Revealed: Obama really is a Muslim!

As the president prepares for his big speech, conservatives are back on an old subject

Topics: War Room,

On Thursday afternoon (or, if you’re back in the States, in the wee hours of the morning), President Obama’s going to deliver the big speech from a Muslim capital he promised a while back. The speech, which he’ll be giving from Cairo University, is part of a larger tour that’s also taken him to Saudi Arabia and will end in Europe. You can imagine how the president’s opponents are reacting to this trip, and his efforts to reach out to the Muslim world.

The first problem conservatives had was with an interview Obama gave to Canal+, a French television network. During the interview, the president previewed his trip to the Middle East, saying, “one of the points I want to make is, is that if you actually took the number of Muslims Americans, we’d be one of the largest Muslim countries in the world.”

Naturally, this comment was very quickly twisted into Obama saying only that the U.S. is “one of the largest Muslim countries in the world,” something that particularly rankled on the right because he’s previously said the U.S. is “no longer just a Christian nation.” At the Corner, one of the National Review’s blogs, Andy McCarthy wrote, “Do you think Obama would ever call America a Judeo-Christian country? Anyway, maybe we should rewrite our Constitution to make sharia part of our fundamental law, just like the State Department has done in those other Islamic democracies it is building.”

At the same time that some of their colleagues distorted the president’s words, though, conservative pundits were saying the president had gotten his facts wrong. The Weekly Standard’s Michael Goldfarb, for instance, commented, “Eight million Muslims seems to be at the high end of estimates of America’s Muslim community. That number barely puts the United States in the top 40.” (The New Republic’s Jason Zengerle does the math a little differently and says Obama’s statement is justified; it really is a matter of how you calculate it, but Zengerle’s probably reaching.)

You Might Also Like

Meanwhile, Matt Drudge led his site, throughout the day on Wednesday, with a banner headline reading, “The emergence of Obama’s Muslim roots.” The message was… unsubtle. Granted, it was more defensible than some of Drudge’s usual headlines, if only because he was linking to a post of the same title by ABC News’ Jake Tapper and Sunlen Miller. Only Tapper and Miller were saying something quite different than that headline would indicate: Since the election, the Obama team has become more willing to discuss the president’s Muslim heritage, as it can’t be used against him now the way it could have been during the campaign.

Still, at least one veteran of the campaign that Obama defeated is making similar insinuations. The Weekly Standard’s Goldfarb, who worked for John McCain last year, noted that in conversation with the king of Saudi Arabia, Obama used a single Arabic word: Shukran, which translates to “thank you.” Goldfarb saw something deeper at work:

It seems there is some legitimate confusion on just what languages Obama speaks, and as far as Arabic, the only real hint has came from Nick Kristof, who heard Obama recite the Muslim call to prayer in Arabic and with a “first-rate accent” back in 2007. With even the White House now smearing Obama as a Muslim, one wonders if the president hasn’t been concealing some greater fluency with the language of the Koran.

Presumably Obama is familiar with the Muslim call to prayer from having heard it recited five times daily for four years. As for a single word, “thank you,” well, I imagine he could have learned that from protocol officers or diplomats.

Or maybe he just knows a single — and useful — word of Arabic, even without having “some greater fluency with the language of the Koran.” I’ll personally admit right now that I know how to ask where the train station is in Japanese, and thank the person who tells me. But I don’t speak Japanese! I can also order breakfast in French — and yet I am not a secret Frenchman. Shocking, I know.

Alex Koppelman is a staff writer for Salon.

More Related Stories

Featured Slide Shows

  • Share on Twitter
  • Share on Facebook
  • 1 of 11
  • Close
  • Fullscreen
  • Thumbnails
    Martyna Blaszczyk/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

    National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest Entries

    Slide 1

    Pond de l'Archeveche - hundreds thousands of padlocks locked to a bridge by random couples, as a symbol of their eternal love. After another iconic Pont des Arts bridge was cleared of the padlocks in 2010 (as a safety measure), people started to place their love symbols on this one. Today both of the bridges are full of love locks again.

    Anders Andersson/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

    National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest Entries

    Slide 2

    A bird's view of tulip fields near Voorhout in the Netherlands, photographed with a drone in April 2015.

    Aashit Desai/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

    National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest Entries

    Slide 3

    Angalamman Festival is celebrated every year in a small town called Kaveripattinam in Tamil Nadu. Devotees, numbering in tens of thousands, converge in this town the day after Maha Shivratri to worship the deity Angalamman, meaning 'The Guardian God'. During the festival some of the worshippers paint their faces that personifies Goddess Kali. Other indulge in the ritual of piercing iron rods throughout their cheeks.

    Allan Gichigi/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

    National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest Entries

    Slide 4

    Kit Mikai is a natural rock formation about 40m high found in Western Kenya. She goes up the rocks regularly to meditate. Kit Mikai, Kenya

    Chris Ludlow/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

    National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest Entries

    Slide 5

    On a weekend trip to buffalo from Toronto we made a pit stop at Niagara Falls on the Canadian side. I took this shot with my nexus 5 smartphone. I was randomly shooting the falls themselves from different viewpoints when I happened to get a pretty lucky and interesting shot of this lone seagull on patrol over the falls. I didn't even realize I had captured it in the shot until I went back through the photos a few days later

    Jassen T./National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

    National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest Entries

    Slide 6

    Incredibly beautiful and extremely remote. Koehn Lake, Mojave Desert, California. Aerial Image.

    Howard Singleton/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

    National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest Entries

    Slide 7

    Lucky timing! The oxpecker was originally sitting on hippo's head. I could see the hippo was going into a huge yawn (threat display?) and the oxpecker had to vacate it's perch. When I snapped the pic, the oxpecker appeared on the verge of being inhaled and was perfectly positioned between the massive gaping jaws of the hippo. The oxpecker also appears to be screeching in terror and back-pedaling to avoid being a snack!

    Abrar Mohsin/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

    National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest Entries

    Slide 8

    The Yetis of Nepal - The Aghoris as they are called are marked by colorful body paint and clothes

    Madeline Crowley/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

    National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest Entries

    Slide 9

    Taken from a zodiac raft on a painfully cold, rainy day

    Ian Bird/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

    National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest Entries

    Slide 10

    This wave is situated right near the CBD of Sydney. Some describe it as the most dangerous wave in Australia, due to it breaking on barnacle covered rocks only a few feet deep and only ten metres from the cliff face. If you fall off you could find yourself in a life and death situation. This photo was taken 300 feet directly above the wave from a helicopter, just as the surfer is pulling into the lip of the barrel.

  • Recent Slide Shows

Comments

0 Comments

Comment Preview

Your name will appear as username ( settings | log out )

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href=""> <b> <em> <strong> <i> <blockquote>