Swiftboating Obama’s Religion: He Is Not a Muslim

Barack Obama Did Not Attend a Wahabi Madrassa When He Was a Boy

Over the past year or so of the presidential campaign, the forces of darkness and ignorance have been laying the groundwork for Swiftboating Barack Obama should he become the Democratic nominee. You can hear it on C-SPAN’s “Washington Journal,” when Republican callers make much of Obama’s middle name, “Hussein,” and make the false assertion that he is a Muslim. (The normally Spock-like hosts used to correct these false statements but I’ve noticed that lately they no longer bother.)

A friend in North Carolina forwarded an email this morning that is making the rounds in which Obama’s religion gets the Swiftboat treatment. I was aware of rumors that Obama had attended a Islamic religious “madrassa” school when he was a boy but I hadn’t looked into the story myself, so I did some research. The results are below in a point by point look at the assertions in the email. The text of the email is highlighted with a gray background and is presented unabridged and unedited:

If you do not ever forward anything else, please forward this to all your contacts … this is very scary to think of what lies ahead of us here in our own United States…better heed this and pray about it and share it.


Wrong, Swiftboaters. The United States wasn’t founded as “one nation under God.” That’s a line from the Pledge of Allegiance, which was written for the Sept. 1892 issue of “Youth’s Companion” magazine by Francis Bellamy, a Christian socialist author and Baptist minister.

“Allah” is the Arabic word for “God” or “Jehovah.” The fact that their God is the God of Abraham is as fundamental to Muslims as it is to Christians. And whether Christians like it or not, they don’t get to decide who God is.

We checked this out on “snopes.com “. It is factual. Check for yourself.

This is too funny. The link given in the email goes to the homepage of Snopes.com, a reputable site that debunks what it calls “urban myths.” In fact, if you search for Barack Obama on Snopes.com, the first link in the results goes to a page that debunks this very email.

Who is Barack Obama?

Probable U. S. presidential candidate, Barack Hussein Obama was born in Honolulu , Hawaii , Barack Hussein Obama, Sr., a black MUSLIM from Nyangoma-Kogel , Kenya and Ann Dunham, a white ATHEIST from Wichita , Kansas.

Blatantly and purposefully misleading. In the United States, “black Muslim” generally refers to the socially conservative but politically radical sect led by Louis Farrakahn. Obama Sr. was African and he was raised Muslim, but he was not a follower of Farrakahn or his ilk, by any means.

In fact, Barack Obama Sr. was not a Muslim. He was an atheist, who had foregone his religion before Barack Jr. was born.

But Obama’s father’s religion is irrelevant, as you will see. Read on…

Obama’s parents met at the University of Hawaii . When Obama was two years old, his parents divorced. His father returned to Kenya . His mother then married Lolo Soetoro, a RADICAL Muslim from Indonesia . When Obama was 6 years old, the family relocated to Indonesia . Obama attended a MUSLIM school in Jakarta . He also spent two years in a Catholic school.

Notice how quickly the narrative hurries past Obama’s parents’ divorce. Speed-readers might miss its significance. Barack Obama Sr.’s religious affiliation is irrelevant, as noted, because he was a non-entity in Barack’s childhood:

Obama’s parents separated when he was two years old and later divorced. His father went to Harvard University to pursue Ph.D. studies, then returned to Kenya.

Harvard is a long way from Hawaii, and Kenya is even farther. Barack Jr. did not see his father again until he was 16 years old.

Barack’s Indonesian stepfather, like Barack’s mother, was irreligious, not a practicing Muslim. (Why would a strict Muslim man marry a woman who is avowedly irreligious?)

From ages six to 10, while he lived in Indonesia, the world’s largest Muslim country, Barack attended two schools, apparently going to a Catholic school during first and second grades and a Muslim school in third and fourth grades.

He described his early education in his book, “The Audacity of Hope” (p.274):

Without the money to go to the international school that most expatriate children attended, I went to local Indonesian schools and ran the streets with the children of farmers, servants, tailors, and clerks.

