If you seek to understand Barack Obama and his views, the best place to go is his speeches. But you have to read them in their entirety, not rely on hearing them or on the media’s summary of them. When you do, you come to realize how often what Obama says is morally and intellectually confused and even untrue.
The most recent example was his speech last week at a mosque in Baltimore. In addition to reassuring Muslim Americans that they are as American as Americans of every other faith — a point that any president, Republican or Democrat, would and should make — President Obama spoke a lot of nonsense, some of it dangerous nonsense.
President Obama: “So let’s start with this fact: For more than a thousand years, people have been drawn to Islam’s message of peace. And the very word itself, ‘Islam,’ comes from ‘salam’ — peace.”
Why did Mr. Obama say this? Even Muslim websites acknowledge that “Islam” means “submission” [to Allah], that it comes from the Arabic root “aslama” meaning submission, and that “Islam” is the command form of that verb. That’s why “Muslim” means “One who submits,” not “One who is peaceful.”
Obama: “Jefferson and John Adams had their own copies of the Koran.” The primary, if not only, reason Jefferson had a copy of the Koran was to try to understand the Koran and Islam in light of what the Muslim ambassador from Tripoli had told him and John Adams.
When asked why Tripoli pirates were attacking American ships and enslaving Americans, the Muslim ambassador explained that Muslims are commanded to do so by the Koran. Jefferson wrote that the Tripoli ambassador told him that “it was written in their Koran that all nations which had not acknowledged the Prophet were sinners, whom it was the right and duty of the faithful to plunder and enslave; and that every mussulman [Muslim] who was slain in this warfare was sure to go to Paradise.” That’s why Jefferson and Adams had Korans. Given this reason, why did the president mention that Jefferson and Adams owned copies of the Koran?
Obama: “And how do we move forward together? . . . It can’t be just a burden on the Muslim community — although the Muslim community has to play a role.” Most Americans would say that the American-Muslim community has to play the role, not “a” role in preventing violent Islam from capturing the minds of American Muslims and in helping authorities identify extremist Muslims. Obama: “Second, as Americans, we have to stay true to our core values, and that includes freedom of religion for all faiths.” This is so obviously true that one wonders why the president felt it necessary to mention it. Who doesn’t believe that Muslim Americans should have the freedom to practice their faith?
Read the Remainder at National Review