Jewish Journal


May 13, 2008

The new Muslim smear for Obama


I made a mistake Monday morning. I should have read that Edward Luttwak op-ed on Barack Obama the Muslim apostate that I linked to here but didn’t discuss. As the day dragged on, my Google Reader filled up with a few RSS feeds attacking the bankruptcy of Luttwak’s argument that Obama, as an apostate who purportedly was born a Muslim and converted out to Christianity, could not be tolerated by other Muslims and might even be killed for it.

Here is what Luttwak wrote:

As the son of the Muslim father, Senator Obama was born a Muslim under Muslim law as it is universally understood. It makes no difference that, as Senator Obama has written, his father said he renounced his religion. Likewise, under Muslim law based on the Koran his mother’s Christian background is irrelevant.

Of course, as most Americans understand it, Senator Obama is not a Muslim. He chose to become a Christian, and indeed has written convincingly to explain how he arrived at his choice and how important his Christian faith is to him.

His conversion, however, was a crime in Muslim eyes; it is “irtidad” or “ridda,” usually translated from the Arabic as “apostasy,” but with connotations of rebellion and treason. Indeed, it is the worst of all crimes that a Muslim can commit, worse than murder (which the victim’s family may choose to forgive).

With few exceptions, the jurists of all Sunni and Shiite schools prescribe execution for all adults who leave the faith not under duress; the recommended punishment is beheading at the hands of a cleric, although in recent years there have been both stonings and hangings.

Obama, in fact, is not the son of a Muslim father. This belief comes from that rumor that he’s a closet Muslim. Secondly, Luttwak’s argument is not original, having first been made last summer in FrontPage magazine, courtesy of the man leading a battle against peaceful Islam, Daniel Pipes.

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