Edward Luttwak’s opinion piece is clearly an agenda-driven attempt to malign Senator Obama’s position as a presidential candidate and popular figure in the Muslim world. He presumptuously speaks on behalf of Muslims based on unfounded speculations about Islam.
At the outset, he makes the false assertion that the Illinois Senator is an apostate according to Islamic law. He simplistically concludes that: “As the son of the Muslim father, Senator Obama was born a Muslim under Muslim law as it is universally understood.” Luttwak dismisses the role of Senator Obama’s Christian mother had during his upbringing and fails to take into consideration of his personal choice of faith.
The famous Muslim theologian and jurist Imam Abu Hanifa once said, “True faith consists of affirmation of the tongue and conviction of the heart.” That is, one cannot be considered a believing Muslim without possessing both attributes. Luttwak is in no position to vouch for either on behalf of Senator Obama.
Luttwak dangerously perpetuates the stereotype that Islam is a barbaric religion that responds maliciously to those who abandon its ideologies.
In making his absurd claims, Luttwak fails to consider that Islam advocates for the freedom of religion and conscious as is emphasized in the Quran, which states: “(O Prophet) proclaim: ‘This is the Truth from your Lord. Now let him who will, believe in it, and him who will, deny it.’” (18:29)
Moreover, Luttwak also takes advantage of the current climate of fear many citizens have of Islam to erroneously claim that the Muslim world rejects Senator Obama because he is allegedly an apostate. He disregards a number of polls and sources that reveal that Senator Obama is understood to be a beacon of hope and change in the Muslim world. In fact, a recent article published by ABC news states, “Though Obama is, himself, a Christian, his father’s Muslim heritage, and his own multiracial makeup, are seen as a huge plus—a sign to many here that he may be able to understand the region and what it would take to achieve peace and stability.”
Contrary to Luttwak’s assertion, an overwhelming majority of Muslims would prefer Senator Obama as President of the U.S. At the 5th U.S.-Islamic World Forum held this past February, he won overwhelming support in a mock election by more than 200 American and Muslim delegates.
Luttwak’s ludicrous reasoning seems to have clouded his judgment and common sense, to say the least, to see that Obama’s universal ability to win the hearts and minds of all people can indeed be a means of improving America’s strained relations with the Muslim world through empathy and erudition.
[Faiza N. Ali is the Community Affairs Director for the New York chapter of the Council on American Islamic Relations.]