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Heedless, however, of the inaccuracy of his words, Obama charged ahead and compounded it. Ramadan’s rituals of fasting and prayer, he said, “remind us of the principles that we hold in common, and Islam’s role in advancing justice, progress, tolerance, and the dignity of all human beings.”
Here again, one wonders how the designation of non-Muslims as “the most vile of created beings” (Qur’an 98:6) advances human dignity, much less tolerance or justice. The command that Muslims must fight against Jews and Christians until they pay a religion-based poll tax, jizya, “with willing submission and feel themselves subdued” (Qur’an 9:29) likewise seems to militate against the idea of universal human dignity that Obama professes to have discovered in Islam.
Yet still his flights of fancy weren’t over. “Ramadan,” he claimed, “is a celebration of a faith known for great diversity and racial equality.” Diversity? While it is undoubtedly true that people of all races and nations have embraced Islam, when they do so, they at least partially Arabize. Islam is an Arabic religion; the Qur’an, as it tells us about itself repeatedly, is an “Arabic Qur’an.” Muslims must pray in Arabic, and recite the Qur’an in Arabic, whether they’re weathermen from Minnesota or fishermen from Indonesia. Conversion to Islam led a black American to change his name to Muhammad Ali, a name he undoubtedly shares with innumerable Arabs, Pakistanis, Afghans, and others. A recent meeting of Southeast Asian dignitaries showed participants with names indigenous to Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, and the other countries in the region. Only the Indonesian participant had a name that had nothing to do with the indigenous culture of the country of his birth, and everything to do with Arabia. What’s more, throughout Islamic history Arabs have claimed for themselves a privileged position within the Islamic community, and have regarded non-Arab Muslims as second-class. Racial equality? Not by a long shot.
“And here in the United States,” Obama continued, “Ramadan is a reminder that Islam has always been part of America and that American Muslims have made extraordinary contributions to our country.” Islam has always been a part of America? Really? Maybe Robert Gibbs will be so kind as to provide us with a list of the Muslim Founding Fathers, the Muslim heroes of the American Revolution, the names of the Muslims killed fighting in the Civil War (for the North, no doubt – you know, “racial equality”!), the Muslim Senators and Congressmen who served with distinction in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries – I’m sure the Obama Administration will have no trouble coming up with all that, will they? And I trust it will also contain a list of those “extraordinary contributions” that Muslims have made to our country. Aside from being the impetus for some extraordinary innovations in airport security, I can’t think of any. But I doubt that one will be on Obama’s list.
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