A new Pew Center poll says nearly one-in-five Americans think Barack Obama is a Muslim. Perhaps that is because of reports like the one blared on the cover of the September 6 edition of the tabloid, The Globe, replete with photos of Mr. Obama in Muslim garb: It found "shocking proof" in a Nile TV interview given earlier this year by the Egyptian Foreign Affairs Minister, Ahmed Aboul Gheit, disclosing that "the American President told me in confidence that he is a Muslim."
A better explanation is that more Americans are taking note of the accumulating series of statements and actions by the President that display favoritism, or worse, towards Muslims. That would be troubling enough; after all, no chief executive is supposed to support one subset of us over others.
Growing numbers of our countrymen may be on to something else about the Obama presidency, however, that is even more alarming: In instance after instance, Mr. Obama has seemingly bent over backwards to accommodate not just Muslim-Americans, but a deeply problematic organization - the Muslim Brotherhood (or Ikhwan) - that purports to represent their interests here.
In fact, the Brotherhood seeks to do something most Muslims in this country - and needless to say, the rest of us - do not want: According to the organization's mission statement, it is waging "a kind of grand jihad eliminating and destroying the Western civilization from within and ‘sabotaging' its miserable house by their hands and the hands of the believers so that it is eliminated and God's religion is made victorious over all other religions."
One need not believe that the President of the United States has actually embraced this radical goal to be concerned. It is enough that he has repeatedly said and done things that conform to, or otherwise advance, the Ikhwan's agenda as articulated by the Brotherhood's myriad front organizations in the United States.
Consider the following, necessarily partial listing of actions - some symbolic, some substantive - that can legitimately be seen by the Muslim Brothers as evidence of our President's submission (the literally meaning of "Islam" and the goal of all those who, like the Ikhwan, seek to impose shariah worldwide):
* Mr. Obama declared in his inaugural address that, "The United States is a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus and non-believers." The ordering of "Muslims" before "Jews" was clearly deliberate, since the latter have been and are in the United States in far larger numbers than the former and have played a much more important role in the nation's history from its founding. Subsequently, he went even further, describing (inaccurately) America as "one of the largest Muslim countries in the world."
* In his much-ballyhooed address to "the Muslim world" delivered in Cairo in June 2009, Mr. Obama signaled his determination not only to "reach out" to followers of Islam. He also committed himself to an initiative - clearing the way for Muslims to "fulfill their zakat (tithing for charity) obligations" - that would have the practical effect of giving Brotherhood operatives (whose representatives he insisted be in the audience) more latitude to engage in material support for terrorism and, thereby, wage their "civilization jihad" in and from America.
* In September 2009, the Obama administration co-sponsored a United Nations Human Rights Council resolution eagerly sought by the Muslim Brotherhood and its friends. The resolution called on member nations to "prohibit and criminalize" speech that offends Islam and its followers. Such an accommodation would clearly violate the Constitution's First Amendment guarantees of freedom of expression.
* Speaking of the Constitution, the Obama administration is arguing in federal court that the U.S. government's ownership of AIG, which happens to be the largest purveyor of shariah-compliant insurance products in the world, does not violate the Establishment Clause's separation of church and state.
* We recently learned that, according to President Obama, the NASA Administrator's "foremost" priority is to make Muslims feel better about themselves and their history. Job 1 is not assuring U.S. supremacy in space, or even assured access to it; it's Muslim outreach and therapy.
* Then, last month, President Obama endorsed the megamosque near Ground Zero in a White House Iftar dinner attended by prominent Muslim Brotherhood operatives. Subsequent efforts to distance himself from that stance, in the face of intense criticism from the public and politicians of both parties, has only put into even sharper focus his pandering to this community.
* Now, my Center for Security Policy colleague Christine Brim has broken the story of a major new Obama initiative in that vein. In the words of the largest Muslim Brotherhood organization in the country, the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), "A phenomenal next step has been made where government Iftars become coupled with workshops to provide resources and benefit the Muslim community. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (DOA) and the [Muslim Brotherhood-associated] Coordinating Council of Muslim Organizations (CCMO) have paired the first of such events, scheduled for August 31, 2010."
The latest poll suggests that most Americans do not believe Barack Obama is a Muslim. And for the vast majority of us, it would not matter even if he were - provided he does not subscribe to the Brotherhood's creed: "God is our objective; the Koran is our law; the Prophet is our leader; jihad is our way; and death for the sake of Allah is the highest of our aspirations."
Still, the public is clearly increasingly, and rightly, concerned about Mr. Obama's policies of favoritism and submission towards the worst elements in Islam. Before tax-dollars are spent to that end, we need a national debate about such policies, and the grave dangers posed by their seeming principal beneficiary: the Muslim Brotherhood.