Barack Obama’s Muslim Childhood
By Daniel Pipes
FrontPageMagazine.com | 4/29/2008
As Barack Obama’s candidacy comes under increasing scrutiny, his account of his religious upbringing deserves careful attention for what it tells us about the candidate’s integrity. Obama asserted in December, “I’ve always been a Christian,” and he has adamantly denied ever having been a Muslim. “The only connection I’ve had to Islam is that my grandfather on my father’s side came from that country [Kenya]. But I’ve never practiced Islam.” In February, he claimed: “I have never been a Muslim. … other than my name and the fact that I lived in a populous Muslim country for 4 years when I was a child [Indonesia, 1967-71] I have very little connection to the Islamic religion.”
“Always” and “never” leave little room for equivocation. But many biographical facts, culled mainly from the American press, suggest that, when growing up, the Democratic candidate for president both saw himself and was seen as a Muslim.
Obama’s Kenyan birth father: In Islam, religion passes from the father to the child. Barack Hussein Obama, Sr. (1936–1982) was a Muslim who named his boy Barack Hussein Obama, Jr. Only Muslim children are named “Hussein”.
Obama’s Indonesian family: His stepfather, Lolo Soetoro, was also a Muslim. In fact, as Obama’s half-sister, Maya Soetoro-Ng explained to Jodi Kantor of the New York Times: “My whole family was Muslim, and most of the people I knew were Muslim.” An Indonesian publication, the Banjarmasin Post reports a former classmate, Rony Amir, recalling that “All the relatives of Barry’s father were very devout Muslims.”
Barack Obama’s Catholic school in Jakarta.
The Catholic school: Nedra Pickler of the Associated Press reports that “documents showed he enrolled as a Muslim” while at a Catholic school during first through third grades. Kim Barker of the Chicago Tribune confirms that Obama was “listed as a Muslim on the registration form for the Catholic school.” A blogger who goes by “An American Expat in Southeast Asia” found that “Barack Hussein Obama was registered under the name ‘Barry Soetoro’ serial number 203 and entered the Franciscan Asisi Primary School on 1 January 1968 and sat in class 1B. … Barry’s religion was listed as Islam.”
The public school: Paul Watson of the Los Angeles Times learned from Indonesians familiar with Obama when he lived in Jakarta that he “was registered by his family as a Muslim at both schools he attended.” Haroon Siddiqui of the Toronto Star visited the Jakarta public school Obama attended and found that “Three of his teachers have said he was enrolled as a Muslim.” Although Siddiqui cautions that “With the school records missing, eaten by bugs, one has to rely on people’s shifting memories,” he cites only one retired teacher, Tine Hahiyari, retracting her earlier certainty about Obama’s being registered as a Muslim.
Barack Obama’s public school in Jakarta.
Koran class: In his autobiography, Dreams of My Father, Obama relates how he got into trouble for making faces during Koranic studies, thereby revealing he was a Muslim, for Indonesian students in his day attended religious classes according to their faith. Indeed, Obama still retains knowledge from that class: Nicholas D. Kristof of the New York Times, reports that Obama “recalled the opening lines of the Arabic call to prayer, reciting them [to Kristof] with a first-rate accent.”
Mosque attendance: Obama’s half-sister recalled that the family attended the mosque “for big communal events.” Watson learned from childhood friends that “Obama sometimes went to Friday prayers at the local mosque.” Barker found that “Obama occasionally followed his stepfather to the mosque for Friday prayers.” One Indonesia friend, Zulfin Adi, states that Obama “was Muslim. He went to the mosque. I remember him wearing a sarong” (a garment associated with Muslims).
Piety: Obama himself says that while living in Indonesia, a Muslim country, he “didn’t practice [Islam],” implicitly acknowledging a Muslim identity. Indonesians differ in their memories of him. One, Rony Amir, describes Obama as “previously quite religious in Islam.”
