Obama, Once Fearful Of Muslim Ties, Now Embraces Them

June 4, 2009

Author: Tiffany Stanley

Source: Religion News Service


Dogged by persistent but untrue rumors that he was a closet Muslim, Barack Obama’s presidential campaign carefully sidestepped questions about his Muslim ancestry and asked two Muslim women in headscarves to take seats away from the cameras.

But on Thursday (June 4), Obama quoted the “Holy Quran,” greeted his audience with the customary “Assalaamu alaykum” and, when speaking of Moses, Jesus and Muhammad in the same breath, said “peace be upon them.”

In short, what candidate Barack Hussein Obama ran away from, President Barack Hussein Obama now embraces.

What was once his greatest political liability has been retooled into his greatest asset as he incorporates his own biography into his pitch to overhaul America’s image in the Muslim world.

“I’m a Christian, but my father came from a Kenyan family that includes generations of Muslims,” Obama said in his highly anticipated appeal to the Islamic world.

“As a boy, I spent several years in Indonesia and heard the call of the azaan (Muslim call to prayer) at the break of dawn and at the fall of dusk,” he said. “As a young man, I worked in Chicago communities where many found dignity and peace in their Muslim faith.”

It was a stunning reversal for a candidate who once retreated at the slightest mention of his father’s Muslim roots. Yet that candor won over the audience, according to Dalia Mogahed, executive director of the Gallup Center for Muslim Studies, who was present at the event.