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The religion of Barack Hussein Obama

 By J. Zel Lurie

J. Zel Lurie

DEL RAY BEACH, Florida–President Obama’s religious affiliation is in the news  again.  The Moslem fingerprints on his early life were prominently  displayed  during the 2008 primary campaign against Hillary Rodham Clinton and in  the election against John McCain.

 The voters paid no attention but some Jewish bloggers made a  big  stink about Obama being a closet Moslem.  The reply of Jewish voters was to give Obama a greater majority than any previous president.
Now that the relations between Obama’s Administration and the  right-wing government of Israel are a bit  strained the Jewish  bloggers are  at it again.  This time they have the evidence of the  Foreign Minister of  Egypt Ahmed Aboul Gheit.  Mr. Gheit is alleged to  have said on Egyptian TV  that in a conversation with Obama, the President said that he was really a  Moslem and that he had half-brothers in Kenya who were Moslems.
Hosni Mubarak’s foreign minister would have to be an idiot to  say anything derogatory about Barack Obama on public TV.  But assuming the  story is true, what are the facts about Obamas religion?
President Obama was born in 1961 in Honolulu to Ann Dunham of  Wichita, Kansas and Barack Hussein Obama Sr., a black Moslem student from  Kenya.
His parents were divorced when Obama was two years old.   His father left  for Connecticut and then returned to Kenya where he married  again and had five sons and a daughter.  There is no evidence that Obama  Sr. played any role in the life of Obama Jr.
Barack Hussein Obama Jr. spent his early formative years in  Hawaii with his mother and stepfather, a Moslem from Indonesia named  Soetro.   When Barack was six years old, Mr. Soetro lost his residence permit and the family, which included a younger half-sister, moved to Jakarta in  Indonesia.
From age 6 to 10 Barack Obama attended public schools in  Jakarta.  A  school registration has been unearthed for Barry Soetro, a  Moslem.
Obviously dissatisfied with the Jakarta schooling, at age 10,  his  mother shipped the boy to her mother in Kansas.  The President has  credited his grandmother with playing the key role in his upbringing.  From  Kansas schools to Harvard to Chicago to the United States Senate  and finally the  White House, he was a black American of the Christian faith.  He has always  belonged to a church.  He was married in a church and his children were  baptized.
So how come the President and the Egyptian Foreign Minister  were  discussing Moslem affiliations?  The Egyptian might have brought up  the Moslem dictum:  Born to a Moslem father you remain a Moslem all your  life.
This contrasts with the Jewish religion.  Born to a  Jewish mother you  remain a Jew in your life.  The rabbis have found an  escape clause.  If you convert to another religion, you cease to be a  Jew.
Hitler did not recognize conversions.  He looked upon the  Jews as a race and not a religion.
I am unaware that the Moslems have a similar clause.  Nor  was Obama  ever converted.  His mother and his grandmother considered him to  be a Christian from birth.
Does his Moslem biological father have any effect on his  actions on the Israel Palestinian dispute?  Not in the slightest.
I wouldnt care if Obama used the Lincoln room to touch his  forehead to the floor in Moslem prayer five times a day.  To paraphrase Ben Gurion what counts is what he does, not to whom he prays.
Here is what he does.  His first step into the Mideast  cauldron was  to appoint George Mitchell, who brought peace to Ireland, as his   special envoy to the Palestine-Israel conflict.  Next he appointed  Rahm  Emanuel, whose father fought the British to achieve a Jewish state, as his chief  of staff. His chief strategist, David Axelrod, is also  Jewish.
Last month Rahm Emanuel took his daughter to Israel for her  Bat Mitzvah.  While there he invited Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to  the White House.  The state visit occurred July 6.
Obama’s Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton had powerful  Jewish  backers in her fight for the presidency.

 She has been instrumental in securing a ten-month freeze on  construction of settlements.  Although every  President has opposed the settlements, this is the first time that Israel was  pressured  into agreeing to a freeze since Jimmy Carter got Menachem Begin to agree to a freeze during the Camp David negotiations.  That freeze lasted  three months.
The proximity talks now going on under George Mitchell are the  crowning achievement of the Obama Administration.  Mitchell has held   several meetings devoted to solving Israels security needs.
Israel says that its security will depend on its continued  control of  the West Bank’s Eastern border.  To me, a Zionist, who is  familiar with Israel’s problems, this is an understandable request.   Secretary of State Clinton  must look at the question differently.  How can  a sovereign state  allow a former enemy to control its frontier?
This is the type of question that the talks under George  Mitchell must solve.  Next is defining the permanent frontiers of the two  states, Israel and Palestine, including the division of East Jerusalem.   Then there is the question of Tel Aviv’s water which comes mostly from West Bank  aquifers.   Then there is the perennial question of the 1948 refugees and  many other minor questions.
George Bush ignored these complex questions, allowing Israel  to continue the evil occupation of the West Bank and Gaza.  Barack Obama  will do his best to achieve two states living side by side in peace and  security. The question of his Moslem father is a red herring that is  beginning  to stink.


Lurie is a freelance writer based in Del Ray Beach.  His articles appear regularly in the Jewish Journal of South Florida.

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