President Obama is officially not a Muslim. He was sworn in on a Bible, not the Koran that Black Muslim Keith Ellison (DFL-MN, 5th District) was sworn in on. He was sworn in as Barack Hussein Obama—the name that John McCain wouldn't use, and wouldn't allow others to use, in the 2008 campaign.
As the natural son of one Muslim (Barack Sr.) and the adoptive son of another (Lolo Soetoro), Obama was raised in , and traveled to Muslim countries as a youth. There he went to Muslim schools, where he was considered a Muslim, and practiced Islam, eating Halal foods, observing the Muslim Sabbath, attending Muslim divine services. [Confirmed: Barack Obama Practiced Islam, By Daniel Pipes, FrontPageMagazine.com January 7, 2008]
"'I was a little Jakarta street kid,' he said in a wide-ranging interview in his office (excerpts are on my blog, www.nytimes.com/ontheground). 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.' " [Obama: Man of the World, By Nicholas D. Kristof, New York Times, March 6, 2007]
Obama is a natural mimic—that's what Harry Reid meant about "Negro dialect". If you buy the audiobook version of Dreams From My Father, you can hear him doing various dialects. Read Steve Sailer's book on the subject, America's Half-Blood Prince, for the psychological ramifications of this.
|4x||ٱللهُ أَكْبَر||Allāhu akbar||Allah1 is the greatest.|
|2x||أَشْهََدُ أَنْ لاَ إِلَـٰهَ إِلَّا ٱللهُ||Ash-hadu an-lā ilāha illā allāh||I acknowledge that there is no god but Allah1.|
|2x||أَشْهََدُ أَنَّ مُحَمَّدًا رُسُولُ ٱلله||Ash-hadu anna Muhammadan-Rasul ullāh||I acknowledge that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah (After prophethood).|
|2x||حَيَّ عَلَىٰ ٱلصَّلاة||Hayya'alas-ṣalāh||Hasten to prayer (Salah).|
|2x||حَيَّ عَلَىٰ ٱلْفَلاَح||Hayya ʿalal-falāḥ||Hasten to success.|
|2x 2 *(Only for Fajr prayer)||ٍٱلصَّلاَةُ خَيْرٌ مِنَ ٱلنَّوم||As-salatu Khayrun Minan-nawm||Prayer is better than sleep (Recited only for Fajr prayer's Adhan)3|
|2x||الله أكبر||Allāhu akbar||God1 is greatest.|
|1x||لا إله إلا الله||Lā ilāha illā-Allāh||There is no god but Allah1.|
That, by the way, is substantially what you're supposed to say when you convert to Islam. (Either out of belief, or to avoid being put the sword.) But of course it doesn't count, because he didn't mean it.
The sense in which he is not a Muslim is that that he is the son of a Christian mother (i. e. from a Christian family, not a believer). When not with his Muslim stepfather in Indonesia, he was in Hawaii with his white Christian grandparents.
As an adult, he moved to Chicago and joined the Reverend Jeremiah Wright's Trinity United Church of Christ megachurch. It's Christian, sort of —it concentrates more on black liberation theology and the "Disavowal of the Pursuit of Middleclassness" than it does on salvation. It's certainly not anti-Muslim—it famously gave its "Rev. Dr. Jeremiah A. Wright, Jr. Trumpeter Award" to Louis Farrakhan.
Ann Coulter, a practicing Christian, doesn't think much of the claim that Obama is a Muslim. She says Obama's public policies and utterances say he's an atheist. [Obama Is Not A Muslim, September 1, 2010]
Gun rights expert David Kopel, who is Jewish, writes Obama is too a Christian on The Volokh Conspiracy blog, pointing to Obama's speech at an Easter prayer breakfast, where Obama's "remarks about 'the Easter celebration of our risen Savior...and what lesson I take from Christ's sacrifice'" were entirely straightforward statements of orthodox Christianity.
