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President Obama: how has Islam shaped the United States?

2009 April 8

tags: "the bow", Barack Obama, Camille Paglia, islam, King Abdullah, Obamaworld, Turkish Parliamentby Jim Blazsik



As the President made his magical mystery tour through Europe, he has entertained us with miscues, gaffes, and has succeeded quite well in the “offending folks” department. His constant apologies for our country have come to the point of being categorized as annoying. But his words and actions when it comes to Islam have been very curious, and, well, troubling.


Of course there is “the bow” before King Abdullah thing - we all know that the President of the United States is an equal among peers, and is not to bow before anyone. Even liberal Camille Paglia commented at Salon:


There has been one needless gaffe after another — from the president’s tacky appearance on a late-night comedy show to the kitsch gifts given to the British prime minister, followed by the sweater-clad first lady’s over-familiarity with the queen and culminating in the jaw-dropping spectacle of a president of the United States bowing to the king of Saudi Arabia. Why was protest about the latter indignity confined to conservatives? The silence of the major media was a disgrace.


But his statements before the Turkish Parliament have you thinking: “whoa, where did he come up with that?” The “We have a very large Christian population, we do not consider ourselves a Christian nation” statement will be discussed in another blog. There is another statement that has one wondering how well the President fared in American history.


“We will convey our deep appreciation for the Islamic faith, which has done so much over the centuries to shape the world — including in my own country.”


Mr. President, what country are you talking about? Robert Spencer from shares:


Unless he considers himself an Indonesian, Obama’s statement was extraordinarily strange. After all, how has the Islamic faith shaped the United States? Were there Muslims along Paul Revere’s ride, or standing next to Patrick Henry when he proclaimed, “Give me liberty or give me death”? Were there Muslims among the framers or signers of the Declaration of Independence, which states that all men – not just Muslims, as Islamic law would have it – are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, including life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness? Were there Muslims among those who drafted the Constitution and vigorously debated its provisions, or among those who enumerated the Bill of Rights, which guarantees – again in contradiction to the tenets of Islamic law – that there should be no established national religion, and that the freedom of speech should not be infringed?


There were not.


But then Spencer takes it another step: would Islamic influence in our country yield the freedoms we cherish today?


Did Muslims play a role in the great struggle over slavery that defined so much of our contemporary understandings of the nature of this republic and of the rights of the individual within it? They did not. Did the Islamic faith shape the way the United States responded to the titanic challenges of the two World Wars, the Great Depression, or the Cold War? It did not. Did the Islamic faith, with its legal apparatus that institutionalizes discrimination against non-Muslims, shape the civil rights movement in the United States? The Civil Rights Act of 1964 mandated equality of access to public facilities – a hard-won victory that came at a great cost, and one that Muslim groups have tried to roll back in the United States recently. One notable example of such attempts was the alcohol-in-cabs controversy at the Minneapolis-St. Paul international airport, when Muslim cabdrivers began to refuse service to customers who were carrying alcohol, on Islamic religious grounds. The core assumption underlying this initiative – that discrimination on the basis of religion is justified – cut right to the heart of the core principle of the American polity, that “all men are created equal,” that is, that they have a right to equal treatment in law and society.


Surveying the whole tapestry of American history, one would be hard-pressed to find any significant way in which the Islamic faith has shaped the United States in terms of its governing principles and the nature of American society. Meanwhile, there are numerous ways in which, if there had been a significant Muslim presence in the country at the time, some of the most cherished and important principles of American society and law may have met fierce resistance, and may never have seen the light of day.


So what’s the President talking about? Maybe it’s because he is a radical leftist. I mean, I’m trying to be understanding here. Radical leftists hate America and it’s Christian heritage - so the “change” thing. But it doesn’t necessarily explain his words and actions when it comes to Islam.


So, Mr. President, we leave it up to you: please tell us - why the bow, and what country are you talking about?

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