Mark this one for the “Huh?” Department of Dubious Editorial Statements: the Jewish Forward published an editorial about the Muslim smear campaign circulating in the inboxes of American Jews. In what is mostly a positive editorial decrying the fear and mistrust represented by the defamatory charges, it nevertheless takes some genuinely odd and blatantly false positions regarding the content of the e mails. First, the editorial claims there is truth in some of the charges:
…Certain elements of the story are almost certainly correct. That casts a shadow over all the denials.
Numerous sources including this blog have debunked virtually all the charges, but somehow the Forward finds some that are valid.
…An investigation by the Los Angeles Times showed that Obama had indeed attended a Muslim school in Indonesia, albeit not a fundamentalist academy.
Obama attended the equivalent of an Indonesian public school. This passage might lead you to believe that Obama attended a parochial school much like an American Catholic school. Nothing could be farther from the truth.
But this statement really takes the cake:
Is Barack Obama a Muslim? Almost certainly not. Was he ever a Muslim? Almost certainly yes.
Say what? Barack Obama’s father was a non-practicing agnostic Kenyan who happened to be born Muslim. His stepfather was also a Indonesian Muslim who drank alcohol and reportedly was a womanizer. Obama’s mother was his formative parental influence and she was born Christian, though she never imparted any religion to her children. So where in heaven’s name does the Forward get off calling him “almost certainly” Muslim??
Let me add that there is absolutely nothing wrong with being a Muslim and that I hope that one day there will be an American Muslim senator and president. But the point here is that a presidential candidate is being religion-bated and that should not stand. Unfortunately, the Forward’s normally sure and steady journalistic hand has faltered badly in this editorial.
A later clarification does nothing to clear up the mistakes of the original editorial.