Bob Unruh joined WND in 2006 after nearly three decades with the Associated Press, as well as several Upper Midwest newspapers, where he covered everything from legislative battles and sports to tornadoes and homicidal survivalists. He is also a photographer whose scenic work has been used commercially.More ↓Less ↑
A magazine that proudly promotes itself as Muslim has announced a special edition for Barack Obama’s inauguration as president, with Editor Nida Kahn claiming, “It’s our time.”
The publication, Elan magazine, also includes endorsements of Obama’s familiarity with Islam from the daughter of Malcolm X and Benjamin F. Chavis Muhammad, the chief of the Hip-Hop Summit Action Network, as well as others.
The magazine, which calls itself the “guide to global Muslim culture,” is distributed in the U.S., Pakistan, Indonesia, Canada, Qatar, the United Kingdom and the United Arab Emirates, as well as online.
Its cover story for the edition, “Muslim World Embraces Obama,” “explores the hopes and aspirations of Muslims regarding America’s new president.”
Editor Khan writes, “As the guide to global Muslim culture, we here at elan felt compelled to honor the 44th president of the United States via this special inauguration issue. Barack Hussein Obama not only possesses a keen understanding of the complexities of society but has demonstrated his willingness to engage in discourse and seek amicable solutions even with our opponents.”
She includes a disclaimer that she is not identifying Obama “as a Muslim.”
But she confirms her desire to celebrate and honor the next president, “who, by his very nature, experiences and principles truly does represent hope for the millions of Muslims – and non-Muslims alike – on this planet.”
In a statement released on the PR Newswire network, Khan writes of her intention to “offer an independent all-inclusive forum for Muslims.”
Chavis Muhammad writes that “with some 1.25 billion Muslims across the globe, the Islamic world couldn’t be more excited and anticipatory about the possibility of increased dialogue, understanding and unity that Obama’s presidency will undoubtedly bring.”
“As an African American Muslim, I can say my prayers were answered when Obama was elected,” Chavis Muhammad writes.
He quotes Ayann Ahmed, an entrepreneur working with hip-hop mogul Russell Simmons, saying, “I believe he will help bring about a better understanding that Islam is a religion of peace and compassion. Obama is a man of understanding of the world.”
Also cited by Chavis Muhammad is Imam El-Hagg Talib Abdur-Rashid of the Mosque of Islamic Brotherhood in New York, who says, “Obama has a job ahead of him of immense proportions. But so do we as Muslims in America.”
“Whenever there is an advance in the consciousness of people to do away with unjustified prejudices against Islam or the Muslim community, then that is cause for hope and goodwill,” Chavis Muhammad says. “With President Obama, rhetoric will translate into sustainable actions for the greater good of society.”
“Beyond his name that signifies his connection to both the African and Muslim worlds, Barack Obama has demonstrated an openness and familiarity with Islam that gives Muslims hope that we will move beyond the ‘clash of civilizations model,’” writes Zaheer Ali, a student at Columbia.
Ilyasah Shabazz, the daughter of Al Hajj Malik Shabazz, aka Malcolm X, says were her father alive today, he would “share everyone’s joy about the prospect of returning the United States to a position of credibility, respect and leadership.”
“Forty-four years after his martyrdom, he remains the most famous and recognized Muslim American, as well as a role model for men and women alike advocating for social justice,” she writes.
“Forty-four years ago, the idea of an African American as president of the most powerful nation on earth – let alone president with a name that is common among Muslims – wasn’t even imaginable. Yet in 2008, the people of the United States of America voted,” she said.
“I believe that President Obama and the citizens of the world will also come to understand that Islam is a religion of peace and unity, which in effect, are the same ideals for which my own father advocated,” she continues. ‘These ideals run contrary to those of that small minority of people who have obviously strayed away from the message of the Quran and the teachings of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) when he taught that even if you absolutely have to fight, it should be avoided at all costs as a peaceful solution is better and bloodshed is abhorred by God. That even in such a case, you should display the beauty of Islam in your conduct in battle in an honorable way by adhering to the strict laws of conflict and chivalry that have been a fundamental part of the religion since the time of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) 1400 years ago.”
Salafi jihadists follow a more radicalized version of Salafism and include such adherents as al-Qaida. The report says the movement is on the rise in the Middle East as the new Obama administration prepares to take office.
Obama already has indicated a new strategic approach for the Middle East by eliminating at the outset the pre-emption policy of the outgoing Bush administration against terrorists, the report said.
This change of policy has not been lost on Salafi jihadists who seek to rally Muslims for a global jihad as they already have done in Afghanistan, Bosnia, Chechnya, Kashmir and even the Philippines, the report said.
WND also reported earlier when Obama announced plans to deliver a major address in an Islamic capital as part of his global outreach, which he said would target the Muslim world.
“I think we’ve got a unique opportunity to reboot America’s image around the world and also in the Muslim world in particular,” Obama said in a free-ranging interview with the Chicago Tribune.
The Tribune reported Obama spoke of a major address in an Islamic capital but did not provide specific details.
“You, Obama, are among those who have pledged before Allah – Allah who created you, sustained you, and brought you to this position – to be a Muslim who believes that Allah is the one God, especially since you have some kind of roots in Islam,” declared Egyptian cleric Hassan Abu Al-Ashbal, speaking last week on the state-funded Al Nas religious television network.
“Convert to Islam, and you will be saved. All glory and honor lie in following Allah and his messenger, Muhammad. Know that the true religion is the religion of Islam, and all other religions are fabricated religions, which are null and void – religions that were abrogated by the Shariah of Muhammad,” Ashbal said.
Obama repeatedly has denied he is a Muslim. His presidential campaign website contained the statement, “Senator Obama has never been a Muslim, was not raised as a Muslim, and is a committed Christian.”
But as WND has reported, public records in Indonesia listed Obama as a Muslim during his early years, and a number of childhood friends claimed to the media Obama was once a mosque-attending Muslim.
Obama’s campaign several times wavered in response to reporters queries regarding the senator’s childhood faith.
And in Obama’s autobiography, “Dreams From My Father,” he acknowledged studying the Quran and describes the public school as “a Muslim school.”
“In the Muslim school, the teacher wrote to tell mother I made faces during Quranic studies,” wrote Obama.
In an interview with the New York Times, Obama described the Muslim call to prayer as “one of the prettiest sounds on Earth at sunset.”
The Times’ Nicholos Kristof wrote Obama recited, “with a first-class [Arabic] accent,” the opening lines of the Muslim call to prayer.
The first few lines of the call to prayer state:
Allah is Supreme!
Allah is Supreme!
Allah is Supreme! Allah is Supreme!
I witness that there is no god but Allah
I witness that there is no god but Allah
I witness that Muhammad is his prophet …
Some attention also has been paid to Obama’s paternal side of the family, including his father and his brother, Roy.
Writing in a chapter of his book describing his 1992 wedding, Obama stated: “The person who made me proudest of all was Roy. Actually, now we call him Abongo, his Luo name, for two years ago he decided to reassert his African heritage. He converted to Islam and has sworn off pork and tobacco and alcohol.”