During his White House years, William Jefferson Clinton — someone Judge Sonia Sotomayor might call a “white male” — was dubbed “America’s first black president” by a black admirer. Applying the standard of identity politics and pandering to a special interest that earned Mr. Clinton that distinction, Barack Hussein Obama would have to be considered America’s first Muslim president.
This is not to say, necessarily, that Mr. Obama actually is a Muslim any more than Mr. Clinton actually is black. After his five months in office, and most especially after his just-concluded visit to Saudi Arabia and Egypt, however, a stunning conclusion seems increasingly plausible: The man now happy to have his Islamic-rooted middle name featured prominently has engaged in the most consequential bait-and-switch since Adolf Hitler duped Neville Chamberlain over Czechoslovakia at Munich.
What little we know about Mr. Obama’s youth certainly suggests that he not only had a Kenyan father who was Muslim, but spent his early, formative years as one in Indonesia. As the president likes to say, “much has been made” — in this case by him and his campaign handlers — of the fact that he became a Christian as an adult in Chicago, under the now-notorious Pastor Jeremiah A. Wright.
With Mr. Obama’s unbelievably ballyhooed address in Cairo Thursday to what he calls “the Muslim world” (hereafter known as “the Speech”), there is mounting evidence that the president not only identifies with Muslims, but actually may still be one himself. Consider the following indicators:
• Mr. Obama referred four times in his speech to “the Holy Koran.” Non-Muslims — even pandering ones — generally don’t use that Islamic formulation.
• Mr. Obama established his firsthand knowledge of Islam (albeit without mentioning his reported upbringing in the faith) with the statement, “I have known Islam on three continents before coming to the region where it was first revealed.” Again, “revealed” is a depiction Muslims use to reflect their conviction that the Koran is the word of God, as dictated to Muhammad.
• Then the president made a statement no believing Christian — certainly not one versed, as he professes to be, in the ways of Islam — would ever make. In the context of what he euphemistically called the “situation between Israelis, Palestinians and Arabs,” Mr. Obama said he looked forward to the day “… when Jerusalem is a secure and lasting home for Jews and Christians and Muslims, and a place for all of the children of Abraham to mingle peacefully together as in the story of Isra, when Moses, Jesus and Muhammad (peace be upon them) joined in prayer.”
Now, the term “peace be upon them” is invoked by Muslims as a way of blessing deceased holy men. According to Islam, that is what all three were - dead prophets. Of course, for Christians, Jesus is the living and immortal Son of God.
In the final analysis, it may be beside the point whether Mr. Obama actually is a Muslim. In the Speech and elsewhere, he has aligned himself with adherents to what authoritative Islam calls Shariah — notably, the dangerous global movement known as the Muslim Brotherhood — to a degree that makes Mr. Clinton’s fabled affinity for blacks pale by comparison.
For example, Mr. Obama has — from literally his inaugural address onward — inflated the numbers and, in that way and others, exaggerated the contemporary and historical importance of Muslim-Americans in the United States. In the Speech, he used the Brotherhood’s estimates of “nearly 7 million Muslims” in this country, at least twice the estimates from other, more reputable sources. (Who knows? By the time Mr. Obama’s friends in the radical Association of Community Organizers for Reform Now (ACORN) perpetrate their trademark books-cooking as deputy 2010 census takers, the official count may well claim considerably morethan 7 million Muslims are living here.)
Even more troubling were the commitments the president made in Cairo to promote Islam in America. For instance, he declared: “I consider it part of my responsibility as president of the United States to fight against negative stereotypes of Islam wherever they appear.” He vowed to ensure that women can cover their heads, including, presumably, when having their photographs taken for passports, driver’s licenses or other identification purposes. He also pledged to enable Muslims to engage in zakat, their faith’s requirement for tithing, even though four of the eight types of charity called for by Shariah can be associated with terrorism. Not surprisingly, a number of Islamic “charities” in this country have been convicted of providing material support for terrorism.
Particularly worrying is the realignment Mr. Obama has announced in U.S. policy toward Israel. While he pays lip service to the “unbreakable” bond between America and the Jewish state, the president has unmistakably signaled that he intends to compel the Israelis to make territorial and other strategic concessions to Palestinians to achieve the hallowed two-state solution. In doing so, he ignores the inconvenient fact that both the Brotherhood’s Hamas and Abu Mazen’s Fatah remain determined to achieve a one-state solution, whereby the Jews will be driven “into the sea.”
Whether Mr. Obama actually is a Muslim or simply plays one in the presidency may, in the end, be irrelevant. What is alarming is that in aligning himself and his policies with those of Shariah-adherents such as the Muslim Brotherhood, the president will greatly intensify the already enormous pressure on peaceful, tolerant American Muslims to submit to such forces - and heighten expectations, here and abroad, that the rest of us will do so as well.
Frank J. Gaffney Jr. is president of the Center for Security Policy.