Barack Obama - Ties to Islam
|President Barack Obama|
|44th President of the United States|
|Assumed office: January 20, 2009|
|This article is part of a series about|
|Biography • Political Career • Controversial and Radical Associates • Radical Appointments • Ties to Islam • Presidency|
|Invovlement with: Democratic Socialists of America • New Party/Progressive Chicago • Communist Party • Committees of Correspondence • Labor Movement • ACORN & Project Vote • more...|
Barack Obama - Ties to Islam and Islamic radicals.
Obama hiding pro-Palestinian views?
- "I first met Democratic presidential hopeful Senator Barack Obama almost ten years ago when, as my representative in the Illinois state senate, he came to speak at the University of Chicago. He impressed me as progressive, intelligent and charismatic. I distinctly remember thinking 'if only a man of this calibre could become president one day.'
- On Friday Obama gave a speech to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) in Chicago. It had been much anticipated in American Jewish political circles which buzzed about his intensive efforts to woo wealthy pro-Israel campaign donors who up to now have generally leaned towards his main rival Senator Hillary Clinton.
- Reviewing the speech, Ha'aretz Washington correspondent Shmuel Rosner concluded that Obama "sounded as strong as Clinton, as supportive as Bush, as friendly as Giuliani. At least rhetorically, Obama passed any test anyone might have wanted him to pass. So, he is pro-Israel. Period."
- Israel is "our strongest ally in the region and its only established democracy," Obama said, assuring his audience that "we must preserve our total commitment to our unique defense relationship with Israel by fully funding military assistance and continuing work on the Arrow and related missile defense programs." Such advanced multi-billion dollar systems he asserted, would help Israel "deter missile attacks from as far as Tehran and as close as Gaza." As if the starved, besieged and traumatized population of Gaza are about to develop intercontinental ballistic missiles.
- Obama offered not a single word of criticism of Israel, of its relentless settlement and wall construction, of the closures that make life unlivable for millions of Palestinians."
Abunimah then went on to give, a different perspective on Obama's views and told of the Obamas dining with radical Arab academic Edward Said.
- "Over the years since I first saw Obama speak I met him about half a dozen times, often at Palestinian and Arab-American community events in Chicago including a May 1998 community fundraiser at which Edward Said was the keynote speaker. In 2000, when Obama unsuccessfully ran for Congress I heard him speak at a campaign fundraiser hosted by a University of Chicago professor. On that occasion and others Obama was forthright in his criticism of U.S. policy and his call for an even-handed approach to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.
- The last time I spoke to Obama was in the winter of 2004 at a gathering in Chicago's Hyde Park neighborhood. He was in the midst of a primary campaign to secure the Democratic nomination for the United States Senate seat he now occupies. But at that time polls showed him trailing.
- As he came in from the cold and took off his coat, I went up to greet him. He responded warmly, and volunteered, "Hey, I'm sorry I haven't said more about Palestine right now, but we are in a tough primary race. I'm hoping when things calm down I can be more up front." He referred to my activism, including columns I was contributing to the The Chicago Tribune critical of Israeli and U.S. policy, "Keep up the good work!"
- If disappointing, given his historically close relations to Palestinian-Americans, Obama's about-face is not surprising. He is merely doing what he thinks is necessary to get elected and he will continue doing it as long as it keeps him in power. Palestinian-Americans are in the same position as civil libertarians who watched with dismay as Obama voted to reauthorize the USA Patriot Act, or immigrant rights advocates who were horrified as he voted in favor of a Republican bill to authorize the construction of a 700-mile fence on the border with Mexico."
Friendship with Rashid Khalidi
In 2003, then-Illinois state Senator Barack Obama spoke at a farewell event for Rashid Khalidi who was leaving Chicago for a professor job at Columbia University in New York. Obama was a friend of Khalidi and his frequent dinner companion. He had many in-depth conversations over meals prepared by Khalidi's wife, Mona at their home in Chicago.
Khalidi also stated that while he strongly disagrees with Obama's current views on Israel, and has often disagreed with him during their talks over the years, he thinks that Obama would be more understanding of the Palestinian experience than typical American politicians due to his unusual background, with family ties to Kenya and Indonesia. He commented,
- "He has family literally all over the world. I feel a kindred spirit from that."
In 2000 Rashid Khalidi held a fundraiser for Obama's unsuccessful run for congress.
Then Presidential candidate Barack Obama met with Iraq born, Iran educated, Michigan Muslim leader Sayed Hassan AlQazwini in May 2008, reportedly arranged through Qazwini's American Rights at Work colleague and Obama Transition Team member David Bonior.
According to Michigan journalist Debbie Schlussel:
- "Imam Hassan Qazwini, head of the Islamic Center of America, said in an email that he met with Obama at Macomb Community College. A mosque spokesman, Eide Alawan, confirmed that the meeting took place. During the meeting, the two discussed the Presidential election, the Arab-Israeli conflict, and the Iraq war, according to Qazwini.
- At the end of the meeting, Qazwini said he gave Obama a copy of new book, "American Crescent," and invited Obama to visit his center.
- The meeting with Obama came about after Qazwini had asked David Bonior, the former U.S. Rep. from Michigan, if he could meet with Obama during his visit. Qazwini was not selected to be part of a group of 20 people who met with Obama, but Qazwini later got a private meeting with Obama, Alawan said.
- They gave him an opportunity for a one-on-one."