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CNN likens inauguration to 'hajj'

A special CNN report has likened attendance at President Obama’s inauguration to participation in the hajj, the pilgrimage to Islam’s holy city Mecca that Muslims are required to make at least once.

The report is on video and embedded here:

The CNN report was criticized by the FreedomsLighthouse.com blog.

“Just when you think you have heard everything from the liberal media, they best their own record for ludicrous reporting,” said the website report about the CNN video. “Here is a CNN report that actually compares the upcoming presidential inauguration to the Muslim hajj pilgrimage to Mecca! I kid you not!”

The commentary continued: “The report never mentions Obama by name, but we did not see any comparisons between President Bush’s inauguration and the hajj to Mecca. For the mainstream media, who take such pride in helping to get Barack Obama elected with their incredibly biased reporting, perhaps the inauguration of Barack Obama is a religious event, as they put their faith in the Messianic Obama they helped to create.”

The report by CNN’s Zain Verjee suggested an inauguration trip “is similar to another grand event, in both size and preparations, the hajj, the most important religious pilgrimage in the Muslim world.”

WND earlier reported on Obama’s outreach to Muslims during the inauguration.

In his inaugural speech, Obama echoed his previous declaration that the U.S. is “no
longer a Christian nation,” declaring America is a nation of many faiths that includes Muslims and

“For we know that our patchwork heritage is a strength, not a weakness. We
are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus – and nonbelievers,”
Obama stated before a crowd estimated by security officials
at more than a million.

He continued: “We are shaped by every language and culture, drawn from every
end of this Earth; and because we have tasted the bitter swill of civil war
and segregation, and emerged from that dark chapter stronger and more united,
we cannot help but believe that the old hatreds shall someday pass; that the
lines of tribe shall soon dissolve; that as the world grows smaller, our
common humanity shall reveal itself; and that America must play its role in
ushering in a new era of peace.”

Obama’s statements about an inclusive country were strikingly similar to
remarks he made twice in 2007 in which he went further and stated the U.S. is
“no longer Christian.” At that time, some took issue with his pronouncement,
fearing the declarations indicated his intention to reorient the U.S. away
from its traditional Judeo-Christian values.

The CNN report included Michael Wolfe, the author of “1001 roads to Mecca,” who said attendance is significant for any religious pilgrimage.

“They’re not going to watch it on television. They are going to be there. That’s the initial definition of a pilgrimage. Show up,” he said.

Verjee noted the millions of people at both a hajj and the inauguration. Crowds meeting in a specific city “to express a common set of beliefs and to celebrate renewal, that’s very much at the heart of pilgrimage,” the report said.

Commenters on the forum page at the Freedom’s Lighthouse site were pointed in their assessment.

“Well, CNN has been Crescent News Network for a while,” said one.

WND’s earlier report on Obama’s outreach to Muslims followed his June 2007 speech available on Youtube in which he
stated, “Whatever we once were, we’re no longer a Christian nation. At least not
just. We are also a Jewish nation, a Muslim nation, and a Buddhist nation,
and a Hindu nation, and a nation of nonbelievers.”

In that speech, Obama took aim at the “Christian Right” for
“hijacking” religion and using it to divide the nation:

“Somehow, somewhere along the way, faith stopped being used to bring us
together and started being used to drive us apart. It got hijacked. Part of it’s
because of the so-called leaders of the Christian Right, who’ve been all too
eager to exploit what divides us,” he said.

Asked last year to clarify his remarks, Obama repeated them to the Christian
Broadcast Network

“I think that the right might worry a bit more about the dangers of
sectarianism. Whatever we once were, we’re no longer just a Christian nation; we are
also a Jewish nation, a Muslim nation, a Buddhist nation, a Hindu nation, and
a nation of nonbelievers,” Obama wrote in an e-mail to CBN News senior
national correspondent David Brody.

“We should acknowledge this and realize that when we’re formulating policies
from the statehouse to the Senate floor to the White House, we’ve got to
work to translate our reasoning into values that are accessible to every one of
our citizens, not just members of our own faith community,” wrote Obama.


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