What Planet Is He On?

(cross-posted at kickin it with cg and motley moose)

On the way to Riyadh, Saudi Arabia the New York Times is reporting that President Obama told Laura Haim on Canal Plus, a French television station, that the "United States also could be considered as 'one of the largest Muslim countries in the world.'"

This comment, predictably, has set off some controversy. Case in point is Robert Spencer of Jihadwatch, who asks "what planet is he on?" Answers Mark Leon Goldberg,

I'm guessing "earth." Because according to the Pew Research Center, there are an estimated 2.35 million Muslims in Amerca.  This means that if the United States were a member of the 57 nation Organization of the Islamic Conferences it would rank, in terms of Muslim population, above Albania, Kuwait, Brunei, Benin, Togo, Djbouti, Suriname, Gabon, Gambia, Guyana, Guinea-Bissau, Comoros, Qatar, Lebanon, and the Maldives.

Obama went on to say:

"What I want to do is to create a better dialogue so that the Muslim world understands more effectively how the United States, but also how the West thinks about many of these difficult issues like terrorism, like democracy, to discuss the framework for what's happened in Iraq and Afghanistan and our outreach to Iran, and also how we view the prospects for peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians,"

snip

"I think the most important thing I want to tell young people is that, regardless of your faith, those who build as opposed to those who destroy I think leave a lasting legacy, not only for themselves but also for their nations.  And the impulse towards destruction as opposed to how can we study science and mathematics and restore the incredible scientific and knowledge -- the output that came about during centuries of Islamic culture.

After 8 years of clumsy buffoonery - I guess this is what real diplomatic efforts look like.

Tags: islam, Middle East, obama, Pew Research (all tags)

Comments

68 Comments

viva diplomacy!

to avoid a bit of vomit-induction i highly rec avoiding reading the comments in spencer's piece.  scary stuff.

by canadian gal 2009-06-03 04:38PM | 0 recs
Re: viva diplomacy!

Here is JihadWatch's view of former president Jimmy Carter, a Nobel Peace Prize winner for his humanitarian efforts over the past 30 years. From the JihadWatch,

The American Dhimmi of the Year 2008...JIMMY CARTER!!

Carter, looking a bit purple and green, slithers to the podium to accept his Cringing Dhimmi statuette. His acceptance remarks are brief: "Let me just say, mah fellow Americans, that I am very proud that y'all have elected me to this third term, and in closing, Death to Israel!"

Islamophobia is only the latest form of bigotry in the United State, and it is being pumped up by disgusting blog sites such as Little Green Footballs, David Horowitz's FrontPage Magazine, and JihadWatch. Generating hate for Muslims, Arabs, and Palestinians, in particular, is their purpose.

It is inconceivable that a liberal or progressive American could quote JihadWatch seriously. Perhaps Canadians should get to know the US a little better than they do, about the problems we have had historically with invented bigotry, before commenting about us. You can be excused but since this garbage was rec'd, the criticism is necessary.

By the way, what planet are you on? Toronto is not that far from the moon.

by MainStreet 2009-06-04 02:46AM | 0 recs
Re: viva diplomacy!

She wasn't recommending it, quite the contrary.  And the diary didn't quote JihadWatch, except the title, and that ironically, but the rebuttal.  She was recommending readers not read the site.  I think you may have missed the point.

by Shaun Appleby 2009-06-04 03:15AM | 0 recs
Re: viva diplomacy!

My apology.

by MainStreet 2009-06-04 04:29AM | 0 recs
Re: What Planet Is He On?

There he goes... always thinking about the 57 states!

by Steve M 2009-06-03 04:46PM | 0 recs
Guyana?

Why are they a member of the OIC? Only 7% of Guyanese are Muslims.

Suriname too, only 13% of Suriname is Muslim.

by DTOzone 2009-06-03 04:56PM | 0 recs
Re: What Planet Is He On?

What Obama is doing at the moment costs us virtually nothing and potentially gains a great deal.  But the thing that impresses me most is he is clearly addressing an international audience, and inviting domestic opinion along for the ride, a refreshing departure from past practice and an inversion of the conventional wisdom of putting domestic politics above international policy.  It's about time.  

