Despite 9/11, many Americans continue to be either baffled by or ignorant of Muslim ways and laws. That is understandable. To the average American, a theocracy is like a dark and dangerous far-away island where nobody wants to travel.
Separation of church and state is a concept Western society holds dear. But there is another concept in the modern Western paradigm that is not addressed often enough: the right of people to freely interpret and practice their religious beliefs, i.e., to personalize their religion. There are, of course, some boundaries to the personalization of religion set by the law of the land, e.g., the prohibition of polygamy, but the closest thing we have to a theocracy’s homogeneous practice of religion is a religious cult.
These two aspects of religious practice in America, separation of church and state and the personalization of religion have facilitated the nation’s shift towards secularism, thereby making it increasingly difficult for the average American to understand the mindset of even moderate Muslims in Islamic countries.
Take, for example, the following two facts about Islam, which I extracted from two familiar, nonreligious sites:MIXED MARRIAGES
Any children born to the wife will be considered Muslim. They will usually also be considered citizens of the father’s country. (U.S. Department of State)
APOSTASY IN ISLAM is commonly defined as the rejection of Islam in word or deed by a person who has been a Muslim.
The four major Sunni and the one major Shia Madh’hab (schools of Islamic jurisprudence) agree that a sane adult male apostate must be executed….
According to Wael Hallaq nothing of the apostasy law are [sic] derived from the Qur’an, although the jurist al-Shafi’I interpreted the Qu’ranic verse 2:217 as providing the main evidence for apostasy being a capital crime in Islam….
Heffening holds that contrary to the Qur’an, “in traditions, there is little echo of … punishments in the next world … and instead, we have in many traditions a new element, the death penalty.” [bold is mine]
….The execution for apostasy was abolished in most Muslim lands in the 19th century… Nevertheless, even nowadays apostates are not sure of their lives, as their Muslim relatives frequently try to kill them…. [Wikipedia]
It is common knowledge that Obama’s father was a Kenyan Muslim. Nevertheless, Obama claims to be a follower of Jesus Christ. Many Americans consider that a non-issue. “So what?” they exclaim in a dismissive tone. But does the term “rejection of Islam” mean something different to the Muslim world? If there is a distinction, it is one worth noting, since the United States can no longer expect to live in a cultural bubble, all the more so when the nation’s highest office is at stake. If we apply the above information to Obama’s declaration that he is a follower of Jesus Christ, we must presume one of two things:
1) Obama is indeed a practicing Christian, and, therefore an apostate in the eyes of many in the Muslim world. To a significant sector of the population, he is therefore worthy of death.
During the Nazi regime in Germany, Jews converted to Christianity in the hopes of evading the concentration camps, but it served them no good. Moreover, children of mixed marriages suffered the same fate as other Jews. To the Nazis, Judaism was not in the head; it was in the blood. To Muslims, Islam is not in the head either. It is in the blood:
Allah’s Apostle said, “The blood of a Muslim who confesses that none has the right to be worshipped but Allah and that I am His Apostle, cannot be shed except in three cases: In Qisas for murder, a married person who commits illegal sexual intercourse and the one who reverts from Islam (apostate) and leaves the Muslims.” [bold is mine]
Simply stated, for those following these precepts in the Islamic world, if a man is Muslim by bloodline but rejects Islam, his blood loses its life value; it must be shed. Thus, to those in Islamic countries who adhere to the principles of Islam stated here, one of two possible interpretations of Obama’s statement of faith is that he is an apostate and is worthy of death.
2) The second plausible interpretation is that Obama’s Christian declaration of faith is not sincere, to wit, he is still a Muslim. If that is the case, it is important to know whether Muslims are allowed to do this and why. The answer is that Muslims are allowed to lie about their faith within the confines of a concept called Taqiyya:
Within Shi’ite Islamic tradition, the concept of Taqiyya (‘fear, guard against’) refers to a dispensation allowing believers to conceal their faith when under threat, persecution or compulsion.
Again we ask, what is the connotation of “concealing one’s faith” in the two cultures? In America, “to conceal one’s faith” is out of the norm. When an American is not truthful about his faith, he is denying others a very important part of his identity. Now more than ever, it can be construed as a diversion by those with intent to cause harm. However, what constitutes an unconscionable act to Americans is quasi martyrdom in the eyes of the Islamic world. Muslims who believe Obama is applying Taqiyya see it as a sacrificial act of glory to Allah, in response to persecution by Christian “infidels” and “pigs”, namely, all non-Muslim Americans.
In summary, Obama’s Christian declaration of faith has different connotations for Americans and an unknown number of adherents to the herein mentioned schools of jurisprudence in the Muslim world. To the latter, it can mean only one of two things: either he is an apostate, or he is applying Taqiyya (concealing his faith). Americans could care less if he is an apostate. Conversely, a significant number of Muslims in the Islamic world, including both radical and traditionalist followers, believe apostates deserve to die. The Islamic world honors Taqiyya. Americans, on the other hand, consider it despicable, and punishable by law when it constitutes a threat to national security.
What are the implications for America? First, the contrast in the way Obama is perceived by these two parts of the world will play a crucial role in America’s future if Obama is elected president. Obama has promised to restore America’s image abroad, and to achieve new levels of understanding with hostile nations like Iran. How he plans to accomplish this is troubling, to say the least.
In the case of Iran, e.g., if Ahmadinejad views Obama as a Muslim brother, Obama would indeed succeed in his endeavor, provided he was willing to favor the Muslim cause to some degree, and by whatever means the two parties agreed on, covertly or otherwise. However, if at any point in time Ahmadinejad should view Obama as an apostate, the chances of his gaining ground with Iran — and perhaps with other Arab nations — would be very slim, slimmer in fact than those of an “infidel” president:
Under President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the regime has engaged in a systematic campaign to track down and reconvert or kill those who have changed their religion from Islam… [Wikipedia]
One disturbing fact is Obama’s relationship with radical leftist, Raila Odinga, current prime minister of Kenya, who formed a coalition with radical Islamists to campaign for the presidency in 2006. Obama traveled to Kenya to support Odinga, and African video clips of his trip show him giving the usual change speeches in Odinga’s rallies. How can an apostate campaign alongside a radical leftist who has allied himself with radical Islamists? Why did Obama support a violent man like Odinga, who upon learning he had lost the election, incited his supporters to butcher and burn innocent people alive?
The implications of Barack Obama’s beliefs on the presidential election are of historic proportions. For the first time in history, voters must decide not only between two candidates, but between the two identities assigned to one of the candidates, not because of his skin color, not because of his “funny name,” but because his roots are mixed, and his roots represent two conflicting world views: On the one hand, his Kenyan father places his identity within the Islamic world; that includes all the spectrum from moderate to radical Muslims. On the other hand, his American mother places his identity in America. How and why that occurs has been the topic of this piece.
As we saw, the Muslim world does not discard or take lightly Obama’s African heritage, regardless of citizenship. Given his Muslim bloodline, countless numbers of them view Obama as either an apostate, or as someone who is concealing his true faith. Thus voters should take a clear look at the whole picture of who Obama is, not just to Americans, but to the Muslim world.