I was curious only for one reason. America appears, thanks to Bush Administration, to the rest of the world as people who hate Muslims. Every war that the American Government had led or is leading in 21st Century was or is against a Muslim Country. To know that, right after Mr. Bush Jr., America elected a Muslim President is of course a curious thing.
I was reading the October 2009 Issue of Businessworld yesterday evening, when I chanced upon a write up by Mr. Omkar Goswami on Nobel Prize for Peace. Goswami, like me, thinks that Obama got this award too early. It was while reading this write up I noticed that the 44th President of America is really Barack Hussein Obama!
Smear campaigns are usual in politics, especially so during elections. Even things we don’t usually bother much about in normal life are brought up and scandalized. When Obama was facing the American Electorate, smear emails were doing rounds online telling American People that Obama is actually a Muslim and he was hiding it. Daniel Pipes, an American Political Commentator, kind of led the campaign. He wrote on his website and on The Jerusalem Post that Obama is a Muslim, converted to Christianity.
Pipes claimed that Obama had a Muslim upbringing. Now, why would that concern Americans? Was Pipes worried America is going to soften up on their Muslim targets once Obama is elected President? In fact, Pipes was always against America attacking Muslim countries like Iraq. He was worried because according to Muslim Religion any convert from Islam to other religions is a murtadd (apostate) and must be executed. He wondered if this is going to increase the tension between America and Muslim Countries.
As history goes, Obama’s mother, Ann Dunham married Barack Hussein Obama Sr. She was actually an atheist, Christian on records. He was also an atheist, Muslim on records. Later, after Obama was born, Ann divorced Barack because he had another wife and child. She, then, fell in love with Lolo Soetoro and married him. Lolo was also a non-practising Muslim. When the family moved to Jakarta, Obama Jr. was sent to both Catholic and Muslim Schools and on school records he was enrolled as a Muslim. Pipes claims that his childhood friends remember young Obama going to the mosque.
Obama denies this. He says his mother brought him up and not his father or step-father. He says he is a practising Christian. His “spokesman Robert Gibbs issued a statement explaining that Senator Obama has never been a Muslim, was not raised as a Muslim, and is a committed Christian."
Now, we know that the smear campaign was not successful and Obama is the President. That smear campaign was a two-edged sword, as any religious fundamentalist scandal is. On one side, it would provoke Christians if they felt that Obama is a Muslim and he was hiding that all along. On the other side, it would provoke Muslims if they felt that Obama is a Muslim converted to Christianity. Americans could never agree to an Atheist becoming a President, given their pseudo-liberal worldview. Catch 22? Which ever way it went, the smear campaigners who tried to cash in on Pipes’ concerns saw a win win. I am happy that they did not win!
Which ever way, Obama always surprises me like he is the destiny’s child. First, he surprised me by being the first Black American to be elected President of USA. Then, I was surprised to learn that he is a Mixed President, born to a white mother and a black father. Now, he surprises me by being a Mixed President again, born to a Christian turned Atheist and a Muslim turned Atheist. I take this as a sign, sign of a better world to come where we will no more be racially, religiously or linguistically fundamentalist. Obama is indeed a sign of the change we want to see! Now I don’t, unlike what I felt a few days ago, really mind the Nobel Prize for Peace 2009 went to this man! It is destiny!
Image from http://www.danielpipes.org/pics/new/large/509.jpg [Barack Obama at School]