Obama’s having been born and raised a Muslim and having left the faith to become a Christian make him neither more nor less qualified to become president of the United States. But if he was born and raised a Muslim and is now hiding that fact, this points to a major deceit, a fundamental misrepresentation about himself that has profound implications about his character and his suitability as president.
Mr. Pipes (www.DanielPipes.org), director of the Middle East Forum, is the Taube/Diller distinguished visiting fellow at the Hoover Institution of Stanford University. © All rights reserved by Daniel Pipes.
Mr. Pipes (www.DanielPipes.org), director of the Middle East Forum, is the Taube/Diller Distinguished Visiting Fellow at the Hoover Institution of Stanford University during the spring semester.
Global Warming: The Left’s Latest War on the Family
By Don Feder
GrassTopsUSA.com | 4/29/2008
Procreation is killing the planet, and traditional religion is to blame, Global-Warming cultists insist.
First the industrial revolution had to go. Then it was to the wall with oil company executives, those malignant Carbon Interests. Next, SUVs were declared enemies of the planet.
Now, the left’s attention has shifted back to its perennial targets — large families and “patriarchal” religion.
In a commentary in the April 21st edition of USA TODAY (“Might our religion be killing us?”), Oliver “Buzz” Thomas quotes the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change — a tool of the global village idiots at the United Nations — to the effect that Global Warming, caused by CO2 emissions, will lead to “drought, starvation and species extinction.” (Fire and brimstone coming down from the skies… rivers and seas boiling… forty years of darkness… dogs and cats living together!)
The culprits are religions that oppose birth control and abortion and instruct us regarding fructification and multiplication. Thomas even names names: “Now, consider the Roman Catholic Church’s continued opposition to modern birth control or the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints’ (i.e. Mormons) encouragement of large families… . Many Orthodox Jews and some Muslims also eschew birth control.”
Only “some Muslims”? Bet Planned Parenthood isn’t doing a land-office business in Mecca.
These benighted faiths are literally drowning us in kids, causing CO2-levels to rise, the hole in the ozone-layer to grow, and polar bears to float away on break-away chunks of the rapidly shrinking Arctic ice cap.
But, what can you expect from churches mired in a literal reading of Scriptures? Thomas asks. “I recognize that religious organizations tend to be conservative institutions. Their continued opposition to equal rights for woman and gays is a good example.”
By failing to ordain women and opposing abortion and homosexual marriage, conservative denominations prove their resistance to progress and human rights, Buzz sneers.
Said reactionary tendencies also are evident in their callous disregard for the environment. (For the left, the quintessential spiritual experience would be an abortion performed at a same-sex marriage ceremony, while transgendered ushers throw condoms instead of confetti, and bridesmaids confiscate handguns from passersby.)
Says Thomas: “In the interest of preserving our planet and our species, shouldn’t religious organizations be encouraging smaller families? Do our spiritual leaders need additional divine revelation to realize that our current doctrines — which threaten to take the entire world down with us — have become ethically and theologically questionable?”
Welcome to the Church of Choice — services performed by the Reverend Rodham, Sundays at 9 and 11.
For 200 years, the left has been fixated on an imaginary overpopulation crisis. In 1798, Thomas Malthus warned that wars, famine and plagues were needed to reduce the “surplus population” else we would soon inhabit Planet SRO.
In his 1969 book, “The Population Bomb” (the prequel to “An Inconvenient Truth”), Paul Ehrlich forecast worldwide famine by 1975. Natural resources would be severely depleted and arable land exhausted in a futile effort to keep up with the population explosion. Soon, we would be reduced to eating each other — like Democratic presidential candidates in late April of an election year.
That none of these doomsday scenarios came to pass is irrelevant to the left. Hysteria is the only way to propagate their creed. The Today Show’s Matt Lauer insists: “The stark reality is that there are too many of us. And we consume too much… The solutions are not a secret: control population, recycle, reduce consumption.” Spoken like a TV personality feigning an idea.