As an observer beyond the borders of the United States it cannot be overstated how far off-centre from mainstream international opinion the public discourse in the US seems to have drifted in recent years.  Muslim or not these overseas speeches of Obama's are immensely well received and a long overdue opportunity for sympathetic audiences to have their concerns reassured and peace of mind restored regarding US policy and intentions.

by Shaun Appleby 2009-06-03 05:16PM | 0 recs
As a liberal, I do not agree

with your conclusion. I'm sorry but how does visiting Saudi Arabia, one of most oppressive states in the World, help our case? What signal are we sending to the Islamic World? That we like and continue to patronize the oppressive, anti democratic regimes of Mubarak and the House of Saud? Is President Obama going to touch upon the severe limitations imposed on human rights in Islamic republics. How about the gender apartheid practized in Saudi Arabia or the virtual non-existent minority religious rights in most of the Arab countries?

I understand the need for changing the Bush neocon rightwing foreign policies. But that does not mean we have to accept or patronize illiberal regimes as our partners. I think we have a better chance of broader acceptance in the Muslim World, if we push/nudge these regimes for democratic rule in these countries. Even if some of the ruling elites in these countries hate us for that, atleast we would be principled about it.

http://www.iheu.org/node/3162

by louisprandtl 2009-06-03 06:00PM | 0 recs
Re: As a liberal, I do not agree

There's no question that the Middle East is abundant with autocratic regimes which oppress their populations in one way or another, and that many of them are among our 'allies' in the region.  On the other hand we have to be careful about projecting our power in that respect for a couple of reasons, that it veers into territory of cultural arrogance and that the general consensus is that we have arbitrarily applied these standards in the past for ulterior motives, which is arguably correct.

I think Obama's approach here is sound, note these problems, be prepared to have a dialogue about them in international debate and state our preferences but above all set the intention to lead by example.  The world has witnessed a US justifying the invasion of Iraq on trumped up evidence and grounds of despotism while violating the Geneva Conventions, establishing Guantánamo and perpetrating Abu Ghraib and Haditha.  This requires a remedy and if Obama can achieve something in that direction with a few hours of oratory more power to him.

A foreign policy 'realist' would concur that these regimes are not ideal but that it was equally necessary to continue to engage with them.  But if we become just and transparent in our application of outrage over human rights we will ameliorate much in the way of suspicion and bad feelings.  The illiberal regimes are our partners, for better or worse.  But in theis case the Muslim Brotherhood received invitations to this speech as well.  If no other evidence is offered the audio tape from Osama Bin Laden on the eve of this event would seem to indicate that as a policy it is working.  Our principles will be reinforced more strongly by the suspension of suspicion of our motives at this point and that stikes me as a necessary first step.

by Shaun Appleby 2009-06-03 06:22PM | 0 recs
I have no problem in us apologizing for

our actions in Abu Ghraib or violating Geneva conventions. You're absolutely right, that we should be leading by example.

On the other hand there are things that US does that does not get that much publicity. Last week at a conference at TX, I listened to a seminar of how American SOF under enemy fire, flew in to protect and pull Hamid Karzai and his followers to safety, when Taliban forces almost surrounded them.

You know what..I was going to write more but I need to applaud the way you put forth your arguments. I deeply appreciate the way you calmly respond to comments, especially the ones positing the opposite views.

by louisprandtl 2009-06-03 06:51PM | 0 recs
Re: I have no problem in us apologizing for

Gee, thanks, I guess I learned during the primaries that if one wants to effectively promote a candidacy it has to be done with respect and acknowledgement of the sincerity of opposing views and the dignity of those who hold them.  Obama supporters got a few lectures on that subject at the time and it seems a winning strategy, one of the positive things I have taken away from supporting his candidacy.

And I'm not disagreeing with you, really, except insofar as I condone Obama's choice of venue and willingness to gloss over our human rights issues with Abdullah and Murbarak in pursuit of arguably more urgent objectives.  I wholly agree that Wahhabist or pharaonic autocracies are fundamentally illegitimate, as Fukayama would say, and would add that they are inevitably doomed.  On the other hand I wonder what is the most effective way to influence them, genuinely, in the long-term and am tempted to agree with Obama that if we set an example of plurality, tolerance and freedom without hectoring our allies and enemies on the subject we will achieve the most.  The court of public opinion is our best ally, I'm guessing.

