I tried to publish this as feedback to the post Obama’s Other Muslim Problem. Something failed when I tried to do so, so, I thought I would post it normally and then expand on it a bit.

In a real sense this is not Obama’s “other” Muslim problem as distinguished from the recent flap about hijab wearing women not being allowed to sit behind him at a rally. Both are part and parcel of the same problem — some rabid right wingers think that Obama is a crypto-Muslim who upon his election will jump out and cry “Gotcha, you infidel suckers.” Thereupon, in their fevered fantasies, he will insist on swearing in on the Quran and establish the Islamic Republic of America. Obama’s Muslim problem is symptomatic of America’s deep xenophobia and racism. Funny, coming from a nation of immigrants. I mean, I can see if Timucuan (if any were still alive) or even if Cherokee or Sioux (or other Amerinds) were xenophobes, but the rest of us, I don’t get it.

I even see Obama’s “pastor problem” as part of his “Muslim” problem. Given the size of the flap over the “Wright stuff,” I must wonder if someone in the Obama campaign leaked those sermons. It gave us months of chatter about Obama’s Church and Obama’s pastor, repeated almost as a ritual chant to expel the demon of “Obama rhymes with Osama.”

Mark Levine is right, though, that “President Obama” will start on day one with a better standing with the “Muslim world” (if such a thing exists). My last trip to Indonesia (November 2007) confirmed that Indonesians are gah-gah over little Barry Soetoro (the name by which he went when he lived there). He is seen as Indonesia’s contribution to putting the world back together again after Bush’s “War of Terror.” He is not quite a native son for the Indonesians, but almost.

And so what about the now repeatedly debunked idea that Obama attended an Islamic school. He first attended a public school and then a Catholic school. At the public school, he probably took some “Islam classes.” I do not know the curriculum followed in the sixties but the curriculum for the past 15 plus years is pablum, predigested and safe. Further, not until late in the Soeharto regime (1965-1998) was Islam allowed to play a significant political role. The rest of the crazy claims about Obama being Muslim is best exploded at Snopes.

Obama’s “Muslim problem” is really his “American xenophobe problem.”

Ron Lukens-Bull