(WASHINGTON TIMES) Editor’s Note: In this final segment of a five-part series, Middle East and Islam specialist Daniel Pipes looks at Barack Obama’s possible religious syncretism and then draws conclusions from the information presented in this series.
While attending school in Indonesia, Barack Obama famously attended Koranic classes. Less known, as he recalled in March 2004, was his “studying the Bible and catechisms” at Santo Fransiskus Assisi Catholic school. As each of those classes was intended just for believers, attending both was irregular. Several of his former teachers there confirm President Obama’s recollection. Here are three of them on this topic:
Mr. Obama’s first-grade teacher at Assisi, Israella Dharmawan, recalled to Paul Watson of the Los Angeles Times: “At that time, Barry was also praying in a Catholic way, but Barry was Muslim. He was registered as a Muslim because his father, Lolo Soetoro, was Muslim.”
Mr. Obama’s former third-grade teacher at the Besuki public school, Pak Effendi, told Anne Barrowclough of the Times of London that the school had pupils of many faiths and recalled how students attended classes on their own faiths — except for Mr. Obama, who alone insisted on attending both Christian and Islamic classes. He did so even against the wishes of his Christian mother: “His mother did not like him learning Islam, although his father was a Muslim. Sometimes she came to the school; she was angry with the religious teacher and said, ‘Why did you teach him the Koran?’ But he kept going to the classes because he was interested in Islam.”