Thursday, 18 November 2010

Obama Greets Muslim pilgrims

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Only a few days have passed since President Obama’s return from an expensive overseas jaunt in which he traveled from India to Indonesia praising Islam, but the scandal which his statements on Islam and Jihad evoked did not cause him to shirk what he apparently views as his duty to greet Hajj pilgrims. In a November 15 press release, Obama declared:

Michelle and I extend our greetings for a happy Eid-ul-Adha to Muslims worldwide and wish safe travels to those performing Hajj. This year, nearly three million pilgrims from more than 160 countries — including the United States — have gathered in Mecca and neighboring sites to perform the Hajj rituals and stand together in prayer.

On Eid, Muslims around the world will commemorate Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice his son, and distribute food to those less fortunate — a reminder of the shared values and the common roots of three of the world's major religions.

On behalf of the American people, we extend our best wishes during this Hajj season — Eid Mubarak and Hajj Mabrour.

The administration’s portrayal of Eid as a commemoration of “Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice his son” deftly dodges the fact that at the heart of Eid is one of Mohammed’s more embarrassing misunderstandings of Old Testament history. In Surah 37, Mohammed mistakenly portrayed Ishmael — not Isaac — as the son whom Abraham was prepared to sacrifice, committing his followers to rote repetition of misunderstanding of Genesis 22 down to this day, and a belief system which is markedly not of a “common root” with Judaism and Christianity.

Obama’s Hajj/Eid greeting shares the same forced ecumenism of his ‘Easter/Passover’ greeting earlier this year:

This is a week of faithful celebration. On Monday and Tuesday nights, Jewish families and friends in the United States and around the world gathered for a Seder to commemorate the Exodus from Egypt and the triumph of hope and perseverance over injustice and oppression. On Sunday, my family will join other Christians all over the world in marking the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

And while we worship in different ways, we also remember the shared spirit of humanity that inhabits us all — Jews and Christians, Muslims and Hindus, believers and nonbelievers alike.... All of us are striving to make a way in this world; to build a purposeful and fulfilling life in the fleeting time we have here. A dignified life. A healthy life. A life true to its potential. And a life that serves others. These are aspirations that stretch back through the ages — aspirations at the heart of Judaism, at the heart of Christianity, at the heart of all of the world’s great religions.

Such an assertion may have the appearance of tolerance in the minds of Obama and other Post-Moderns who are given to speaking of “narratives” rather than “truth,” but it does a disservice to the actual beliefs of the adherents of religions which most certainly do not share a safely nebulous goal of “striving to make a way in this world.” In fact, such pronouncements display a marked ignorance of the distinctly different goals of various religions. Contrary to Obama’s views, for most believers worship is not about a “shared spirit of humanity that inhabits us all” but an encounter with that which transcends humanity.

At a time when Americans are being virtually strip-searched when they travel to the airport because of crimes carried out in the name of Allah, the nation does not need a Ecumenist-in-Chief: It need a President who will uphold the Constitution — including the First and Fourth Amendments — and who will stop the bureaucratic encroachment on the rights of the nation’s citizens even as the government prosecutes criminals who murder Americans in the name of Islam.

Photo: President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama, with Grand Imam Ali Mustafa Yaqub during their visit at Istiqlal Mosque in Jakarta, Indonesia, Nov. 10, 2010: AP Images

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