Is he a Muslim or an atheist? Did he take his oath for office on a Bible or a Quran? Is he sympathetic towards Arabs and Muslims? These are some of the questions being murmured by bloggers across the Middle East about presidential hopeful Barack Obama.
Tunisian blogger Mohamed Marwen Meddah discusses the relationship between Obama and Islam twice. In this post he argues that Obama's religion is irrelevant. He further explains:
The guy says he's a Christian, why would he be lying? Supposedly, religion shouldn't be an issue, so why would him being Christian, Muslim or Jew change anything at all?
Or does it make a difference?
If it does then the problem is much bigger than who becomes the next US president or not, it's a problem that touches the fabric of the American society itself, an underlying reality of racism, bigotry and hypocrisy.
Remarks and attacks of this kind, that will continue to be made against Barack Obama are just ways to try and undermine a possible bid for the US presidency in the upcoming 2008 race. But, whether they have any effect at all on the people will be a serious indicator of how healthy the US society is, and whether the important values of equality and freedom still exist.
In his second, more recent post, Meddah writes:
I don't even know what to say or where to start about this…
Should I worry about the way Islam is made out to sound like a plague that everyone wants to distance themselves from?
Should I be wondering what the religion of a person has to do with them being electable to office or not?
Or should I just mind my own business and watch the US presidential elections as people judge the candidates on their race, religion and popularity instead of on how much good they'll be able to do the country and how good a leader they will be?
Algerian Nouri the Moor discusses the effects Obama's candidacy would have on America's relationship with the Muslim world.
Senator Obama's campaign spends quite a bit of time trying to distance himself from his supposed “Muslim heritage”. This is in part because certain individuals associated with more bellicose campaigns have attempted to frame the discussion of his religious confession in such a way that he is either a Muslim, or a Muslim apostate. Others, from within his own party, have [more damagingly] attempted to raise the fact that his family has Muslim ties in order to associate him with a religion which is not his. The larger part is that many Americans are uncomfortable with the idea of having a Muslim president, even by association. So the Obama campaign has handed out flyers and leaflets explaining that the Senator is not a Muslim and never has been; that it is “stupid” to believe so; that the American people need not fear, for there is no Muslim here!
Egyptian blogger Zeinobia also discusses Obama, religion and Islamophobia in this post. She explains:
Today I will speak about a very interesting factor playing its role perfectly in this presidential race ,the Islamophobia factor . As you know since the 9/11 Muslims and Arabs became the villains who want to invade and destroy the American civilization , it is a natural thing thanks to the huge media campaign against the Muslims and the Arabs after 9/11 and even pre 9/11
It is also a natural thing in the elections dirty world to use the new fear factor to influence the public whether to win their support or to make them ignore this or that candidate.
She further adds:
Come on his name is Barack Hussein Obama , his father is Muslim , his grand father is Muslim , his step father was a Muslim and he attended an Islamic school when he was a little kid in Indonesia . All hillary_and_obama the rival candidates despite the denials are using the subject and he knows that very well and thus since day one you will find repeating over and over the fact that he is a Christian.
If you notice comparisons between his name and the name of Osama Bin Laden spread in the conservatives and rivals’ supporters blogs ,
Of course this is not hurting Obama ,on the contrary despite the Islamic roots Obama succeeded in crossing all taboos, whether being a black man , whether having Islamic roots , trying to push the fear button did not work this time
From Morocco, Myrtus is not confused about Obama's religion, saying:
Thanks to Barack Obama, Islam may have to redefine “believer” in Islamic terms as well as who is considered a Muslim, or the world community may have to start working on a new definition for “ethnic Muslim” to accommodate complicated individuals such as Mr. Obama.
Palestinian Kabobfest‘s Will poses the question: Who is More Unelectable than a Black, a Woman, a Hispanic or a Mormon? His answer is:
2 Answers: an atheist and a Muslim.
Barack Obama has to face e-mail chain letters suggesting he is an atheist, and others that he is a Muslim.
This Chicago Sun-Times article illuminates the whispering campaign being used to discredit Barack Obama. It is based on accusations apparently most detrimental to an American politician: being godless or worshiping “Allah.”
While the media raves about the historic possibility of a woman or African-American as President, and a Latino candidate (Bill Richardson), this shows that the American public still has several psychological, prejudicial hurdles to go, this is, if an African-American and a woman are actually electable. I would like to think that given their leading positions now, it is possible, at the least. Time will tell.
Barack Obama Muslim Myth