White House Muslim Outreach A Failure
- 22 August 2010 by Author 0 Comments
White House Muslim Outreach A Failure
By Richard Larsen
Published – Idaho State Journal, 08/22/10
It doesn’t matter what religion our president adheres to, or if he has any religion at all. The Constitution precludes that as a litmus test for public office. President Obama has been engaged in an outreach effort to the Muslim world that seems to be failing. The possibility of a mosque being erected as a victory monument near the site of the World Trade Center and his ill-advised support of that project is one more element of that outreach effort.
But all this outreach has confused many Americans. A Time Magazine poll last week indicates more than twice as many Americans believe President Obama is a Muslim than when he was elected. Again, for the most part, it shouldn’t matter what his religion is, but it does matter that we as a nation are nearly halfway through his first and only term and we are more confused about that aspect of him than we were before he was elected.
The abundance of empirical evidence based on his actions and speeches manifest at the very least, a preferential treatment for the Islamic faith. He proudly proclaimed in his Turkey speech that America is not a Christian nation. His apology tour continued in Cairo, Egypt where he continued his profuse apologies to the Islamic world for all the “evil” the U.S. has perpetrated against the Islamic world. His first sit-down interview as president was with Al-Arabiya TV. NASA will no longer be flying shuttles into space, instead, their prime objectives, and “highest priority” is “Muslim outreach.”
Add to that the “dissing” of Benjamin Netanyahu, the Prime Minister of one of our closest allies, Israel. Also inscrutable is the allocation of $900 million to Gaza, which is controlled by Hamas, one of the most proactive terrorist organizations in the world and an avowed enemy to Israel and America. He was, from our perspective, amazingly reticent regarding the democracy movement in Iran, with the perhaps unintended consequence of supporting the existing extremist, anti-American, Islamic Mullah regime of that nation.
He abandoned the tradition of his predecessors of an interfaith prayer in the White House for the National Day of Prayer, yet he continued George Bush’s practice of hosting a celebration of Ramadan, an Islamic holy day, at the White House. So he prays with the Muslims in the White House, but not with the Christians.
In an interview with George Stephanopoulos of ABC News, Obama referenced “…my Muslim faith…” which prompted Stephanopoulos to have him correct it to “my Christian faith,” which many have conjectured was a Freudian slip.
He never has, to my knowledge, publicly accepted the fact that the Fort Hood shooter was a terrorist motivated by anti-American, Islamic-extremism. In fact all references to Islamic extremists engaged in Jihad against the U.S. and the West have been stricken by the administration. Their politically-correct change in parlance does nothing to mitigate the threats posed by those motivated by religious fervor.
In his Cairo speech, Obama committed to allow American Muslims to fulfill their obligation to “zakat.” Zakat is a charitable requirement of all faithful Muslims that requires equal distribution to eight categories, including “military operations.” You know, the kind of operations Hezbollah, Hamas, and Al Qaeda are engaged in.
So regardless of what his religion is, it’s evident that his administration has done everything possible to reach out to the Muslim world to ameliorate their perception of us. Perhaps the only thing they haven’t done in their outreach program is to erect minarets on the White House grounds for calling morning and evening prayer. This is perhaps a little surprising since he once said that the Muslim call to prayer is “one of the prettiest sounds on Earth.” He even recited it with a “first class Arabic accent” in a 2007 New York Times interview.
In 2008, Zogby International polled people in the quasi-friendly Muslim countries of Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Morocco, Jordan, Egypt, and Lebanon, to ascertain their disposition toward the United States. Most respondents, 83%, viewed the U.S. “somewhat” or “very” unfavorably.
If we assume that, as the administration has stated, that their outreach to the Muslim world and the open support of Islam by the president is to improve relations with them, we must conclude their efforts have failed. In those six “friendly” Muslim states, now 85% view the U.S. “somewhat” or “very” unfavorably. That’s actually an increase in their negative perception of us.
In the end it doesn’t matter what the president’s religion is, as long as he espouses fundamental American values and tenets of our republic. And that’s where an increasing majority of us take issue with this president. And since his campaign to reach out to the Muslim world is failing, perhaps we can reassess NASA’s prime objective.
AP award winning columnist Richard Larsen is President of Larsen Financial, a brokerage and financial planning firm in Pocatello, and is a graduate of Idaho State University with a BA in Political Science and History and former member of the Idaho State Journal Editorial Board.