Sure in specific cases we may need to make a fuss or take a stand, and these will be all the more credible if we put our own house in order.  At this rate I earnestly expect that we will do so.  Obama is starting to demonstrate that this shift in world opinion is not so daunting or difficult as we once may have supposed, and he seems to be making no tangible compromises on principle to achieve it.

by Shaun Appleby 2009-06-03 07:12PM | 0 recs
Look Obama is doing the right thing

by extending his hand of American friendship and peaceful co-existence with Islamic World. At the same time, if we are only seen hobnobbing with the much despised ruling elites of some of these countries, we become the target of wrath of the common folks who are long suffering under these brutal regimes. Our motives are impugned as purely selfish and oil driven. A principled stand for a push for democracy in this part of the World (without hectoring or imposing it on anybody) in the long run would be beneficial to us and most likely to the common folks in these countries.

by louisprandtl 2009-06-03 07:37PM | 0 recs
Re: Look Obama is doing the right thing

I agree.  I guess my argument is 'first things first,' let's rehabilitate our image, which is going to require a bit of doing, including rectifying some of our human rights indelicacies, and take it from there.  We do have to look out for our interests in the process, however.  We have a lot of competition in the world, Russia and China spring readily to mind, and it seems to make little sense to create unnecessary opportunities for others just for the sake of being an internationalist Pollyanna.  But I agree with you that time is on the side of moderate, egalitarian trends in the regioin and we want to align our actions, principles and our long-term objectives with that tendency.

by Shaun Appleby 2009-06-03 07:49PM | 0 recs
It doesn't work that way.

If we turn our backs and pout or act the bully, the people in these countries do not sympathize with us and they elect leaders who are anti-American.  

However, if we act with diplomacy and try to find common ground to make peace, the people are more likely to elect leaders who are sympathetic to us.

by GFORD 2009-06-03 07:52PM | 0 recs
Pushing for democracies in autocratic countries,

is vitally important, even if that means that sometimes, they may elect folks who are not exactly our friends. But that is the nature of democracy and we need to learn to accept that. We are still paying the price for intervening and replacing democratically elected forces with regimes of our liking, in places like Iran. Look what happened, democratic and secular voices in Iran are still marginalized and religious zealots who are far more anti-American than ever before, are ruling the roost.

by louisprandtl 2009-06-03 08:01PM | 0 recs
Re: Pushing for democracy

in countries which have no democratic tradition sounds like a good idea but doesn't work.
I don't know a single example where it was successful.

For 8 hears we (=the rest of the world)'ve been pushing for a democratic regime in the US but ultimately, it was the US people itself which put an end to the Bush-Cheney dictatorship. ;)

More seriously, the very notion of 'pushing' and its overtones of disrespect and bullying, is contrary to my notion of democracy, which includes respect for others. A more subtler approach is required.

by french imp 2009-06-03 09:40PM | 0 recs
Honestly

Those who wish to overthrow the oppressive regimes of Mubarak and the House of Saud only wish to replace them with even more oppressive regimes.

Let's face it, what would replace the House of Saud would be a regime so fundamentalist, they'll makw Roy Moore look like Hunter S. Thompson.

by DTOzone 2009-06-03 07:02PM | 0 recs
I don't agree...right now House of Saud

have patronized the extremist clerics who are the main proponents of extreme religious rule. However they have effectively silenced the secular, democratic movement of Arab intellectuals and common people by brutally suppressing them. The second is also true for Mubarak regime.

by louisprandtl 2009-06-03 07:08PM | 0 recs
Secular, Democratic movement?

In Saudi Arabia?

In Egypt, yes, but in Saudi Arabia? I don't think so.

by DTOzone 2009-06-03 07:54PM | 0 recs
Yes...see the links below on how Saudi

intellectuals are pushing for breathing space for democracy and then jailed for that...and then continuing to push for the same...

http://www.commondreams.org/views03/0313 -10.htm

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_ east/3521672.stm

http://www.pen.org/viewmedia.php/prmMID/ 317

http://www.csmonitor.com/2009/0514/p06s1 2-wome.html

by louisprandtl 2009-06-03 08:11PM | 0 recs
But is it

what the Saudi people want? The articles also say the government is jailing Islamists too.

by DTOzone 2009-06-03 08:43PM | 0 recs
Re: Honestly

I'm tempted to agree with Louis, as autocratic regimes go the Saudis would have to be among the most polarising and illiberal, at least on theological grounds.  I don't see the difference between a Taliban or Saudi beheading from the perspective of the beheaded.  On the other hand the capacity for the Middle East to conjur up evil djinns of oppression never ceases to amaze me.

by Shaun Appleby 2009-06-03 07:22PM | 0 recs
No, the Saudi government IS the Taliban

maybe worse...but if we give the people of Saudi Arabia the right to elect their own government...would it really be any different than the one they have now?