How many people are too many? They never tell us. As Dr. Jacqueline Kasun noted in “The War Against Population: The Economics and Ideology of World Population Control” (1998), humans occupy 1% to 3% of the earth’s land surface.
A decade ago, all 5.8 billion of us could have fit in the state of Texas, with each having 1,269 square feet of living-space — the equivalent of a ranch house.
Since 1900, the world’s population has quadrupled, while the planet’s GDP has increased between 20 and 40 times.
In 1960, India had to import food to deal with periodic famines. Today, with twice the population it had then, India is a net food exporter. Worldwide, half as many people die of starvation today as in 1900, even though we have four times as many people. Those who starve to death now are mostly victims of government-engineered famine.
A 1990 report of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization estimated that by employing what were then the most up-to-date technologies, the earth could yield enough to feed 30 to 35 billion.
So, we’re not running out of food or space. How about natural resources? In 1948, the world’s oil reserves were estimated at around 600 billion barrels. By 2000, the estimate was revised slightly upward — to 3 trillion barrels. The actual figure is anyone’s guess.
Having failed with the foregoing, the left now has hit on what it believes to be the ultimate strategy to advance population control — Global Warming. Families are about to feel the blade of the guillotine in the coming Green Terror.
In May, 2007, an outfit called the Optimum Population Trust warned that if the British didn’t voluntarily limit population size, it would be up to the state to force them to be environmentally conscious in the bedroom. (FYI, in the U.K., the birth rate is well-below replacement level.) The Trust warned that the average lifetime “carbon footprint” of a child born in Britain was the equivalent of 620 roundtrip flights between London and New York.
Last December, Barry Walters, an associate professor of obstetric medicine at the University of Western Australia, urged the government in Canberra to levy a $5,000 “baby tax” and an annual $800 “carbon tax,” for each addition child born to a family with two children. All of the left’s crusades begin with proselytizing and end in coercion.
“Every newborn baby in Australia represents a potent source of greenhouse gas emissions for an average of 80 years, not simply by breathing but by the profligate consumption of resources typical of our society,” Walters writes. The left is incapable of viewing individuals as anything other than polluters, never as producers or innovators — let alone seeing them in spiritual terms, as manifestations of God’s goodness.
Global Warming is the left’s perfect storm — a force to demolish faith, family and freedom. There’s no area of our lives that can’t be invaded — taxed, controlled, regulated or obliterated — in the name of serving and protecting the planet.
Unlike food production and oil reserves, the myth of man-made Global Warming is resistant to factual analysis. The left treats it as revealed truth and skeptics are scorned as heretics and troglodytes — the scientific equivalent of Holocaust-deniers. Al Gore, the movement’s P.T. Barnum-cum-Grand Inquisitor, compares them to the cranks who believe the earth is flat.
If Global Warming didn’t exist, the left would have to invent it. In fact, they did. As Nigel Calder, former editor of the British magazine New Scientist explains: “Twenty years ago, climate research became politicized in favor of one particular hypothesis, which redefined the study as the effect of the study of greenhouse gasses. As a result, the rebellious spirits essential for innovative and trustworthy science are greeted with impediments to their research careers.”
Still, the evidence is there for those not blinded by dogma. Al Gore’s brain is melting faster than the Arctic ice cap, which is making a spectacular comeback.
A February 18, 2008 story in the London Daily Express notes that Arctic ice levels, which had shrunk from 13 million to 4 million sq. km., between January and October 2007, are now almost back to their original levels. In the meantime, according to the paper, “Figures show that there is nearly a third more ice in Antarctica than is usual for the time of year.”
In New England, I spent much of the past winter shoveling Global Warming.
The entire Northern Hemisphere experienced the coldest winter in decades. Again, from the Daily Express: “Even the Middle East saw snow, with Jerusalem, Damascus, Amman and northern Saudi Arabia reporting the heaviest falls in years and below zero temperatures. Meanwhile, in Afghanistan, snow and freezing weather killed 120 people.”
