I was watching Morning Joe today, and someone (I don't recall if it was Mika or Joe, or whom ...) was lamenting the fact that polling shows us that 39 percent of Americans (read yokels) mistakenly believe Obama attended a Muslim school in Indonesia, etc.
Jonathan Alter of Newsweek similarly mocks the notion, writing:
His stepfather sent him to a Muslim school.The only problem is that this contradicts Obama's own words ...
False. When Obama lived in Indonesia, the world's largest Muslim country, his mother and stepfather sent him for a time to a Catholic school, and for a time to an Indonesian public elementary school, where he had a class in Islamic studies (as required by the state). When CNN and other news organizations investigated whether this was a "madrassa" (religious school), the answer was a clear "no." Girls did not have to cover their heads, prayers were not required, students came from many different religious backgrounds and the school was recognizably "public."
On page 154 of "Dreams From My Father," Obama writes:
"In Indonesia, I had spent two years at a Muslim school, two years at a Catholic school. In the Muslim school, the teacher wrote to tell my mother that I made faces during the Koranic studies."And on page 204 of "The Audacity of Hope," Obama has a slightly different recollection, writing:
"During the five years that we would live with my stepfather in Indonesia, I was sent first to a neighborhood Catholic school and then to a predominantly Muslim school."
(Okay, so this time he refers to the school with the qualifier "predominantly" ... but the words "Muslim school" are Obama's -- not mine. And if the quote from "Dreams From My Father" is correct, this "predominantly" Muslim school required "Koranic studies" -- a notion that Jonathan Alter acknowledges was part of the law).
HERE'S MY POINT: If there is confusion about whether or not Obama attended a Muslim school, it does not come from ignorant people ... rather, it comes from people who actually took the time to read his books -- and believe him...
As such, you could argue that the biggest source of the Muslim rumors is Obama himself. He's the one who wrote and published the rumors -- not some right-wing cabal.
Why is this important? The liberals who are vigorously trying to "set the record straight" act as if conservatives are the ones who pulled this out of thin air in order to fool a bunch of rednecks living in places where one must cling to guns and religion.
But Obama's own book says he attended the Muslim school. So if there is confusion, I pretty much have to think that he is to blame. And along those same lines, let me also point out it was a liberal magazine -- not a conservative one -- who published the controversial cartoon cover that has been derided as offensive.
Note: It really doesn't matter whether or not Obama attended a Muslim school. What does matter is whether or not he is telling the truth. And I think it is also important to note that this rumor was not started by conservative skullduggery, but by Obama's own writings ...