Saturday, July 19, 2008

God is the Greatest. In Any Language?

There is a LUDICROUS post at No Quarter, the pro-Hillary, anti-Obama site. It says that Nick Kristoff at the New York Times "is in possession of a tape" that could be extremely damaging to the Obama campaign.

The "damaging" tape? It contains Obama reciting the Muslim call to prayer--in Arabic! Which of course means he's a Muslim, because anyone who knows an Islamic prayer in Arabic must have been Muslim at some point in his life. If he's not one still.

So, the fact that I studied Arabic and can recite the Sura al Fatiha from memory (and with feeling, seeing as its words are pretty close to the "baruch atta Adonai" words spoken in Jewish blessings): Does that make me a closet Muslim? Does the fact that I can recite The Lord's Prayer (in English!) make me a secret Christian?

What kind of xenophobic, ignorant a**hole credibly posits that knowing a prayer from another religious tradition means that you secretly were or are that religion? God forbid an American Christian have knowledge of something completely outside his own tradition; that immediately makes him suspect. Because a good American Christian wouldn't have the time of day to learn an Islamic prayer in Arabic. And if he learned it as a kid in school in a "foreign" land, then well, we all know what that means about his patriotism, don't we? Think about it: if you lived in an Islamic nation, you would have heard the Islamic Call To Prayer 5 times a day. How would you NOT have memorized it? I'm sure you saw fewer than 5 McDonalds commercials a day but you can still recite, "Two all beef patties, special sauce, lettuce pickles cheese..." And let's be honest here: it's not like the Call To Prayer is some subversive, anti-American rant:

God is the Greatest
I bear witness that there is no deity but God
I bear witness that Muhammad is the messenger of God
Make haste toward prayer
Make haste toward welfare
God is Greatest
There is no deity except Allah

Sounds rather familiar to any religious person, if you just change the names, doesn't it?

So why the problem with a presidential candidate knowing it?

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