|Is Obama a Muslim? The test of Cordoba House|
(Mat 5:44 NKJV) "But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you,
(Mat 5:45 NKJV) "that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.
Whilst Obama ratings have been dropping, his ratings as a Christian also dropped from 48% in Mar 2009 to 34% recently according to the Pew forum. In fact an incredible 18% (up from 11% in 2009) in the same forum said that Obama was a Muslim. 43% of the population (up from 34% in 2009) doesn’t know about Obama’s religion hence allowing rumors to go wild without a strong counter message. His recent support of the building of a mosque/religious centre near ground zero in New York – Cordoba House is a correct decision yet possibly diminished his already weak support amongst Christians.
However, religion is seldom private however moderate we are as there is a unity of faith and brotherhood which is particularly strong in Islam. When 911 happened, there was strong sympathy in Palestine, Pakistan and even Indonesia. The argument that most Muslims are moderate does not negate the fact that there are strong elements of fundamentalism leading to terrorist actions in Islam. Much of the insurgency in Iraq and Afghanistan, and Pakistan is motivated by faith, and the news of a new act committed causing harm has a negative impact on the American opinion.
Obviously, Obama was not a Muslim. He was a regular worshipper at the Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago. Furthermore, the radical Egyptian cleric Hassan Abu Al-Ashbal had called on Obama to convert from Christianity to Islam. But I guess, attending UCC under Rev Jeremiah Wright for 20 years doesn’t count for some as they are a liberal church. The talk of Obama being a Muslim added concern many American Jews when he linked the founding of Israel to the Holocaust rather that Israel’s historical biblical roots. He also strongly pushed for a freeze in Jewish settlement construction in disputed Jerusalem which was highly sensitive to the Jews and evangelical Christians.
Obama has been demonized by the Christian Right by labeling him as a Muslim by highlighting:-
a) Obama’s family roots having Muslim connections in Indonesia including his step father.
b) Bowed to the Saudi King who is the guardian of Islam whilst others do curtsy?
c) Obama reciting the Muslim call to prayer, and calls it “one of the prettiest sounds on earth”
d) His Muslim sounding full name “Barrack Hussein Obama”
Clearly Obama went overboard on his praises on Islam when he should be neutral or at least balanced it with positive statements on Christianity. The above revelation was repeated over and over again by the Christian Right propaganda arm including Rush Limbaugh to vilify Obama. It does not help that Obama Publicly stated that America was not a Christian country but a country of many faiths, and he was Pro-Palestine rather than pro-Israel occupation of Jerusalem.
His greatest downfall – being too good and too nice, his inclusive theology does not allow him to see the bad side of religion and how predominantly Muslim countries such as Saudi Arabia and Iran are not responding reciprocally. For example, no one would question if they do not allow a church to be built two blocks away from Mecca. Non Muslims are not even allowed to enter Mecca under Muslim laws. However, Private and moderate faith must be supported in a world aligned to worship to Rome or to Mecca crossing boundaries.
The Cordoba House in New York was an attempt to bridge the gap between the religions and promote goodwill. It is named after a city in southern Spain and was once the capital of an Islamic Caliphate during the middle ages of conquest of Europe in 711 AD and it became a major cultural, learning, and innovation centre. It was recaptured by Spanish Reconquista in 1236. For many however, Cordoba represents the Moorish conquest into Europe. A number of Christians were martyred most famous, Martyrs of Córdoba, a group of 48 mostly monks between 851 and 859 for denouncing Islam.
Hopefully, Obama will not be martyred at Cordova. At the end Obama’s inclusive call to America and to the rest of the world by giving recognition to the Islamic contributions and culture did not help the war against the hard-line Muslim terrorists in Afghanistan and Iraq. He has lost support amongst the Jews for appearing to slide with Palestine, and finally his attempts to praise this religion alienated him from a majority Christian conservative society in America still hurting from the 911 terrorist acts committed by some in the name of Islam. His attempt to sit at the fence is particular hurtful to its most zealots supporters in the small gay lobby who saw little progress in the DADT, and Gay marriages.
The root core of any religion can be seen in how it treats the minority religion in its realm. If Christianity were to be unique, it cannot be based the OT law, ie an eye for an eye (common in the Islam Shariah laws), rather to preach God’s grace and mercy through Jesus Christ. If Christianity claims to be The Way, the Truth and the Life, then it cannot act the same way as other countries/faiths do in treating the small religious minorities in their own country. There they have little rights, and possibly be given the death penalty if they convert to Christianity or are found to be gay. Yet, we need to follow the opposite Spirit and give them liberty, grace and mercy for the sake of our own souls lest we become those we despise most. The House of Cordoba is a test of our faith. The terrorists in 911 would have succeeded in their aim if we become like them – hard line, conservative, and intolerant depriving others their basic freedoms, rights and liberty, and causing harm without any conscience and rationalizing it in the name of religion.