Times' Roger Cohen: Dammit! Barack Must Go to a Mosque

I have no objection to this idea.

Cohen has the kernel of an important idea in his op-ed. Obama ought indeed visit a mosque, but not on his own. He should go to an Islamic house of worship together with John McCain. The two of them should use their time in the Mosque to publicly debate their views on the role of religion in American politics.

Now there Roger Cohen is a much more lively idea than just a plain old vanilla visit...
...Yet, because he’s named Barack Hussein Obama, and because his Kenyan grandfather was a Muslim, and because his commitment to Israel has been questioned, and because the U.S. Rorschach test is Muslim-menace mired, he’s had to tread carefully.

As Andrea Elliott chronicled in an important article in The Times, Obama has visited churches and synagogues, but no mosque. He had to apologize after two Muslim women wearing head scarves were barred from appearing behind him at a recent rally in Detroit.

Obama should visit a mosque. He has repeatedly shown his courage during this campaign; Americans have responded to his intellectual honesty. One of the important things about him is the knowledge his Kenyan and Indonesian experiences have given him of Islam as lived, rather than Islam as turned into monstrous specter.

This enables him to break the monolithic, alienating view of a great world religion that is as multifaceted as Judaism or Christianity.

I’ve no doubt that Obama is a strong supporter of Israel. But what I find as important is that he would come to Islam without prejudice. That’s the precondition for dialogue, whether with Iran or between Israel and Palestine.


Anonymous said...

Prediction: Obama's team will carefully choose a mosque for him to visit. Some right-wing zealous blogger will uncover a link between the spiritual leader there and some terrorist organization (whoops, Obama's team neglected to catch that themselves.) Next, team Obama will issue some half-convincing explanation: meaning, it'll convince the pro-Obama camp, but won't convince his opponents.

John D. Enright said...

Interesting. Your post originally contained the following line:

"[W]e all know that McCain and his ilk [sic] will use any visit to a Mosque by Barack to smear him"

To that I took you to task. Instead of an apology for smearing McCain, you merely SUBSTITUTED your post without the offensive language and deleted my comment without any form of acknowledgment of what you did to the readers of this blog or to me. How about that.

I kept copies of the original and the response. Maybe I'll post them somewhere. In the meantime, here's my original comment:

"[W]e all know that McCain and his ilk [sic] will use any visit to a Mosque by Barack to smear him" Really? I like how non-judgmental you pinkos are.

First, Obama played the Race Card without any reason whatsoever. Now, you've played the Religion Card. Both of these negative lies have only one purpose - to prejudice voters against McCain. Why engage in such "negativism and tearing down?" (At least that was your complaint when Hillary said something nasty about BO.)

As for your "Muslim" comment, I guess your memory is too short to recall an incident wherein a talkshow host repeatedly used the "Hussein" name at a rally. When McCain heard about it, he immediately denounced it:

“It’s my understanding that before I came in here a person who was on the program before I spoke made some disparaging remarks about my two colleagues in the Senate, Senator Obama and Senator Clinton,” he said. “I have repeatedly stated my respect for Senator Obama and Senator Clinton, that I will treat them with respect. I will call them ‘Senator.’ We will have a respectful debate, as I have said on hundreds of occasions. I regret any comments that may have been made about these two individuals who are honorable Americans.”
See: McCain Repudiates ‘Hussein Obama’ Remarks published in the New York Times on February26, 2008.

Stop making things up. It makes people believe - with good reason - that you're a chronic liar.

Finally, referring to "McCain and his ilk [sic]" simply betrays your ignorance; since you used in in a pejorative fashion, I can tell that you're clueless what "ilk" means.

I'll tell you what it means: "of the same name." Thus, a Scots Highland Clan Chief would frequently be called either "McCain of McCain" or "McCain of that Ilk." Your simple statement "McCain and his ilk [sic]" means "McCain and his McCain," which is silly.

In addition to refraining from lying, maybe you should buy a Dictionary too.

6/26/2008 12:41 AM

Anonymous said...

Although I don't like when people call Obama "B. Hussein Obama," we can keep in mind that Obama is proud of the name:

Sometime before Barack Obama’s middle name slipped into the realm of the unmentionable, it was supposed to be a selling point of his candidacy. “Well, I think if you’ve got a guy named Barack Hussein Obama, that’s a pretty good contrast to George W. Bush,” Mr. Obama told PBS’s Tavis Smiley on October 18, 2007. “If you believe that we’ve got to heal America and we’ve got to repair our standing in the world, then I think my supporters believe that I am the messenger who can deliver that message.”

Tzvee Zahavy said...

sorry john - i hit publish rather than save and sent out a draft rather than the finished post, which i completed a few minutes later. rather than spread confusion, i deleted your post but now you have really confused the matter, so it goes in blogging. anyhow you should check out the usage of "ilk" which means in most dictionaries, "The kind or class of people that resemble, behave in a manner similar to, or are of the same social status as a certain person." I do hope you are right and that McCain and his ilk will never stoop to smear tactics. in case you are wrong...i may take the liberty to point that out on this blog.

John D. Enright said...

Ok, Rabbi, I understand. In that event, please feel free to delete my repost.

Anonymous said...

"ilk" which means in most dictionaries, "The kind or class of people that resemble, behave in a manner similar to, or are of the same social status as a certain person."

If I had to define it a bit more in line with the way the word is normally used, I'd make the following analogy:

crony:friend :: ilk:type