And in “Dreams of My Father” (p. 142):

In Indonesia, I’d spent 2 years at a Muslim school, 2 years at a Catholic school. In the Muslim school, the teacher wrote to tell mother I made faces during Koranic studies. In the Catholic school, when it came time to pray, I’d pretend to close my eyes, then peek around the room. Nothing happened. No angels descended.

Now the smear gets sloppy:

Obama takes great care to conceal the fact that he is a Muslim. He is quick to point out that, “He was once a Muslim, but that he also attended Catholic school.”

“He?” Obama doesn’t refer to himself in the third person.


Barack Obama is not now, nor has he ever been, a Muslim. He cannot conceal what does not exist.

Obama’s political handlers are attempting to make it appear that Obama’s introduction to Islam came via his father, and that this influence was temporary at best. In reality, the senior Obama returned to Kenya soon after the divorce, and never again had any direct influence over his son’s education.

Lolo Soetoro, the 2od [sic] husband of Obama’s mother, Ann Dunham, introduced his stepson to Islam. Obama was enrolled in a Wahabi school in Jakarta .

The assertion that Obama attended a Wahabi school is a lie. Here’s CNN’s online report on its investigation into the false story (which is shown in the video at the top of the page):

CNN debunks false report about Obama (Jan. 23, 2007):

Indonesia (CNN) — Allegations that Sen. Barack Obama was educated in a radical Muslim school known as a “madrassa” are not accurate, according to CNN reporting.

Insight Magazine, which is owned by the same company as The Washington Times [and both are owned by the Moonies’ cult leader, Sun Myung Moon. – Ed], reported on its Web site last week that associates of Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-New York, had unearthed information the Illinois Democrat and likely presidential candidate attended a Muslim religious school known for teaching the most fundamentalist form of Islam.

Obama lived in Indonesia as a child, from 1967 to 1971, with his mother and stepfather and has acknowledged attending a Muslim school, but an aide said it was not a madrassa.

Insight attributed the information in its article to an unnamed source, who said it was discovered by “researchers connected to Senator Clinton.” A spokesman for Clinton, who is also weighing a White House bid, denied that the campaign was the source of the Obama claim…

But reporting by CNN in Jakarta, Indonesia and Washington, D.C., shows the allegations that Obama attended a madrassa to be false. CNN dispatched Senior International Correspondent John Vause to Jakarta to investigate.

He visited the Basuki school, which Obama attended from 1969 to 1971.

“This is a public school. We don’t focus on religion,” Hardi Priyono, deputy headmaster of the Basuki school, told Vause. “In our daily lives, we try to respect religion, but we don’t give preferential treatment.”

Vause reported he saw boys and girls dressed in neat school uniforms playing outside the school, while teachers were dressed in Western-style clothes.

“I came here to Barack Obama’s elementary school in Jakarta looking for what some are calling an Islamic madrassa … like the ones that teach hate and violence in Pakistan and Afghanistan,” Vause said on the “Situation Room” Monday. “I’ve been to those madrassas in Pakistan … this school is nothing like that.”

Vause also interviewed one of Obama’s Basuki classmates, Bandug Winadijanto, who claims that not a lot has changed at the school since the two men were pupils. Insight reported that Obama’s political opponents believed the school promoted Wahhabism, a fundamentalist form of Islam, “and are seeking to prove it.”

“It’s not (an) Islamic school. It’s general,” Winadijanto said. “There is a lot of Christians, Buddhists, also Confucian. … So that’s a mixed school.”

The Obama aide described Fox News’ broadcasting of the Insight story “appallingly irresponsible.”

Fox News executive Bill Shine told CNN “Reliable Sources” anchor Howard Kurtz that some of the network’s hosts were simply expressing their opinions and repeatedly cited Insight as the source of the allegations.

So that’s the reality, here’s more of the email:

Wahabism is the RADICAL teaching that is followed by the Muslim terrorists who are now waging Jihad against the western world.

That may be true but it is irrelevant since Obama did not attend a Wahabi school.

