is your view of the rest of us, why not leave now (and take your clique of subversive Liberal sniggerers with you)? Conservapedia:Bugler 05:39, 12 November 2008 (EST)

Obama debate page

NormanS's View

I agree with the above, there is little to no evidence that Obama is a Muslim. In fact the whole myth seems to have been started by Andy Martin, a colourful "lawyer" (he was rejected from the bar) who is known for his racist rants against Jews and other groups and his frivolous lawsuits. As an Australian based McCain supporter and a pretty Conservative Christian I was upset when Obama won. However, the reason I oppose him is because of his policies, not because of some misguided claim about his religion. If you really were interested in making personal attacks against him you'd be better off accepting his claim that he's a Christian and then pointing out how hypocritical he is. That said, there is no integrity in attacking a person's character over their policies, regardless of their political ideology.

As one of the articles posted in the news section stated, the repeated claims that Obama was a Muslim made people vote for him, not against him. The article in its present state reads as a parody and does nothing to help the conservative cause. If this project is to have any credibility it must be rewritten to a balanced viewpoint which discusses his policies, rather than making ridiculous strawman arguments and personal attacks. NormanS 21:45, 11 November 2008 (EST)

A couple of things to add to the above. 1. Andy Martin started this rumour (in 2004), claiming he had "evidence" that Obama was a Muslim & had lied to the America people about his faith, though Martin did not make any of this alleged evidence available to the public or even make it clear what kind of evidence it was. 2. A week before the election, Andy Martin appeared on CNN, retracting his claim that Obama is a Muslim, and replacing it with an even crazier theory - that Obama is the long lost son of the journalist and left-wing activitist Frank Marshall Davis. Again he claimed to have uncoverded proof of this, but offered no evidence whatsoever. See this film. Since Martin now states that Obama is not a Muslim, this clearly proves him to have been lying about having any real evidence that Obama was.
As Norman says, Andy Martin has a history of spurious and vicious lawsuits and paranoid racist statements, and this is the guy you are giving credence to if you believe the myth that Obama is a Muslim. This is who started it. Clearly this was intended as a tactic to stop people voting for Obama. It hasn't succeeded & it's too late now. We should just let it go & get on with our lives. Clinging to this silly racist rumour can only damage Conservapedia's credibility. And it is a racist rumour - if we were talking about a white politician, this rumour wouldn't exist at all.
That said, I don't expect this to make any difference at all. This subject has been debated over & over, but Andrew Schlafly is determined to cling on to this story, even in opposition to most of the editors here & some of the prominent administrators. I hope he is willing to engage in this debate, but I really don't think he will. Sideways 07:33, 12 November 2008 (EST)