Would they still be publically beheading people?

I'm willing to bet...yes.

by DTOzone 2009-06-03 07:56PM | 0 recs
Re: No, the Saudi government IS the Taliban

Who knows?  But by your own argument if that is the society the majority of Saudi people want, which I have my doubts about, it is hard to suggest they must do otherwise, isn't it?  On grounds of non-Islamic Western ideological principles?  That may be part of the difficulty here, us seeking to impose our values on other cultures where they aren't yet a comfortable fit.

by Shaun Appleby 2009-06-03 08:15PM | 0 recs
Sometimes we really don't realize that some of
our assumptions can be offensive. Some assume that democracy is not really compatible with Arabs or Muslim majority in general. I have had Arab friends who deeply resent that assumption.
 
by louisprandtl 2009-06-03 08:26PM | 0 recs
Re: Sometimes we really don't realize that some of

Well it certainly could be argued that democracy is not necessarily 'functional' in some cultures, and not just Islamic ones.  Still egalitarianism seems a pretty universal notion, but if a culture would prefer a monarchy or a theocracy and has legitimate grounds for arguing that is the preference of a majority of their people I don't see how our 'principles' carry more weight.  On the other hand it's necessary for nations have to have mechanisms for dealing with one other equitably and agreeably in international affairs, and be willing to accept consensus based global statutes of commerce, law and human rights, including conventions on minorities, genocide and ethnic cleansing.

by Shaun Appleby 2009-06-03 08:38PM | 0 recs
No, it's not that democracy isn't

compatible with Arabs or Muslims, it's that it isn't compatible with Saudi Arabia specifically.

by DTOzone 2009-06-03 08:45PM | 0 recs
perhaps.

and the question of whether islam is a religion or a political ideology is one which is long debated.  the question is - in muslim socities, can religion cannot be separated from the most trivial requirements of everyday life?

by canadian gal 2009-06-03 08:18PM | 0 recs
Re: perhaps.

should read:

can religion be separated from the most trivial requirements of everyday life?

by canadian gal 2009-06-03 08:20PM | 0 recs
I was reading a very interesting article by

one Asef Bayat. I think he tried to answer your question...


The debate about the fragility of democracy in Islamic societies - with a particular focus on the Middle East - has grown in intensity throughout the 2000s. It has been propelled by a combination of global and regional factors, and has focused largely on the real or imagined obstacles to democratic development: among them authoritarian family structures, clan-based social organization, a social order antithetical to freedom, "oriental despotism," colonial domination, repressive legal structures, and the rentier character of many Muslim states.

But there is a persistent and broad view that it is Islam itself which is responsible for the "democratic deficit" in much of the Muslim world. The experience of Turkey, Indonesia and Malaysia (to name only these) is enough to illustrate that the condition being diagnosed is more specifically identified with the Middle East; but even here, the argument is far from well-grounded.

It is important to examine this view at a time of transition, when both advocates and critics of Islam (admittedly a rather crude characterization - though the arguments on each side can often be such) are repositioning themselves in face of wider changes in the geopolitical and intellectual arena (see Olivier Roy, Whatever Happened to the Islamists? [C Hurst, 2009]). These changes include a reassessment of the principles underlying the support or promotion of democracy in the Muslim world, which has had a high profile in western policy and rhetoric in the 2000s; a theme explored in a number of earlier articles in this openDemocracy/International IDEA debate.  

http://www.isn.ethz.ch/isn/Current-Affai rs/Security-Watch/Detail/?ots591=4888CAA 0-B3DB-1461-98B9-E20E7B9C13D4&lng=en &id=97445

by louisprandtl 2009-06-03 08:33PM | 0 recs
interesting...

In any case, the regime-change version of democracy-promotion is rooted in the false assumption that installing democracy as the highest value justifies drastic violations. The occupation of Iraq, with all its disastrous consequences, is justified after the event on account of the incipient democratic system that on a benign view is evolving in the country. But an instrumental doctrine of this kind is flawed. Its coerciveness discredits the ideal of democracy; it provides a pretext for xenophobic and repressive rulers to play the "anti-imperialist" card; it is guaranteed to inflict widespread pain, death and destruction; and it is unlikely to work even in its own narrow terms. Democracy cannot be "promoted" on top of a mountain of corpses.