After fourth grade, he returned to Hawaii, where he lived with his maternal grandparents and attended a prep school. He attended college at Occidental College in Los Angeles and finished at Columbia University in New York. He went on to get his law degree from Harvard, where he served as the first African-American president of the Harvard Law Review.

Since it is politically expedient to be a CHRISTIAN when seeking major public office in the United States, Barack Hussein Obama has joined the United Church of Christ in an attempt to downplay his Muslim background. ALSO, keep in mind that when he was sworn into office he DID NOT use the Holy Bible, but instead the Koran (Their equivalency to our Bible, but very different beliefs)

First, Obama has been a member of Trinity United Church of Christ for 20 years. But among today’s CHRISTIANS, I guess he’s not CHRISTIAN enough.

Funny thing — in the mainline Protestant churches of my youth, when you accepted Jesus, you became a Christian. Period. Whatever you were beforehand was left behind, and you were “reborn” with a new life. By today’s new standard, even the disciples of Jesus, including the men who would become St. Peter and St. Paul, wouldn’t have been Christian enough because they were raised Jewish.

Second, the writers have deliberately confused Sen. Barack Obama with Rep. Keith Ellison, who is a practicing Muslim, and who was sworn in on a Koran that belonged to Thomas Jefferson.

What is insidious here is the fact that both Obama and Ellison are African-Americans. The smear writers appear to believe their readers might not be able to tell the difference between them because, from their point of view, “black people all look alike.”

Let us all remain alert concerning Obama’s expected presidential candidacy.

The Muslims have said they plan on destroying the U.S. from the inside out, what better way to start than at the highest level – through the President of the United States one of their own!!!!

Would you want this man leading our country?…… NOT ME!!!

This is ironic coming from the same crowd that believes Jesus guides the presidency of George W. Bush, which can only mean that Jesus hates America — why else would he direct Bush to shred the Constitution, hand the treasury over to international corporations and drive our military in a purposeless, never-ending war?

As bad as this garbage is, make no mistake — it is mild compared with what the right has in store for us if Obama wins the Democratic nomination.


  • dcl
    January 5, 2008 - 2:49 pm | Permalink

    Well, as you seem to know, most of today’s “Christians” are as about as far from Christianity that you can get. You know that part about “not judging others” and how hard it is for a rich man to get into heaven? Forget about it. Care for the poor and disadvantaged? Forget about it.. they’re lazy and must be bad or God wouldn’t of allowed it. The only parts of the Bible they believe in following are the ones that make them look good. Furthermore, they seem proud of their ignorance of the world and even their own religion.

    I am a Christian and I work with true Christians and the difference between evangelicals and the people are work with are as stark as night and day. The “Christians” referenced ad nauseum by our media share more in common with their radical jihadi counterparts then they do with true healthy Christianity.

  • January 6, 2008 - 1:19 am | Permalink

    It’s sad that “swiftboating” works.

  • January 6, 2008 - 9:15 am | Permalink

    The most notable recipient of Swift Boat largesse is John McCain, erstwhile front-runner and Stand Up Guy. When the Swift Boat ads were first unleashed, McCain was alone among his Republican colleagues to condemn them. A fellow Vietnam veteran, a good friend of Kerry’s and a former target of smears about his own service, McCain called the ads “dishonest and dishonorable,” a “cheap stunt,” and he urged Bush to condemn them. But in pursuit of the GOP nomination, McCain ditched the mantle of maverick for that of hack, and his once-floundering, possibly rejuvenated campaign has been aided along the way by $61,650 from Swift Boat donors and their associates.


  • E Howard Bailey
    January 13, 2008 - 1:15 pm | Permalink

    We need to drop the insane PC and White Guilt in this country for a moment. This is the president of THE UNITED STATES we’re talking about. We need to investigate this man. Google “Freedom’s Enemies, Barack Hussein Obama” by Beckwith.
    Learn the truth..It’s here with links to back it all up.

  • Madison
    January 13, 2008 - 6:11 pm | Permalink

    Um, Mr. Bailey… your sheets are showing.