Which is true. But nineteenth century British Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli could have made the same speech. The sense in which race is destiny in politics, in spite of regular church attendance, can be demonstrated by his almost precisely similar case. He is described thusly on the official UK government site for the modern Prime Minister's office:
"The son of Isaac, a Jewish Italian writer, Benjamin Disraeli had an Anglican upbringing after the age of twelve. With Jews excluded from Parliament until 1858, this enabled Disraeli to follow a career that would otherwise have been denied him. He was Britain's first, and so far only, Jewish Prime Minister."
Disraeli really was an Anglican. He was baptized, went to church, swore all his oaths as a Christian, and never, as far as anyone knows, attended any Jewish religious ceremony. But he's still considered Britain's first Jewish Prime Minister by the British Government and by the Jewish Virtual Library.
Here's another case: Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau was occasionally accused of being a Communist, for being friendly with Castro, sheltering Vietnam War deserters, and early leftish activities and associations (which did get him banned from entering the U.S. in the 1950s). He was not, as far as I or anybody else knows, actually a secret agent of Moscow, with a KGB controller, and other spy story accessories. But to the Cuban, Red Chinese, Vietnamese and Russian Communist beneficiaries of his policies, did it matter? [See 'The evil men do lives after them', By George Jonas, October 16, 2000]
"The full history of the direct and indirect influence of Communism upon the bourgeois elites of the twentieth century will probably have to wait for some scholar of the twenty-first. The intense emotions aroused by the topic have deprived contemporary debate of language sophisticated enough to make the necessary distinctions. Anything short of cloaked conspirators meeting at midnight under Ottawa's Peace Tower is simply too subtle to be discussed. "[Patriot Games, 1986, p. 64]
By the same token, many people would tell you that since Obama does not have a secret, rolled-up prayer rug in the White House, or a hidden Koran, or a funny hat that he wears when he's alone, it is therefore crazy to say he's a Muslim.
But he's still Barack Hussein Obama, with his Muslim name, Muslim father, and Muslim upbringing.
Now journalists are telling Republican leaders to "condemn" the idea that Obama is a Muslim.
"Shame on the GOP for not fighting this lie. http://bit.ly/91sCRI
And he's talking about this:
Let It Lie | Why won't any Republicans condemn the "Obama is a Muslim" myth?
By John Dickerson, Slate.com Aug. 23, 2010, at 8:23 PM ET
Answer: why should Republicans go around swearing that Obama isn't a Muslim?
Isn't it the business of Democrats to make that promise?
And politicians of either party don't really know what Obama believes, if anything, since belief is something that takes place inside the President's own head.
Senator Mitch McConnell, asked about this, said "The president says he's a Christian. I take him at his word. I don't think that's in dispute," which is about as far as anyone can reasonably expect him to go But that was condemned as a "dog-whistle"—a secret message to people who think the president is a Muslim. So was Hillary Clinton, when she said the same thing during the primaries.
Colby Cosh Twittered that:
The BBC said Tony Blair joins Catholic Church, December 22, 2007, and the leftist Guardian said After 30 years as a closet Catholic, Blair finally puts faith before politics, Stephen Bates, June 22, 2007.
In Britain, there's no legal requirement for the Prime Minister to be an Anglican, as there was in Disraeli's day (although Prime Ministers do get to select bishops for the established Church of England, which might have been awkward). But it does make him a lot more electable.
Could Barack Obama announce he is a Muslim after he leaves office? Of course he could. It would be self-indulgent, it would damage both his party and his country…of course he could.
Which is why I'll repeat that any swearing that Obama is not a Muslim should be done by Democrats, not Republicans. This President was their idea. Let's not have Republicans crowding in to get in the blame because Jacob Weisberg says "shame!"
Is Obama a Muslim? To use one of Bill Clinton's contributions to the culture, it depends on what the meaning of the word "Muslim" is—and what year it is.
But no one besides the President himself really knows. And no-one else can dispel the suspicion.