Despite what the U.S. (and some foreign) media might say, it seems that, rather than call Obama an apostate from Islam, some Muslims would prefer to call Obama a fellow Muslim. Such is the case in Morocco, where American expat North Africa Notes says that “most Moroccans know more about Obama than I do.”
The blogger surmises that race might play a role in Obama's popularity abroad:
Whenever they “discover” that I am American generally the first word out of their mouths is “OBAMA!”. It probably also has something to do with the fact that Mr. Barack and I am are both brown-skinned. I must also admit that Mr. Barack has done what Michael Jordan couldn't, which is to actually open up peoples minds internationally to the presence of Black-Americans. When i first came to Morocco years ago, i realized that in exporting our TV shows and movies, we almost always showed portraits of White- American life, and people had a hard time even believing there was any significant number of Black Americans in America.
He also discusses the religion factor, stating that many Moroccans see Barack Obama as a closet Muslim:
So, anyway back to “OBAMA!” When Moroccans bring him up to me,they almost always ask me if he is Muslim or they tell me that they think he is Muslim, or that they think he is a closet Muslim. I catergoricaly deny the idea of him being a Muslim. I actually have a little speech that I say, ” Father was from Kenya and of Muslim heritage, but as best we know died an athiest, his mother was an American humanist, he and his wife are now committed Christians.” Sometimes they insist, that no, as soon as he is in office, he will let his Islam show – “do you think he could get elected President of the United States if he was openly Muslim?” they ask me.
He adds that Moroccans, on the whole, do not view Obama as an apostate:
I just thought I'd add to the chatter out there about how the Muslim world would “accept” Mr. Barack. No one here thinks he is an apostate from Islam and the reporters that perpetuate this idea are either careless or have very little understanding of Islam or both. People I have met are generally happy about Obama's
presence in the political arena and are quite shocked when i tell them that I do not believe he will win because America is not ready for a president of
color. They do not understand the depth of racism in America and how we have failed to address it collectively as a society.
And concludes that perhaps Obama represents a larger hope for America:
I guess all this dreaming being done by Moroccans and Muslims in general is for an America that moves past incriminating and bombing Muslims, to electing one its leader. And for Black Americans, there is the dream that after hundreds of years of slavery and racial injustices we might have finally reached that promise land called Equality where someone who looks like us might actually be the President.
There are a lot of people with their hopes tied up in Mr. Barack.