Was Obama a Muslim?

Edward Luttwak, on the way to a larger point that I’ve seen ad nauseum elsewhere, provides the most concise statement I’ve yet read on the questions about Barack Obama’s Muslim heritage:

As the son of the Muslim father, Senator Obama was born a Muslim under Muslim law as it is universally understood. It makes no difference that, as Senator Obama has written, his father said he renounced his religion. Likewise, under Muslim law based on the Koran his mother’s Christian background is irrelevant.

Of course, as most Americans understand it, Senator Obama is not a Muslim. He chose to become a Christian, and indeed has written convincingly to explain how he arrived at his choice and how important his Christian faith is to him.

Exactly right, I think: Obama is not and never has been Muslim in any American understanding of the term but is considered an apostate Muslim by some sectors of the Islamic world.

As to the larger questions Luttwak raises, I’m with Jim Geraghty:

There are a lot of reasons to vote against Barack Obama. The fact that the Muslim world doesn’t like the fact that he became a Christian isn’t a good one. Selecting the leader of the United States is a decision that rests entirely in its citizens; Americans who hesitate to vote for their preferred candidate because they fear the reaction of the Muslim world is creating a de facto “Islamic veto” to our political process.

I suspect, however, we’ll continue to hear about this controversy, such as it is, in the upcoming months.

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2008, Religion, , ,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is a Security Studies professor at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. Bithead says:

    Exactly right, I think: Obama is not and never has been Muslim in any American understanding of the term but is considered an apostate Muslim by some sectors of the Islamic world.

    Well, that leaves around half the concern unanswered, then. He may not practice the religion per se’, but as Luttwak’s comments make clear, there is a large connection between Obama and the cultural end of Islam…much as there is a cultural link between he Judeo-Christian ethic and those who no longer are followers of those religions, per se’.

  2. Triumph says:

    I suspect, however, we’ll continue to hear about this controversy,

    What “controversy”?

  3. James Joyner says:

    What “controversy”?

    That some non-negligible number of Americans continue to think that Obama IS NOW a Muslim.

  4. LaurenceB says:

    In my humble opinion, approaching that particular “non-negligible number of Americans” with logic and facts is a fool’s errand.

    It’s worth noting the heavy intersection of folks who think Obama is a Muslim, and those who are most offended by Obama’s Christian minister.

  5. Bithead says:

    It’s worth noting the heavy intersection of folks who think Obama is a Muslim, and those who are most offended by Obama’s Christian minister.

    True. But then again, we see Jerry Wright surrounded by the Bodyguards of Louis Farakhan at his NPC appearence.

    More than granted, the link between Obama and Islam… and fairly radical Islam at that… is far less direct than some make it. Yet, it’s also decidedly NOT non-existant.

  6. G.A.Phillips says:

    It’s worth noting the heavy intersection of folks who think Obama is a Muslim, and those who are most offended by Obama’s Christian minister.

    lol, a Christian minister, lol, a Christian minister preaches about Jesus not White devils.

    and who cares if Obama was a Muslim, he is now a self proclaimed liberal running for office, what could be worse then that?

  7. Zelsdorf Ragshaft III says:

    If Obama is not a Muslim, he has a special place in his heart for them as well as radical ministers and unrepentant domestic terrorist. By the way, since there is no statute of limitations on murder, could Ayers and Dohrn still be prosecuted for their parts in the murder of police officers?

  8. floyd says:

    He may have been , but now he thinks he’s Percale!!

  9. Jim Henley says:

    Luttwak is one of the world’s foremost authorities on Islamic law who – oh, hang on. He’s nothing of the kind. Let me start again.

    Luttwak’s careful piece quotes numerous actual existing Muslims about their outrage at Obama’s apostasy and – hold it. That didn’t happen.

    Luttwak successfully conned the NYT into paying him good money for recycling months-old blog posts from Gates of Vienna that were themselves full of shit.

    Third times the charm!

    Also, Obama’s grandma tells me that Luttwak is a former member of the People’s Temple, and that cult’s few survivors require death not just for apostates but for anyone who even mentions their name. Run!

  10. Our Paul says:

    Jim Henly:

    Please stick to the issue. Humor is not indicated in this matter. Like that hussy that sported a nipple ring and got busted by Homeland Security, we are dealing with a National Security matter.

    Obama is a Muslim, by birth, and that is a fact. We have exhausted our national treasure on the War on Terror, and thus have little money left. By good fortune, we have found the Islamofacist threat, and praise be God (not the one that starts with “A”) the Chinese are willing to lend us lots on money to fight these crescent moon anti Christian zealots.