So many inconvenient facts contradict the Church of Global Warming. In the United States, the 10 hottest years on record were all in the 1920s and 1930s. (Those Model A Fords have wide carbon tire-tracks.) Temperatures rose between 1910 and 1945, fell from 1945 to 1975, and rose again for the next 20 years — which bears no relationship to the production of greenhouse gasses.
In an open letter to U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon (December 13, 2007), 100 eminent scientists from all over the world observed: “It is not possible to stop climate change, a natural phenomenon that has affected humanity throughout the ages. … The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has issued increasingly alarming conclusions about the climate influences of human produced carbon-dioxide (CO2), a non-polluting gas that is essential to plant photosynthesis.”
Not only is there no reliable evidence that reducing CO2 emissions will affect climate change, the signers note, but “because attempts to cut emissions will slow development, the current UN approach of CO2 reduction is likely to increase human suffering from future climate change rather than to decrease it.”
Not that human suffering ever stopped the left. It wants and needs man-made Global Warming as a way to counter what it considers the most potent threats to its agenda — faith and family.
The left must have its scapegoat. This is absolutely essential. For Marx it was the bourgeoisie. For the ’60s New Left, it was America — spelled with a “k.” White males are the villains of multiculturalism. Now, it’s babies and retrograde churches that are destroying the planet. The environment has assumed the role of the proletariat, the Third World and racial minorities in earlier models of damnation and salvation.
In particular, the left cringes at the thought of Catholics, evangelicals, Orthodox Jews and Mormons having lots of children — passing their misogynistic, homophobic, species-centric, suicidally archaic worldview to the next generation.
The left has always worried about the reproductive patterns of certain people. As Jonah Goldberg explains in his book “Liberal Fascism,” from the beginning, racial eugenics was a project of the left — or progressives, as they called themselves then and now.
H.G. Wells, a hero of pre-World War II progressivism (a socialist who wrote science fiction, much like Al Gore), said that in order for humankind to move to the sunny uplands of utopia, “swarms of black and brown, and dirty (lower class) white and yellow people” would have to be discouraged from breeding — or physically eliminated. Moreover, Goldberg explains, “The foremost institution combating eugenics around the world was the Catholic Church.”
For those like Oliver “Buzz” Thomas (perpetrator of the aforesaid USA TODAY commentary), hordes of rapidly multiplying Catholics, Mormons, evangelicals and Orthodox Jews have taken the place of “swarms of black and brown, and dirty white and yellow peoples.”
The irony here is that, unlike Global Warming, rapidly declining birthrates is a reality, not a theory. Worldwide, in 1970, the average woman had 6 children. Today, that average is only 2.8, with further declines forecast.
If current trends continue, by 2050, the world will hold 248 million fewer children under 5 years of age than it does today. The crisis which will confront us in this century isn’t overpopulation, but a birth-dearth leading to population decline. When it comes to maintaining civilization, people are the one indispensable element.
By heeding His words and having large families, those reactionary believers indicted by Green Jacobins are doing God’s work, as well as humanity’s.
In his USA TODAY diatribe Thomas writes: “Population growth hits hardest in poor nations, and, as poverty increases, public health declines. I am quite certain that God is not the author of human misery, but by preaching against birth control at the same time we are preaching against abortion, it seems that we are making God out as cruel, a buffoon or both.” Thomas believes the word of God is negotiable — and must be constantly reinterpreted so as not make him “cruel, a buffoon or both.”
Buzz has it backward. Poor countries are often rich in natural resources but lacking in human capital. By encouraging or forcing emerging nations to limit their population, Global Warming hysterics are dooming them to perpetual poverty.
God, on the other hand, tells us that children are the true source of prosperity as well as happiness.
Ultimately, it comes down to this: Do we listen to God or a guy called Buzz? Hmmm, tough decision.
This column originally appeared on GrassTopsUSA.com and appears here with the author’s permission.
Don Feder is a former Boston Herald writer who is now a political/communications consultant. He also maintains his own website, DonFeder.com.