It is unusual for me to write about the US presidential race, because, frankly, it is a bit overdone. We are inundated with the minutest details and the wildest speculations over and over, whether we care or not.
Yet, there is one very important speculation that I have never heard voiced. Perhaps it is my own fault for shutting out so much of the detail, and it has been covered and dealt with. If that is the case, then I beg your forgiveness. But, if it has not been addressed, then I would humbly request that people give this some sober, realistic consideration.
Different people – and nation states – react very differently to identical ‘facts’. Mundane example: I see a rabbit, I will think ‘pet’. Another person looks at a rabbit, they may see ‘dinner’. It would be unreasonable to expect the same reaction from both of us to being served a rabbit-burger. The same is true of many, many things, not all of them mundane or witout deep impact.
Many supporters of Mr. Obama’s bid for the Democratic nomination, and ultimately the Presidency of the USA, say that he would be well received in the world, and enjoy much more credibililty than either Ms. Clinton or Mr. McCain. While his lack of experience and specific policies he suggested may have come under attack, his supporters maintain that his multicultural outlook would be great assets giving him (an by extension, the USA) great credibility, especially in Africa.
But are we not overlooking one extremely important point? Mr. Obama is an apostate to Islam – and much of the Muslim world, including in Africa, consider this to be very bad thing indeed.
This has less to do with the views of Mr. Obama himself. It does not concern anything a preacher he’d listened to may or may not believe. All it has to do with is the fact that as a child and young man, Mr. Obama was a Muslim, and now he is not. He does not deny that – nor has he ever tried to. By definition, this makes him an Apostate.
The very fact that he has converted from Islam to another faith may make it impossible for many fundamentally Islamic nation-states to accept him. After all, rightly or wrongly, many of them do interpret The Qur’an, specifically Sura (chapter) 4, verses 89-92: “If they turn away [convert away from Islam], then sieze them and kill them wherever you find them;…”.
Also, many Muslims use several books in addition to the Qur’an. These are not given the central importance that Qur’an is, but because they contain the collected sayings of the Prophet Muhammad and strories of his life, these are often used as a guide according to which the Qur’an is supposed to be interpreted. One of these is often quoted as to the proper interpretation of the above verse: ‘Bukhari’ 4.52.260 – “The Prophet said, ‘If a Muslim discards his religion, kill him.’ ”
In 2006, a man was sentenced to death in Afghanistan for having converted from Islam to Christianity. This was well after the Taliban were out of power, but even the moderates in Afghanistan did not understand why people in ‘The West’ were upset by this. Most of us are familiar with the case of Lina Joy, and others like her.
In fact, four of the major Sunni as well as the major Shia schools of Islam all agree that a sane, adult male who converts away from Islam deserves the death penalty.
I offer this as an entirely pragmatic consideration: will some people be able to see Mr. Obama, the man, or will they only see an Apostate?
How will they react if the USA elects an ‘Apostate President’?