Leonardo"s Notebook by Mattheus Mei

I have been impressed with the urgency of doing. Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Being willing is not enough; we must do.

Monday, May 19, 2008

A second Obama Apostate Article appears

H/T to Gashwin for forwarding me this article.

It appears that a second attempt to manipulate Islamophobia in the Presidential Race has appeared. Shireen K. Burki is an adjunct professor of political science at the University of Mary Washington, in Fredericksburg, Va and who has extensive ties with the Marine Corps as a consultant is the author of the latest bit.

It's found in the Christian Science Monitor, and much like Edward Luttwak's piece from the NYTimes, attempts to connect Obamas seeming cultural-hereditary ties witht he Umma with reasons why he'll be the target State Sponsored Assassination attempts in the worst case scenarios and an impediment to foreign relations with the Middle East and the entirety of Dar al Islam in all other cases. But Ms. Burki takes her argument a step further. She insists that terrorist organizations (Al Qaeda) will also see President Obama as a worthy target as an Apostate to the religion and as leader of the Great Satan - especially if he takes a "hard line" in regards to the Middle East (further warmongering).

Ms. Burki argues:

According to Islamic jurisprudence, children of a Muslim father – even an apparently nonpracticing one, such as Obama's father, and irrespective of the mother's faith – are automatically Muslims. Most Muslims around the world agree: A child of a Muslim father is a Muslim. Period. Should Obama become US commander in chief, there is a strong likelihood that Al Qaeda's media arm, As-Sahab, will exploit his background to argue that an apostate is leading the global war on terror (read: attacks against fellow Muslims). This perception would be leveraged to galvanize sympathizers into action.

But why would everyday Muslims galvanize around this call - well her response is very similar to Bittergate.

"Al Qaeda, though, has struggled recently to recruit volunteers for this jihad. While bin Laden retains significant support as someone willing to stand up for Muslim concerns, most Muslims abhor Al Qaeda's terrorist methods whose primary targets are innocent noncombatants.

But an apostate as head of the United States could change this equation. It would be a propaganda boost for Al Qaeda's mission. All one has to do is read Al Qaeda's public statements to recognize how frequently it makes baseless apostasy accusations against fellow Muslims who challenge its message or actions. ...

Conservative Muslim populations that are riddled with poverty and low literacy rates can be more readily swayed to join the cause against the "Great Satan" (the US) if their imams and mullahs shout that it is led by an apostate."

So Mr. Obama should he be President and who according to John McCain is Hezzbolah's candidate (Shia Islam) is now the favoured Candidate of Al-Qaeda (Sunni Islam) an organization that is theologically as well as politically opposed to Hezzbolah, Iran, and Shia Islam (heresy!) in general.

To respond to these charges by two well respected individuals who draw paychecks from Conservative (Republican and NeoCon) institutions and the (rather Hawkish) War Department, I refer my dear friends to an article in Huffington Post by Ali Eteraz. He has many strong arguments the basis of which goes back to the notion of simply being born to a Muslim Man = a Muslim is a fallacy:

Religion is not hereditary as it is in Judaism. Islam is not a race. Just because a child has a Muslim father -- which, again, Obama didn't -- doesn't mean anything unless the child is being raised as a Muslim. At the time of birth, Muslims engage in a symbolic act -- of saying the Call to Prayer in the child's ear -- that renders a child Muslim. If Obama's father was agnostic/atheist, then he wouldn't have done such a thing.
No call to prayer in the ear, not raised as a Muslim, born to an atheist father, and then abandoned to a Christian mother both by father and his family, equals not Muslim. Obama is right to say he had no religion until he became a Christian.
Those who actually study Muslims see that there are millions of inter-religious marriages -- between Muslim men and Hindu women for example -- in which the children are being raised as pantheists, or even, Hindu. When these children grow up, they aren't killed for being apostates (though some Muslims do thumb their noses at the father for "allowing" his children to be raised non-Muslim).

In a way it's fortunate to see that such a whisper campaign, no matter how contrived and nonsensical, being brought to the surface so that writers such as Mr. Eteraz and other more serious scholars without potential biases (such as who's paying them) may step forward and rectify these ludicrous accusations.

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