Instead, a change in societies' sensibilities is a precondition for a sustainable democratic turn. This can only be triggered through information and education, but especially by people from all areas of social life who in their everyday lives fulfil their civic responsibilities, voice their aspirations, broadcast injustice, and excel in what they do

i agree with this wholeheartegly - but do you not think that in today's age of technology, warfare and information exchange that this is exceedly difficult to come to terms with as liberals? can't one argue that the seculars and modernists have been losing this societal battle to the fundamentalists and traditionalists over the past 10 decades?

by canadian gal 2009-06-03 09:53PM | 0 recs
Re: interesting...

Good question.  My view is that 'fundamentalism' and 'traditionalism' are generally reactions to broader trends which are moving in favour of secular modernism.  In some respects seeing this reaction resort to imposed authority and violence argues that the march of time is on our side and indeed may have already arrived if not for the intervention of it's opponents.

by Shaun Appleby 2009-06-03 10:27PM | 0 recs
At one time

Christianity was a political ideology and the governments that ruled Europe were just as oppressive as the one that governs Saudi Arabia.

Reading of the days when people were burned at the stake for heresy because they dared question the church, were people were publically beheaded, their heads put on spikes, for merely speaking their minds...I'm reminded of how long it took Western Society to come around to secularism.

I don't know if Saudi Arabia is there yet. I don't see the enlightenment there yet.

by DTOzone 2009-06-03 08:41PM | 0 recs
Re: At one time

An interesting historical argument which places Islam some centuries behind Christianity.  It's been argued that the early schism of Sunni and Shi'ite has had a similar effect of stifling reforming tendencies.  The question is can the world endure the coming Reformation?  One hopes this process won't require the centuries of bloodletting which we required, even with the civilising antecedents of Rome.  But your analogy argues in favour of leaving Islam to it and letting them sort it out for themselves, doesn't it?

by Shaun Appleby 2009-06-03 09:02PM | 0 recs
Yes

The Islamic world isn't going to take advice from us. Hell, in the Middle Ages the Islamic world was probably more advanced than Europe and we weren't going to take advice from them.

The Islamic world is going to have to settle this for themselves. I don't think we'll be able to avoid the bloodletting either. I can forsee French Revolution-type events happening in places like Iran and Pakistan and eventually Saudi Arabia.

Turkey is the model, I think, for the Islamic world.

by DTOzone 2009-06-04 11:04AM | 0 recs
precisely.

and one could argue that obama "addressing the muslim world" tomorrow is not prudent. why isn't he addressing the christian world, or the jewish, hindu or buddhist worlds. why the exception for muslims?

by framing terrorism in religious terms as he has done in the past, he's treading the same turf as militant islamists, on the one hand, and bush, on the other.

but unfortunately obama has no choice but to fix the shattered relationship between the US and the muslim world. this is partly dues to previous adminsitrations' reign of idiocy, partly because of israel and partly because things are coming to a head in different regions of the world due to different geopolitcal and historical pulls.

by canadian gal 2009-06-03 09:33PM | 0 recs
what?

and the question of whether islam is a religion or a political ideology is one which is long debated.

It is?  I thought the consensus among the rational was that Islam is basically like any other religion, and like any other religion, can be the basis for a political ideology, typically in the hands of adherents to an extreme version of it.

in muslim socities, can religion cannot be separated from the most trivial requirements of everyday life?

There are several Muslim countries where religion is separated from the most trivial requirements of everyday life.  

by JJE 2009-06-03 09:02PM | 0 recs
to...

avoid the usual pitfalls and strawmans in our little exchanges i'd just ask if you could please point of which muslim countries are secular in "the most trivial requirements of everyday life"?

isn't the idea that we are calling them 'muslim countries' prove this otherwise?

by canadian gal 2009-06-03 10:01PM | 0 recs
Re: to...

