Sunday, August 22, 2010

Obama's Religion/Ground Zero Mosque/Muslim Women Reformers

Nearly 20% of Americans believe Obama is Moslem according to an August 19, 2010 Pew Research Center report. Nearly 1/3 of those polled do not believe he’s Christian. Of course, rumors like this as well as others such as his “real” place of birth and/or “fake” birth certificate have been flying around the internet since before Obama’s election nearly 2 years ago (and Obama’s well publicized poor decision to support the Mosque near Ground Zero certainly doesn’t help dispelled the rumors either). Part of it too comes from Obama failing to pick church as well as his cozying up with Moslem countries and the cooling of relations with Israel ( So, let me tell you where I am with this.

Obama’s mother, born Stanley Ann Dunham, was an idealistic white woman from the Kansas. Her upbringing was generally considered Christian. Religiously speaking, she didn’t belong to a particular faith. Her parents were non-practicing Baptists and Methodists. Of her personal faith, Obama wrote in his 2006 book, The Audacity of Hope, “Religion for her was "just one of the many ways — and not necessarily the best way — that man attempted to control the unknowable and understand the deeper truths about our lives”. He added that his mother knew many Christians, but there were few fond memories of them. Obama’s step sister, Maya Seotora-Ng said of her mother that she “wasn’t what one would call an atheist, but more of an agnostic”. It was also said by Obama that his mother had a “healthy skepticism of religion as an institution”.

Obama’s father, Barack Hussein Obama, Sr. was born Kanyadhiang, Kenya, although he was raised in the village of Nyang’oma Kogelo, Kenya. His family was of the Luo ethnic group, which is the third largest ethnic group in Kenya. By the way, the majority of the Luo are Christians with only a minority being Moslem. It should be pointed out Obama Sr. was born into a mixed Moslem and Christian family, he was raised Catholic and later converted to Islam before declaring himself an atheist. Thus, his mother came from a Protestant Christian background and became atheist while his father came from a mixed Moslem/Christian background and also chose to become atheist.

Of his own faith, Obama said that this “My father was from Kenya and a lot of people in his village were Muslim. He didn’t practice Islam. Truth is he wasn’t very religious. He met my mother. My mother was a Christian from Kansas, and they married and then divorced. I was raised by my mother. So, I’ve always been a Christian. The only connection I’ve had to Islam is that my grandfather on my father’s side came from that country. But I’ve never practiced Islam” (

So, while some argue that since Islam traces descent from the paternal line, Obama is, therefore, by definition Moslem, I disagree. If a person self identifies with a specific faith; follows their social traditions and practices, then that’s what they are. In Obama’s case, they attended the Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago for about 20 years. The church embraces the so-called “Black Value System” and gained some measure of notoriety for the racist, anti-America and anti-Semitic sermons made by Reverend Jeremiah Wright Jr. which were caught on video ( and I’ll leave you to draw your own conclusions.

Ground Zero Mosque—The Victory Mosque

Much has been written and said about the “Ground Zero Mosque”. Obama rather nefariously said recently that he supported the mosque and added that he was tired of discussing it as he promptly left for vacation. Public opinion is overwhelming opposed to allowing the mosque to be located so near the site of the cowardly attack on America. While Americans have no objection to the mosque in general, over 63% believe the choice of location is “insensitive” or “inappropriate”. Of course, no one truly expects Obama or any one else in Washington to listen to us. After all, Americans opposed the bailouts; Obamacare; the “Obama Apology Tour” and so much more. Obama and Company went on their merry way and did what they wanted. I suppose with the new “paternalistic” outlook coming out of Washington, they “obviously” know what’s best for us, but that’s fodder for other articles.

My opinion about the Ground Zero Mosque is this---I don’t care if the Moslem community in NYC wants to build a mosque, but I think there choice of location was intentional and insensitive. If they truly wanted to make a statement that Islam is truly a religion of peace and not all Moslems are crazy fanatics (which they aren’t) as they claim, they would have opted for a site less likely to incite so much ill feeling. I think the community would be better served if a historical museum and/or community center were erected there instead. Heck, if it was a museum/community center run by the Moslem community in honor of those murdered, that would make a true statement about Islam. Oh yeah, the mosque won’t be called the “Ground Zero Mosque”. It will be named the “Victory Mosque”. Victory for whom I wonder?

As for Obama, I really don’t care what he wants. He was elected to serve us, not the other way around. If America wants to talk this out, then he needs to join that conversation or stay on vacation. Our so-called “leaders” in Washington need to remember this simply like rule in my opinion---lead; follow; or get the hell out of the way”.

By the way, while we’re on the topic of this particular mosque, did you know that we---you and I---get to pay $16,000.00 in US tax dollars to send the mosque’s imam (spiritual leader) on a trip to the Middle East? Yelp, he’s going on a tour of Qatar, UAE, and Bahrain and it’s going to cost us $16,000.00. Who pays for your minister or rabbi to visit the Holy Land? I bet it isn’t US Taxpayers. Read more about it here:

Book Review

Moslem Women Reformers: Inspiring Voices Against Oppression by Ida Lichter

At first I was a little hesitant to review this book. Sure, I’ve seen numerous news articles about the abuse of women in Moslem counties. Yeah, I knew women in these countries lacked, in many cases, even basic human rights. Who hasn’t seen images of women covered head to toe in black burqas often walking in a group or with male members of their families. Every now and again, I would come across a story about a so-called “honor killing” in which some unfortunate women was bludgeoned to death by her father, uncles, brothers, or even sons for some seemly insignificant offense like talking with a non-family male without permission and in the presence of her family. Surely these stories weren’t accurate I thought. At best, I had always thought these were rare cases. Who treats another person like cattle, not in the 21st Century? Obviously, I was very wrong.

To say Dr. Lichter’s book was eye-opening would a gross understatement. It was riveting; shocking; horrifying; and yet, at the same time, it was inspirational. In short, it was brilliant. The book is ideally broken up by country with stories of different women and how they are engaged (often risking death) in trying to reform a social structure where women are third class citizens at best. We’re talking about physical and often disfiguring abuse; routine rape (one story talks about how domestics are considered the “property” of their employers, who are free to do whatever they wish without fear from any legal recourse) and are bought and sold with no recourse (child brides still remain commonplace), and genital mutilation. To escape this oppressive and abuse system, many women flee to the West. For those who can’t, suicide is often the preferential option

Dr. Lichter profiles women engaged fighting for the right for the basic dignity that people like me mistakenly assumed that everyone enjoyed. Many defy the prohibition of educating women (other than basic religious or domestic instruction) face not just verbal abuse and physical intimidation, but also disfiguring acid attacks. Several of the interviewees have described this extreme version of Islam as the “new fascism”, whose intent to nothing short of imposing Shari’ah Law throughout the world and establishing a global Caliphate (both England and France are currently dealing with this issue. Moslem immigrants at first asked to be exempt from national laws in favor of Shari’ah Law. Now that they are sizable minorities, their “requests” have become demands).

Muslim Women Reformers, which is 402 pages, also contains an excellent resource section in the Appendix along with a glossary to help folks with some of the terms. I want to emphasis that this book is a must for anyone interested in human rights, Islam, or issues dealing with education, health and welfare, spousal abuse, as well as for anyone interested in the growing influence of Islam. This is truly a remarkable book. Thank you Dr. Lichter.

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