    If Obama is elected President, there goes our Chinese money supply. They have lots of problems with Buddhist, who are not Christians, and therefore must be like Muslims. If we have a Muslim President, nobody except maybe the Arabians will lend us money.

    My main concern is that all this stuff is detracting from one of the main campaign issues: Michelle Obama … Barak (we who walk in light refer to him as Barry) is unqualified for President because his wife, Michelle, is unpatriotic and hates America.

    Just to show you how bad things have become, James Joiner tagged me as “… a member of the non-negligible number of Americans”. Gasp, is there no Audacity of Hope for us true Americans?

  11. sam says:

    He may have been , but now he thinks he’s Percale!!

    He thinks he’s a fabric???

  12. Gail says:

    Reason Obama said he wanted to be President of ALL 57 states. Only problem U.S. doesn’t have 57, but…Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) is an international organization grouping fifty seven states which have decided to pool their resources together, combine their efforts, and speak with one voice to safeguard the interests and secure the progress and well-being of their peoples and of all Muslims in the world.

    VOTERS DEMAND Obamas tell America about their relationship with Ayers, Gadaffi Syrian tycoon, Antoin Rezko, Saudi Arabian Scheiks and Nadhami Auchi, Iraqi billionaire, global arms dealer who was best friends with Saddam Hussein, and the main financial backer for Saddam’s Iraqi -Saudi oil pipeline, and stood trial with Saddam Hussein for conspiring to assassinate Iraqi President Qasim. VOTERS are concerned why CNN & MSNBC refuse to question those relationships, coupled with Obama’s 20 plus yrs with Rev. Wright shows a serious pattern, which Obama seems quite comfortable with people who really, really, really HATE U.S of America. If you question him or his values or policies, you’re part of the “divisive, distracting” practices voters associate with Washington. Them’s the Obama Rules.

  13. Jim Henley says:

    Our Paul: Well I hadn’t thought of it like that.

    Gail: You sound like one of those secret Muslims to me. Nor regular American knows how many countries are in the OIC. I can only conclude that your seeming anti-Muslim, anti-Obama remarks are part of some deep, treacherous game of the sort your kind has always played.

  14. sam says:

    It’s worth noting the heavy intersection of folks who think Obama is a Muslim, and those who are most offended by Obama’s Christian minister.

    And they shall be known by their chapeaux de tinfoile.

  15. G.A.Phillips says:

    Once again a Christan minister preaches about Jesus not the glory of Muslim terrorism or the fact that the white devils got what they deserved, in all actuality he is just another liberal with a Mic, preach hate and doom and get paid for it by other dumb hopeless liberals with money, emptiness being filled with emptiness is very profitable, just ask Algore.

  16. Eneils Bailey says:

    Obama is not and never has been Muslim in any American understanding….

    Ok, if you say so. But, he has gained favor and many endorsements from radical groups in the Middle east.
    Yes, but there is a linkage and affection on his part and from muslim-land inhabitants to him that is undeniable.

    “Of course, as most Americans understand it, Senator Obama is not a Muslim. He chose to become a Christian, and indeed has written convincingly to explain how he arrived at his choice and how important his Christian faith is to him.”
    Yeah, guided and festered..ummm,,,sorry..fostered by the Reverend Wright. The scab is yet to be completely scratched off that sore. The Reverend Wright was the inspiration for his scribble.
    You don’t want to start talking about groups or individuals, either domestic or foreign that claimed their belief in a certain religion justified their aberrant thought and behavior.

  17. floyd says:

    Not really Sam ,percale is better than……
    Oh! never mind, if you must explain a joke it ain’t funny!

  18. Jim Henley says:

    I think Eneils and GA for helping me understand the true meaning of Hillary Clinton’s reference to “hardworking . . . white Americans.” Cause man are you guys working hard.

  19. Eneils Bailey says:

    Jim Henley,
    Sorry, if I gave you the impression I was rooting for Hillary.
    I am a conservative, I would sit at home and vote for neither if they opposed each in an election.
    Both come across to me as political ace’s who obtained what they know about governments and politics from a Saul Alinsky re-education camp.
    As someone who give a smelly rat’s ass, a cold cup coffee, and big hole in a donut about either one of them; I just think Obamer is getting a free ride in the media.

  20. Jim Henley says:

    Eneils, don’t worry: I knew you were a conservative. Hillary supporters write better.

  21. I’ve quoted you and linked to you here.