Sunday, June 22, 2008

Princess Obama Derangement Syndrome

By Melanie Phillips
Friday, 13th June 2008

Barack Obama - whose father was Kenyan - being dressed as a tribal elder during an official visit to a Muslim area of the country in 2006.

My oh my, what a firestorm I appear to have started with my remarks two days ago on Obama’s background! It was wholly expected, of course, but nevertheless the posters’ comments are so revealing. They graphically illustrate the way in which Obamania has quite obviously destroyed the capacity for reason.

First, it is quite clear that any questioning at all of Obama’s background is entirely off-limits. Next, the posters fail totally to grasp that the real point isn’t what faith he professed or was brought up in as a child – it is the fact that he has not told the truth about his early background. Then, some even compare such questioning with the ‘truthers’ who allege that 9/11 was perpetrated by a conspiracy between America and Israel. They thus demonstrate that they cannot tell the difference between rationality and lunacy, evidence and fantasy, failing to grasp that the sole reason for the questions about Obama is the many discrepancies in the accounts of his early life -- including his own accounts -- plus his many questionable associations.

Ignoring all this substantive evidence and the legitimate questions to which it gives rise (can you imagine how they would be slavering about all this were Obama a Republican candidate?) they instead hurl insults at both me and my sources such as Daniel Pipes – a fine and authoritative scholar (and who has also exposed those who claim he has peddled falsehoods as themselves peddling falsehoods) whose own observations about Obama’s background are clearly and reliably sourced and are couched in Pipes’s characteristically cautious manner -- and then annouce that they have won the argument hands-down!

Oh dear. America really does have a problem here. Looks like what I wrote months ago, that the Obama phenomenon might mean the Americans too are succumbing to Princess Diana Derangement Syndrome, was a serious understatement.

To address a few specific points which have come up and which are not merely hysterical abuse. First, it’s been pointed out that Robert Spencer has said Islam does not mandate the death sentence for children who become apostates, a point subsequently acknowledged by Daniel Pipes. I don’t see, however, that this alters anything. The death sentence is mandated for adults who renounce Islam. The fact that all that is known about Obama’s Muslim roots relates – as I wrote -- to his early childhood is irrelevant. For as Spencer also notes, the real question is therefore when Obama converted to Christianity. By his own account, he did so when he was received by Pastor Wright into the Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago some twenty years ago (although at other times he has also said he was ‘always a Christian’). In which case Pipes’s argument remains absolutely salient.
As for the ‘Islamic experts’ who poured cold water on a similar argument by Edward Luttwak in the New York Times -- who are hailed as Voices of Absolute Truth by my more excitable commenters despite the fact that they know zilch about them -- these prove nothing other than the existence of commentators who sanitise Islam.

Those who still insist that Obama was never brought up as a Muslim ignore the numerous reports of his Islamic education as a young child -- including his own statements, as in this deeply respectful article in the New York Times by Nicholas Kristof:

He once got in trouble for making faces during Koran study classes in his elementary school, but a president is less likely to stereotype Muslims as fanatics — and more likely to be aware of their nationalism — if he once studied the Koran with them. Mr. Obama recalled the opening lines of the Arabic call to prayer, reciting them with a first-rate accent. In a remark that seemed delightfully uncalculated (it’ll give Alabama voters heart attacks), Mr. Obama described the call to prayer as ‘one of the prettiest sounds on Earth at sunset.’

Next, the assertion that Obama and Raila Odinga are not cousins – by a poster who says he is a Kenyan and therefore knows about such things. Well, one might think that Raila Odinga himself might have a rather better claim to know. This is what the Telegraph reported:

Kenya's defeated presidential challenger Raila Odinga has claimed to be a cousin of Barack Obama and said that they had discussed his country's post-election violence. Mr Odinga, 63, said that the US senator's father, from western Kenya's Luo tribe, was his maternal uncle... Mr Obama has not commented on the Kenyan opposition leader’s claim to be a relative.

As I have already said -- but let me repeat very slowly for those suffering from Princess Obama Derangement Syndrome – the concerns about Obama’s Muslim antecedents arise from the fact that a) he has tried to conceal them and b) that he has a puzzling number of indirect connections with radical Islamists or their supporters.

1) He has gone out of his way to support in Kenya Raila Odinga, head of the Luo tribe, who promised to introduce sharia law if elected. Obama interrupted his New Hampshire campaign to speak by phone with Odinga. As the Investor’s Business Daily has reported, his half-brother Abongo ‘Roy’ Obama is a Luo activist in Kenya and a militant Muslim who argues that the black man must ‘liberate himself from the poisoning influences of European culture’ and urges Barack to embrace his African Muslim heritage.

Barack Obama has said he disagrees with his brother. But as the IBD has also reported:

In 1991, when Obama joined the Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago, he pledged allegiance to something called the Black Value System, which is a code of non-Biblical ethics written by blacks, for blacks. It encourages blacks to group together and separate from the larger American society by pooling their money, patronizing black-only businesses and backing black leaders. Such racial separatism is strangely at odds with the media's portrayal of Obama as a uniter who reaches across races. The code also warns blacks to avoid the white ‘entrapment of black middle-classness,’ suggesting that settling for that kind of ‘competitive’ success will rob blacks of their African identity and keep them ‘captive’ to white culture.

2) His mentor, the black power-supporting Christian pastor Jeremiah Wright, is a close associate of Louis Farrakhan, the demagogue leader of the black power, Jew-hating militant organisation Nation of Islam. A number of Obama’s own staffers have been members of the Nation of Islam.

3) Tony Rezko, who was recently convicted of fraud, money laundering and bribery conspiracy, has been a major supporter of Obama and contributor to his cause – the full extent of which Obama tried to conceal. The Chicago Sun-Times reported:

During his 12 years in politics, Sen. Barack Obama has received nearly three times more campaign cash from indicted businessman Tony Rezko and his associates than he has publicly acknowledged, the Chicago Sun-Times has found. Obama has collected at least $168,308 from Rezko and his circle. Obama also has taken in an unknown amount of money from people who attended fund-raising events hosted by Rezko since the mid-1990s.

He also did a land deal with Rezko in 2005, buying land from him to enlarge his own adjoining house at what has been reported to be a discount -- a transaction Obama has subsequently called ‘bone-headed’. In a further twist, as the Times reported earlier this year, a British-Iraqi billionaire, Nadhmi Auchi, who is said to have had connections with Saddam Hussein and who was convicted for corruption in France, lent millions of dollars to Rezko just weeks before that ‘bone-headed’ land deal.

But what has received far less attention is Rezko’s connections with the Nation of Islam. Reszko, born in Syria, was a business associate of Jabir Herbert Muhammad, the son of the founder of the Nation of Islam, Elijah Muhammad, serving as a vice president and general manager of JHM’s firm Crucial Inc. And finally, Rezko was bailed from jail by Ali Baghdadi, the ‘Middle East adviser’ to the Nation of Islam.

Who know what all this adds up to? But isn’t it rather important that someone finds out before November?

To repeat once again for sufferers from PODS: the issue is NOT Obama’s religion, now or in the past. It is the many questions which need to be answered about a) why he has sought to conceal his early background; b) why he has so many indirect associations with radical Islamism; and c) whether these two questions are in some way related.

Anyone who doesn’t think all this cries out for proper investigation is either a fool or a knave.

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