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  • Mrs. American
    January 17, 2008 - 2:35 pm | Permalink

    Like you said, anyone can become a christian. You don’t have to be born a christian to become a christian. Actually, when you are born Jewish, you are a Jew. when you are born muslim, you are muslim. In both religions, if you wanted to be accepted into society without discrimination, you would convert to Christianity. There is a name for Jews her convert to Christianity. what is the name for muslims that convert? His mother gave him a muslim name out of respect for his religion. I agree that we should respect all religions, but Obama carries his father’s name, and was raised by muslims in a muslim country. His father was good looking and smart (went to Harvard), and so he is also good looking and smart and may have even gotten into Harvard under the Legacy of his father. Accepting all of this, I do not trust such a man to be my president. I already lived for 8 years with a man I don’t trust as president of my country, and I wish I could have done more to prevent that from happening. I will do what I can now.

    Sorry, Mrs. A. Democrats will not be Swiftboated in this site. Your facts are just wrong. He wasn’t “given a Muslim name.” His name is Barack Obama Jr. He was named after his father, which is a strictly Western European/American custom. (In non-Western cultures, naming a child after the father is considered embarrassingly egotistical and unlucky.)

    He was not “raised in a Muslim country.” He spent four years in Indonesia, where he attended a secular public school, but he was raised before then, from ages 0-6, and after, from ages 10 – 18, in Hawaii where he went to a prep school. So 14 of 18 years of his childhood he lived in the US.

    And I’m not sure what you mean by “there is a name for Jews who convert to Christianity.” Yes, they’re called “Christians.” (Remember St. Peter, St. Paul, St. Mark, etc.? They were all born Jewish, as of course was Jesus.) Same with Muslims who convert — they are also called “Christians.” But it may shock you to learn that anyone can become a Jew or a Muslim. Christians, in particular, convert to Judaism and to Islam every day.

    But that is irrelevant here because neither Barack Obama, his mother, his birth father nor his stepfather were practicing Muslims. Not that it should matter. This country was founded on religious tolerance. To be intolerant of Islam is to be un-American.

    Barack Obama is as American as you are. And if you can’t vote for an American citizen, then you are the one who is un-American.

    – Editors

  • April 16, 2008 - 12:50 pm | Permalink

    It’s sad the reaction the Obama campaign has had to mount agaist allegations that he practiced Islam. (I say “had to” because I acknowledge the climate of American poltics and our sentiment towards Islam) Clearly being called Muslim is not the same as mistaking a sect of Christianity, or even being called Jewish. There is a suggestion by the reaction and the “severity” of the accusation that a Muslim person would not be capable of leadership in America. If this is true, it is only because the attitude of Americans and fear of Islam without proper understanding. Islam is an incredibly prominent religion in the world- just as with all ideologies it has been associated with grave misuses- it is not irrational or hateful.

    For a campaign whose core value is speaking truth, openly and honestly, about racism and other prejudices I would have liked to have seen a different reaction. It is okay to be outraged over lies said about one’s self. The Obama campaign reaction seems to agree with the creators of the smear campaign; if he was Muslim that would pose an actual problem. An honest dialogue might want to acknowledge the prejudice in America that considers Islam as a whole to be some sort of evil.

  • James Whitehead
    May 27, 2008 - 4:14 am | Permalink

    Obama can claim he’s a Christian but his credentials hardly measure up to the claim. Proof being his effort to help a Muslim Candidate, Odinga, in his unsuccessful bid for the Presidency of Kenya in 2006.

    Odinga, a Muslim, ran on The Orange Democratic Movement platform, all Islamic, straight out of The Q’oran and Sharia Law. Obama went to Kenya and campaigned with Odinga making speaches and giving money to the campaign.

    Obama was telling Kenyans in his speaches it was vital for Kenya to have this form of government headed by Odinga.

    So, I guess Obama is an American Christian that favors Islam when campaigning outside the United States for Islamic Candidates.

    Leaving aside the fact that there is nothing in Christian doctrine that prevents Christians from supporting Muslim political candidates, we’re flagging this information as highly suspect because the commenter did not include a link or source to the allegation that Obama went to Kenya to campaign for Odinga.
    — Editors
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