13 Dec 2006

Obama and the M Word

Reading the thoughts of Joshua Marshall on Talking Points regarding some Republican bottom-feeders already going on about Barack Obama's middle name being "Hussein" leads to some thoughts on his ability to ever get elected President and what the Muslim world would think of this?

Obama's late Kenyan father was a nominal Muslim, hence his Kenyan name of Mbarak Hussein Obama. His mother is an American Christian. Obama himself is an observant and fervent Christian and brought up that way.

My understanding of sharia is that all children born between a Muslim father and non-Muslim mother are considered Muslims automatically, regardless of whatever religion the actually observe and to deny this makes them potential apostates - which can carry severe sanction, including death, in the eyes of very many traditional Muslims. This does not hold,however, if a Muslim woman marries a Jew or Christian. It only applies to the male sire.

This question is going to come up if Obama ever makes a run for President: what is the Muslim world going to make of his candidacy? Chances are he will be considered a Muslim candidate, which will look fine in say, Saudi Arabia but not look neccesarily the same in the USA. Vocal and radical claims that Obama is either a Muslim or worse, an apostate worthy of death, are bound to issue from the Muslim world.

The impact on Obama as a candidate is likely to be fatal. Not only would various bonehead elements in the GOP and electorate generally try to stir this issue, but so will the Muslim press. Al-Jazeera's take is to be imagined. The potentially bitter cat-calls of racism,Islamophobia , mullahs propounding on Koranic sharia and all the rest are bound to command media attention, and this in a candidate who is meant to bring novel freshness to the political scene.

I don't know if Obama's staff see this one coming, but it's certainly on my radar and will have a fascinating life of it's own sooner rather than later. People may see Obama as the new Kennedy, but JFK's "Catholic" problem was nothing compared to what might be on the horizon.


Super-Electro-Magnetic Midget Launcher said...

I don't have a problem with people being aware of the fact that the guy's middle name is Hussein. What, should it be suppressed? It is what it is.

But I do have a problem with demonizing politicians, or anybody, on account of their religion: Like the Dems wailing endlessly about radical right-wing religious fanatics, etc. etc. Or the demonization of Mormons that we'll see if Mitt Romney gets anywhere as a candidate. Or, yes, people trying to kick Obama around on account of the Muslim thing, whether he's a Muslim or not. But there are, at least, a lot of people in the media here in the US who'll stick up for Muslims. You won't see too many sticking up for Christians; for Mormons, quite likely none.

Super-Electro-Magnetic Midget Launcher said...

...yeah, Christians aren't exactly a tiny hunted minority in the US, obviously. Mormons are a small minority.