The New York Times had an interesting piece the other day. Edward Luttwak, writing in their op-ed section, brought up something that had only been brushed upon before: is Senator Barack Hussein Obama an apostate in the eyes of many of the world’s Muslims?
Going by a strict interpretation of Muslim law, the answer is inescapable: yes.
And under Muslim law, Luttwak notes, apostasy is quite possibly the greatest sin and crime. The prescribed penalties are the most extreme offered by Muslim law: death, in a truly brutal fashion. Beheading is the normal means, but stoning and hanging have been offered as alternatives.
How does Barack Hussein Obama qualify as an apostate under Muslim law? By the same sort of laws that Jews use to determine whether someone is a Jew — but where Israel uses those laws to determine access to the benefits of Judaism, and leaves their exercising of said rights up to the individual in question, Muslim law considers it an obligation to which the individual has no right to reject.
Barack Hussein Obama (nee Jr.) is the son of a man who was a Muslim. Therefore, he was Muslim from birth. That his father had, during his lifetime, rejected Islam, and the fact that Senator Obama has either never been a practicing Muslim or rejected it decades ago is irrelevant. He is, by birth, a Muslim, and can not escape that status in this lifetime. He must accept that, or pay the price — and the price is death.
So, what does that state to Senator Barack Hussein Obama’s presidential ambitions? How relevant is it that a good-sized chunk of the Islamic world will see him as the worst type of offender against their faith, the sort of man for whom literally hanging is too good for?
To my way of thinking, not one damned thing.
Senator Barack Hussein Obama is not a Muslim, as we civilized folk see it. He has never publicly embraced that faith. Indeed, just the opposite — he has been a practicing Christian for decades (as attested to his recent troubles, thanks to his long-time association with a Christian pastor). The people pushing the “Hussein is a secret Muslim” canard need to be confronted and beaten down with the truth at every opportunity. There are numerous valid reasons to oppose the presidential ambitions of Senator Obama (I have about a dozen of my own); we don’t need to stoop to that level of fraud to make our case.
But the question of Obama’s apostate status is something we should consider quite seriously — in ways that actually have very little to do with him.
This principle that is being espoused here is a crucial part of fundamental Islam: that once a person or a thing is “of Islam,” it is forever of Islam, and can not be taken away or traded or bartered or surrendered or reformed or sold or conquered or converted, be it land or people.
I’ve been wracking my brain for a good metaphor for this aspect of Islam, and I’ve got several “almost” candidates. When I list items in the categories of “once you get them, you can’t ever get rid of them,” certain things come to mind: AIDS. Herpes. General Motors vehicles with diesel engines from the late 70’s. Loss of virginity. Aging.
All of those things are negative, and life-changing. The first three are universally negative, while the other two can be two-edged swords., blessings or curses. I tried to come up with some sort of permanent mark that is unabashedly positive, but I was stumped. “Immunities” came up, but we’re finding all sorts of maladies that are proving resistant to treatments and vaccines all the time.
This is the unspoken deep, dark secret of militant Islam that no one likes to talk about. It is an ideological equivalent of the most malignant and incurable forms of cancer, one that once it takes root, cannot be excised. It is, as I have said before, a “Roach Motel” — once you check in, you can never check out. Or, if you prefer, a “Hotel California” — you can “check out” (i. e., die) any time you like, but you can never leave.
Fortunately, there are signs of sanity — at least among American Muslims (as opposed to Muslims living in America — an important distinction.) One mosque in Pennsylvania has refused to host the funeral and grave of one Muslim who murdered a police officer, saying that “we don’t want one slight scintilla hinting that we condone his behavior.”
An incredibly small step, but one that is potentially revolutionary.
The message that we need to send is not to reject Senator Obama as our president out of fear of the radical Islamists’ laws. Nor, for that matter, should we deliberately elect him in spit of them. We should simply say that their beliefs are utterly irrelevant to us (and the rest of the civilized world) and refuse to give them any credibility whatsoever. Let them rail and howl and threaten all they like; we will choose our president based on our laws and our traditions and our mores and our beliefs, and there’s not a damned thing they can do about that.
And if they insist, then we can show them just how a “civilized” society can wage war back at them when we are properly provoked. Hell, we could even get the Enola Gay out of its museum and use it to deliver the same message once again.
For should it come down to a confrontation between militant Islam and the West, I’ll put my money on us. We’ve seen too many times just how much of an “irresistible force” Western culture and technology can be (just look at the global nature of Big Macs and Coke for relatively benign examples), and the most radical elements of Islam are hardly an “immovable object.”
What I do fear, though, is the price we — as humanity — will eventually have to pay to drive this particular lesson home once again.