In a December 18 blog post headlined “Barack Hussein Obama: Once a Muslim, Always A Muslim“, right-wing pundit Debbie Schlussel argued that because Sen. Barack Obama’s middle name is Hussein, his late, estranged father was of Muslim descent, and he has shown interest in his father’s Kenyan heritage, Obama’s “loyalties” must be called into question as he emerges as a possible Democratic presidential candidate.
In the column, Schlussel asked: “So, even if he identifies strongly as a Christian … is a man who Muslims think is a Muslim, who feels some sort of psychological need to prove himself to his absent Muslim father, and who is now moving in the direction of his father’s heritage, a man we want as President when we are fighting the war of our lives against Islam? Where will his loyalties be?”
This follows the lines of CNN host Glen Beck recently suggesting that incoming US congressman, Keith Ellison, might not be a loyal American because he’s a Muslim.
I think this is complete nonsense, insulting and even racist.
But before I get into anything, what’s that about “fighting the war of our lives against Islam?”
That is a very dangerous statement to make, and even though not all Americans believe in that (at least that’s what I like to believe), it is scary to think that there are people who still think that way in our world.
The fight we’re all in together is with extremism of all kinds, not with any certain religion or race.
Back to Barack Obama; The guy says he’s a Christian, why would he be lying? Supposedly, religion shouldn’t be an issue, so why would him being Christian, Muslim or Jew change anything at all?
Or does it make a difference?
If it does then the problem is much bigger than who becomes the next US president or not, it’s a problem that touches the fabric of the American society itself, an underlying reality of racism, bigotry and hypocrisy.
Remarks and attacks of this kind, that will continue to be made against Barack Obama are just ways to try and undermine a possible bid for the US presidency in the upcoming 2008 race. But, whether they have any effect at all on the people will be a serious indicator of how healthy the US society is, and whether the important values of equality and freedom still exist.