Misconceptions about Obama

There are three main misconceptions that I’ve read about Barack Obama. They are 1) He’s a secret Muslim, 2) He went to an extremist Muslim school in Indonesia 3) He’s lying about what his name means.

1) Is he a Muslim? In the sense that Albert Einstein was a Jew. Obama’s father was Muslim, which makes him a Muslim the same way having a Jewish mother makes you a Jew. His mother was an Atheist, which in Atheist theology makes him an Atheist, too. Just kidding about that last part.

For those who believe that Obama’s having a Muslim father makes him a closeted, terrorist-minded Muslim just waiting to wreak havoc once he’s in the oval office, you won’t like learning that Muslims believe that everyone is born Muslim. You, me, your neighbors, everybody.

Obama said this while addressing a church group:

“I was not raised in a particularly religious household, as undoubtedly many in the audience were. My father, who returned to Kenya when I was just 2, was born Muslim but as an adult became an atheist,” he said. “My mother, whose parents were non-practicing Baptists and Methodists, was probably one of the most spiritual and kindest people I’ve ever known, but grew up with a healthy skepticism of organized religion herself. As a consequence, so did I.”

2) Obama went to public school in Indonesia. The school’s name is Basuki school or Sekolah Dasar Negeri 04,” which roughly translates as “government elementary school No. 4.”

Here are some articles about the school:

Parents whose children study at Menteng 01 today include ministers, lawyers and tycoons. Grandchildren of former president Suharto, who still lives in Menteng, attended.

So the school was surprised — and not a little put out — to find itself painted as a hotbed of Islamic radicalism during the time Obama attended as a young child.

The Indonesian government, which took over the school in 1962, recognizes several religions and public schools make time for students to practice their faith during school hours. Religious studies are compulsory.

So while Christian students were belting out hymns and reading Bible verses in a classroom on a recent midday break, Muslim students were praying in a mosque.

“This is a public school that is open for everyone regardless of his religion and ethnicity. We have a mosque, a Bible class and a partnership with the local Hindu temple,” said vice principal Akhmad Solikhin, who learned only four months ago that Obama had studied in his school.



The false coloring of Obama’s early education gained considerable steam during a “Fox and Friends” round table on Jan. 19, 2006. Host Steve Doocy said that Obama spent “the first decade of his life raised by his Muslim father as a Muslim and was educated in a madrassa.” It is almost impossible to tabulate how many false claims are in that sentence.

Oh, how Islamophobes love to throw around the word madrasa. If only they would learn that that’s the Arabic word for school. And that it has nothing to do with this public elementary school in Indonesia.

3) Obama has said that Barack is a Swahili name, and he’s also said that it’s an Arabic name. This is not a contradiction. He’s even noted the similarity to the Hebrew name Baruch. Also not inconsistent.
The guy was just named after his father. I personally find that weird and I wish that tradition would die off, but it’s pretty normal in America.

As for his middle name, Hussein, it is an Arabic name. It’s also an Islamic name to the extent that David is a Jewish name and Paul is a Christian name.

Obama, now…I don’t know what that name means.



Filed under names

4 responses to “Misconceptions about Obama

  1. Rob

    “Atheist theology”

    LOL 🙂

  2. Roy

    Thanks for clearing that up. I knew some of it, but didn’t know some of it, and those articles were interesting (especially the lie-filled Fox one!).

  3. bob

    Would you help me with a clarification? At a friend’s home last evening, I mentioned that I would probably vote for Obama as President. Her reply, “what, how can you vote for someone who would not even say the pledge of allegiance.” and then said that had been confirmed. I can find no evidence of that. Can you help clarify? Thanks.

  4. Sure. Have you tried the Urban Legends Reference Pages at http://www.snopes.com yet?
    Here’s a YouTube video of Barack Obama leading the pledge of allegiance in the US senate in June of 2007: http://my.barackobama.com/page/invite/patriot
    It starts at about 2:40, after some pastor reads a prayer.

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