King Abdullah, after all, is the head of a state that is the very caricature of modern-day evil, a Sharia dictatorship that fosters religious repression, de facto slavery, subjugation of women, and, not least, the international export of jihad and Sharia through "charities," mosques, madrassas, textbooks, university endowments, Sharia finance and, of course, terrorists, some 15 of whom attacked the United States in 2001. Just last month, Abdullah elevated the delusionally hard-line interior minister Prince Nayef, who long promoted the crackpot theory that Saudis were not involved in 9/11 (it was the Jews, he said), to a direct line of succession to the Saudi throne. Abdullah himself has donated at least $1.35 million to Saudi telethons that raised $174 million for the families of Palestinian suicide bombers from Hamas and the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades. In 2007, Abdullah explicitly denounced the U.S. presence in Iraq as "illegitimate," thus encouraging attacks on Americans in !
Iraq, where, not incidentally, Saudis are thought to have carried out more suicide bombings than any other nationality.
That's just for starters. In other words, this is not a personage an American president can ever, ever show deference to without besmirching the memories and lives of the American dead and maimed.
But that's just what President Obama did (despite lame claims from the White House that Obama was just shaking hands), making this incident more than a simple gaffe.
But it's not much different from anything George W. Bush did. It's time to acknowledge the similarities between Presidents Obama and Bush regarding Islam. Barack Obama hits the word "respect" repeatedly in regard to Islam, whose Sharia law, putting it mildly, disrespects non-Muslims and women; well, so did George W. Bush. Obama insists the United States is not at war with Islam; so did Bush. Who can forget the Bush mantra of "Islam is love" that began on 9/12? Maybe these Bush echoes account for the conservative block on really zapping the Obama bow here. Or maybe this is the consensus they want to live with.
Meanwhile, Obama's Bush-like approach is depicted as something new under the Arabian sun. Akbar Ahmed, visiting chairman of Islamic Studies at the U.S. Naval Academy, calls Obama "the first president to talk about respect for the Muslim world." Ridiculous.
What's not ridiculous is Ahmed's statement calling Obama "uniquely qualified ... to really reach out and change the mood of the relationship between America and the Islamic world."
Uniquely qualified indeed. Obama is the first Muslim-born U.S. president. Could that have something to do with the deepness of the bow?