Indonesia.

by Shaun Appleby 2009-06-03 11:23PM | 0 recs
Re: to...

yes - that's true.

at 88% i think they fit into that category, although back when i was there last (in the 90's) religion in indonesia was a complex and volatile issue.

what's interesting in the case of indonesia is that it is not easily analyzed in terms of social class, region, or ethnic group. and while islam, christianity, hinduism, buddhism, and other religions influence many aspects of life, the government generally discourages religious groups from playing a political role (or did). in those days - the state guaranteed tolerance for certain religions (agama) regarded as monotheistic by the government, including islam, christianity, hinduism, and buddhism, but only as long as they remained outside of politics. i haven't kept up with the country as i should so in fact things may have changed since i was there last.

on a personal note having been to both bali and java i definitely felt the influences of islam in daily life there although this was reflective of cultural norms - in my opinion of course.

by canadian gal 2009-06-04 12:03AM | 0 recs
Turkey, Malaysia

by JJE 2009-06-04 04:38AM | 0 recs
Re: Turkey, Malaysia

And let's not forget America.

America is not a majority Islamic country, but as we have separation of church and state (at least until the Bush administration), no where is it more evident that the problems with gender equality that some Muslim countries have are not present in the US.

by MainStreet 2009-06-04 05:19AM | 0 recs
Today in NPR they said that US would be in the mid

US would be ranked in the mid thirties in terms of Muslim population in America. Somebody in his entourage ought to tell him that.

by louisprandtl 2009-06-03 05:39PM | 0 recs
Re: Today in NPR they said that US would be in the

either way - i think his point is that being a muslim doesn't automatically put you at odds with the US.

by canadian gal 2009-06-03 05:53PM | 0 recs
He is making the right point...I would also like

to see some of the OIC leaders also tell their folks that America is not the Great Satan...

by louisprandtl 2009-06-03 06:06PM | 0 recs
agreed my friend...

by canadian gal 2009-06-03 06:31PM | 0 recs
Does anyone

still use that epithet?  Seems like something of an anachronism.

In any event, after we invade Iraq and continue to bomb civilians in Afghanistan, convincing Muslims that the US has their interests at heart would be a hard sell.

by JJE 2009-06-04 05:44AM | 0 recs
actually no. so far...

insha'allah.

by canadian gal 2009-06-04 05:50AM | 0 recs
no what?

nobody uses Great Satan or it won't be hard to convince Muslims of America's begign stewardship of world affairs?

by JJE 2009-06-04 05:58AM | 0 recs
so far...

convincing Muslims that the US has their interests at heart would be a hard sell.

obama's speech is being well recieved both by "the street' and by muslim leaders (for the most part).

by canadian gal 2009-06-04 06:08AM | 0 recs
it's a start

but the damage done over 30 years cannot be undone quickly.  And there is the problem of the current of Islamist craziness running through the Muslim world that they will have to primarily work out for themselves.

by JJE 2009-06-04 06:40AM | 0 recs
You're correct to the extent that the spillover

effect of that "craziness" does not affect other parts of the World.

by louisprandtl 2009-06-04 09:01AM | 0 recs
Re: Sorry I misposted above.

Here is JihadWatch's view of former president Jimmy Carter, a Nobel Peace Prize winner for his humanitarian efforts over the past 30 years. From the JihadWatch,

The American Dhimmi of the Year 2008...JIMMY CARTER!!

Carter, looking a bit purple and green, slithers to the podium to accept his Cringing Dhimmi statuette. His acceptance remarks are brief: "Let me just say, mah fellow Americans, that I am very proud that y'all have elected me to this third term, and in closing, Death to Israel!"

Islamophobia is only the latest form of bigotry in the United State, and it is being pumped up by disgusting blog sites such as Little Green Footballs, David Horowitz's FrontPage Magazine, and JihadWatch. Generating hate for Muslims, Arabs, and Palestinians, in particular, is their purpose.

It is inconceivable that a liberal or progressive American could quote JihadWatch seriously. Perhaps Canadians should get to know the US a little better than they do, about the problems we have had historically with invented bigotry. You can be excused but since this garbage was rec'd, the criticism is necessary.

So what planet are you living on? Toronto is not that far away from the moon.

by MainStreet 2009-06-04 02:51AM | 0 recs
Re: Sorry I misposted above.

Sorry CG. It was 5 in the morning and I didn't read you carefully. Thanks to Appleby for correcting me.

by MainStreet 2009-06-04 04:33AM | 0 recs
Re: What Planet Is He On?

