In fact, this is something that Obama discusses openly in his book, Dreams of My Father. In that book, Obama discusses the fact that his stepfather is Muslim and how he believes his stepfathers religion helped shape the man that he is. However, that book, written before Obama came into the national spotlight and certainly before his presidential bid, does not say anything about Obama being Muslim. It is not that the book ignores some of Obamas negative qualities. On the contrary, in the book, Obama details teenage and young adult drug use, anger about racial inequality in America, his own religious ambivalence in his young adult life, and a childhood that defies American stereotypes. (Obama, 2004). One who reads the book would find it difficult to imagine that the introspective author would omit a detail as salient as ever being a practicing Muslim, especially since one of the men most admired by Obama was a practicing Muslim man. Of course, an autobiography has to be viewed as a biased source, meaning that outside verification of its stories should be garnered before assuming them to be truth.
Fox News network, which is generally considered to be the most conservative news network, has done nothing to help dispel these rumors, even though they have not been able to provide any type of concrete proof of their veracity. Hannity and Colmes interviewed a person who had written a book about Obama and who was continuing to associate Obama as a Muslim. Though the two newsmen did not actually state that Obama was a Muslim, they did not interject when their interview subject linked him to radical groups and then implied that he was Muslim by stating that he spoke perfect Arabic and had, at one time, dressed in customary Islamic garb. (2008). In fact, they seemed to support the notion that anyone could claim to be Christian, and that one could not simply believe those assertions.
The website freerepublic.com, has taken a similar approach to the rumors that Obama is a Muslim.
For example, on their blogs, when they have an issue with an action that Obama has taken, they link it to Muslim extremist behavior. For example, they express concerns that Obama has somehow threatened someones right to free speech. They could link that activity to all sorts of different tyrannical regimes, such as Castros Cuba or Hitlers Germany. Instead, they do not link that to any specific regime, but suggest that it is just like Islamic-fascism, somehow trying to suggest a link between Obama and the firebombing of a someones home in London. (Free Republic, 2008).
An article in the Houston Chronicle discussed the different approaches that major news outlets have taken to the “Obama as a Muslim” rumors. The author, Jim Rutenberg, discussed the fact that the man behind the rumors, Andy Martin, has been given license to spread these rumors about Obama without any censure from conservative news outlets, despite the fact that he has absolutely no proof for his assertions. (2008). In fact, Rutenberg provides evidence that Martin, a law school graduate, was unable to become a member of the Illinois Bar because of an underlying mental disorder linked to paranoid behavior. (2008). However, this condition has never been reported by Fox News and is not mentioned on the conservative blogs. While Rutenberg does a good job of challenging Martins aspersions against Obama, he does not do what someone needs to do, and that is to explain the Constitution to the American people and make it clear that the founding fathers prohibited the use of any type of religious test for public office, most especially the office of the president.
Free Republic. (2008). Islam and Obama: criticism will not be tolerated. Retrieved October 13, 2008, from Free Republic
Web site: http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-bloggers/2092875/posts
Hannity, S., and Colmes, a. (Producers). (2008, August 13). Candidate Revealed [Television broadcast]. New York: Fox News.
Obama, B. (2004). Dreams from my father: a story of race and inheritance. New York:
Rutenberg, J. (2008, October 13). Man behind false rumors.