That frisky Danny Pipes is up to his usual shenanigans. This time he’s managed to deliver the goods about Barack Obama’s Muslim upbringing. Say what? You didn’t know Obama was a Muslim? Well neither did anyone else in the world except David Horowitz, Danny and Charles Johnson. But boy are they gonna let you know about what they know. This nonsense is from, where else, Frontpagemagazine:
Available evidence suggests Obama was born a Muslim to a non-practicing Muslim father and for some years had a reasonably Muslim upbringing under the auspices of his Indonesian step-father.
How is Obama Muslim? Well, first his biological father was from Kenya. His father was born a Muslim (though he never practiced as one during Obama’s lifetime). And Obama’s Indonesian step-father supposedly inculcated him in the ways of Islam. There’s only a few problems with all this (as there is with everything Danny Boy writes) as Media Matters points out. Obama’s stepfather, Lolo Soetoro, was far from a devout Muslim. The Chicago Tribune notes:
Soetoro, who died in 1987, was hardly the image of a pious Muslim, friends and family members say.
His nephew, Sonny Trisulo, 49, said Soetoro always liked women and alcohol. One of his health problems was a failing liver. “He loved drinking, was a smart and warm person, the naughtiest one in the family,” Trisulo recalled.
I’m sure Lolo deeply initiated young Barry into the ways of Islam.
There is, of course, a “serious” reason why Pipes is concerned about whether Obama was ever a Muslim. If he ever was and left Islam, then the jihadists could justify taking his life. And no American would want to elect a president who would be the target of Al Qaeda, now would they?
[If Obama was] ever a Muslim or seen by others as a Muslim” — [or m]ore precisely, might Muslims consider him a ‘murtadd’ (apostate), that is, a Muslim who converted to another religion and, therefore someone whose blood may be shed.”
All of this is of course meretricious nonsense. But it takes on significance in light of the presidential campaign in a way that Ben Smith of Politico captured well:
Keep an eye on this one, because if Obama’s the nominee, this FrontPagemagazine piece by the conservative writer Daniel Pipes is likely to be the template for a faux-legitimate assault on Obama’s religion. But the political impact of the piece isn’t the tortured argument. It’s branding Obama a Muslim, by a subtler means.
That is precisely why this is important. Pipes is the slimy initiator of the whispering campaign against Obama. You don’t have to really prove he was Muslim. All you have to do is insinuate the idea into the minds of enough people and it will take on a life of its own. This is Swift Boating by another means.
Keep in mind of course where ol’ Danny Boy finds his current political home–right by Rudy Giuliani’s side (though the campaign denies Pipes an “official” role). You don’t think that’s an accident do you? Rudy is prepared to fight dirty in this one if he gets the nomination. And he wants everyone to know he’s prepared to use the slimiest he can find to douse his opponent with pond scum. And Daniel Pipes is certainly slimy. He’s a Jewish version of James Carville, but worse. At least Carville understood that it’s all a political game played on behalf of a good cause. Pipes is a true believer, the kind who centuries ago inspired people to go on Crusades to fight the infidel to the death. That’s the kind of person Rudy Giuliani is turning to to win the presidency. God help us all if he does.
Silverstein has published Tikun Olam since 2003, It exposes the secrets of the Israeli national security state. He lives in Seattle, but his heart is in the east. He publishes regularly at Middle East Eye, the New Arab, and Jacobin Magazine. His work has also appeared in Al Jazeera English, The Nation, Truthout and other outlets.