That still places the US at the bottom;  number 39 out of 47 in Muslim Majority Countries [Wiki] and number 42 out of 57 in the Organization of the Islamic Conferences. Let's just admit the truth and simply say Obama misspoke.  See America and the largest Muslim countries in the world

by bernieg1 2009-06-04 07:31AM | 0 recs
if one...

fails to see how perception was yesterday and today more important as anything else....  wel then...

by canadian gal 2009-06-04 07:54AM | 0 recs
Re: What Planet Is He On?

It is conceivable that having only 2.5 Americans who follow the Muslim faith is due to biased immigration policy. That's less than one in 100 Americans, while Muslims world wide constitute about a sixth of the world population.

Anyone know anything about that?
 

by MainStreet 2009-06-04 07:59AM | 0 recs
or maybe because not many Muslims

live around here, or the Western Hemisphere?

Why do you think that fact makes our immigration "biased?"

by Lakrosse 2009-06-04 10:51AM | 0 recs
No

it has to do with why people come here and the hemisphere we're in.

The Muslim world is geographically closer to Europe and is connected to them by colonization...that is why there are more immigrants from the Muslim world going there...also because of the wealth of many parts of the Arab world, there isn't the need to immigrate.

Most of our immigration comes from Europe, Central and South America, and the Pacific Rim...these areas have the fewest Muslims in the world. In the entire Western Hemisphere, the most Muslim country percentage-wise is Suriname at 13.5%.

by DTOzone 2009-06-04 11:19AM | 0 recs
We are NOT a Muslim nation.

nor will we ever be, God willing. We do not need women being forced by law or society to cover their bodies, nor do we need gays executed or arrested simply for being themselves.

We are not a Christian or Jewish nation either. We are a SECULAR nation. Why does Obama constantly try to be all things to all people? We do not have 7 million Muslims, we have 3 at most. The 7 million figure is made up by Muslims so that there will be more Muslims than Jews in America, which is what radicals want.

by Lakrosse 2009-06-04 10:53AM | 0 recs
Re: We are NOT a Muslim nation.

rather than try to comment on thatnonsense - i have a fun fact for you...  did you know that after rome, toronto has the largest italian population in the world?

by canadian gal 2009-06-04 11:01AM | 0 recs
so is Canada an Italian nation?

I don't think so. We may have many Muslims in America, but we are not a Muslim nation.

We are a secular nation, not a Christian, Jewish, or for this matter, a Muslim nation. I'm worried that his mischaracterization of our Muslim population may show weakness for what America is today and what we stand for.

by Lakrosse 2009-06-04 11:03AM | 0 recs
Re: so is Canada an Italian nation?

obama didn't say the US was a muslim nation. he pointed out that it has a large muslim population - which it does.

perhaps there were areas in his speech today that he could have made stronger stands - ie. women. but how on earth one could come away from this speech thinking that it made the US weak in any way is baffling.

perhaps obama expressed - quite well - what americans do stand for which is tolerance, democracy and justice.

by canadian gal 2009-06-04 11:09AM | 0 recs
Re: so is Canada an Italian nation?

You're missing the point entirely, I fear.  Obama is not trying to define America according to any religion or culture.  He was making a polemical point to a Muslim audience to the effect that they under-emphasize the fact that America itself has a significant population of Muslims who are also Americans and thus that these identities are not mutually exclusive and necessarily opposed.  You may not care for how he's going about it, but his intentions are quite clear.  

Don't worry, Obama isn't forcing anyone into a burqa or to pray in a Mosque.  It helps to attend to context.

by Strummerson 2009-06-04 11:11AM | 0 recs
WTF?

How the hell did you get this from that speech? Did you not see that he pointed out that there are Muslims in America and they aren't forcing women to cover up and executing gays?

Speaking of which...you've never been to Turkey have you? They're a muslim nation...women wear shorts and there are gay bars.

by DTOzone 2009-06-04 11:22AM | 0 recs
When the moon hits your eye like a big pizza pie.

That's Toronto!!!

(done in my best Dean Martin voice!)

by WashStateBlue 2009-06-04 02:54PM | 0 recs
Who said we're a Muslim nation?

by DTOzone 2009-06-04 11:20AM | 0 recs
Re: Who said we're a Muslim nation?

Evidently, Lakrosse and his good Buddy Sean Hannity think Obama said it?  

by WashStateBlue 2009-06-04 02:53PM | 0 recs

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