Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Expat Living: "Is Obama a Muslim?"

Barack Hussein Obama
In Garb of Shinto Devotee?
(Image from Protected Source)

My most-recent Expat Living article has appeared in the Korea Herald at a most significant time, mere hours before voting begins for this year's US presidential election between John Sidney McCain III and Barack Hussein Obama II. Appropriately, therefore, I deal with this election's central issue:
Is Obama a Muslim?
The U.S. presidential elections are upon us, and the crucial, pressing question facing every American voter is this: Is Barack Hussein Obama a Muslim? To answer this thorny question, we must attempt to establish the facts.

From Obama's own remarks, we learn that in a visit to Japan, a customs official at Narita Airport stamping his visa noted the name "Obama" and said, "I'm from Obama," clearly implying that they both hailed from the same hometown. As is well known, Obama is a city located in Wakasa Province of Fukui Prefecture in Japan.

Barack Hussein Obama was himself not actually born in the city of Obama but in Honolulu, Hawaii. We know from statistics that Japanese make up the largest ethnic group residing in Hawaii -- a whopping 16.7 percent, even higher than the 16 percent native Polynesians! I therefore suggest that Obama's father, Barack Hussein Obama, Sr., belonged to the immigrant Japanese population in Hawaii. This inference is strongly supported by the equally strong possibility that the paternal surname "Obama" indicates the city of ultimate origin.

This is not an unusual phenomenon among surnames around the world. Take the surname "Scott." This is a Gaelic surname of Old Irish origin indicating that the paternal family originated in Scotland. Or consider the surname of the famous Irving Berlin, who wrote the lyrics and music to "White Christmas," one of the world's most-recorded songs -- though it cheated a bit to reach that stratospheric level, for it was sung by the ever popular Bing Crosby in two wildly popular Hollywood musicals, the 1942 film Holiday Inn and the 1954 film White Christmas.

Anyway, the surname "Berlin" implies that one's paternal family stems from the German city Berlin. Irving Berlin could thus have declared, along with President John F. Kennedy in 1963, "Ich bin ein Berliner." Not that he would have wanted to do so, for the indefinite article "ein" can suggest that the word "Berliner" refers to a jelly doughnut. Most Americans do not realize this fact, but continue to flush with pride at what they consider Kennedy's staunch support for freedom. Of course, if Kennedy had been identifying himself with the people of Hamburg or Frankfurt, Americans might instead flush with embarrassment to recall a president who referred to himself as a "Hamburger" or a "Frankfurter."

I suppose that I should mention that Irving Berlin's birth name was Israel Beilan, but on the sheet music to his first song, "Marie from Sunny Italy," his name was misprinted as "I. Berlin" -- which looks remarkably like a claim to be not merely a Berliner but the city itself! Interestingly, the surname "Beilan" was a misspelling his father's surname Baline, which implies that Irving Berlin's family actually originated from the island of Bali in the country Indonesia rather than Berlin in Germany. My point, however, remains valid, namely, that the surname "Berliner" indicates that one's paternal ancestors stemmed from Berlin.

By precisely the same logic, Barack Hussein Obama's paternal ancestors must have stemmed from the city Obama, located in Japan, as previously noted. Japan's Muslim population stands at about 60 to 70 thousand, mostly foreigners, with only some 6 to 7 thousand of these being native Japanese. Since the surname "Obama" clearly indicates that Obama's paternal family originally stems from the Japanese city of Obama, which is about five hours by train from Tokyo and has only slightly more than 30,000 inhabitants, then Barack Hussein Obama is statistically very unlikely to be Muslim.

I therefore tentatively conclude that Barack Hussein Obama is not Muslim . . . though he might be Shinto.

Jeffery is a professor at Ewha Womans University and can be reached through his blog Gypsy Scholar at gypsyscholarship.blogspot.com. The opinions expressed here are not necessarily representative of The Korea Herald. -- Ed.
Such is my conclusion, and I stand by it even though it might affect the imminent presidential election by reducing Obama's support among WWII veterans of the Pacific theater's wartime operations, for such old soldiers might still hold grudges against the Japanese.

I apologize, however, for not having sufficient time to deal with this election's other pressing question, namely, could Americans trust a man named after a foreign city not even located in the Northern -- let alone Western -- Hemisphere?! I refer, of course, to John Sidney McCain III.

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At 9:31 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Have you considered that Obama's surname might originally have been O'Bama, making him of Irish descent?

If so, he is truly of the Kennedy ilk, and it may be why Ted Kennedy endorsed Obama, and why Caroline Kennedy agreed to head up Obama's vice-presidential vetting committee.

At 11:17 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

An interesting theory, but is "Bama" a Celtic name?

If so, it raises the issue of whether or not Americans would support a Catholic for president. Might he not remain beholden to the Pope?

Jeffery Hodges

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At 12:49 PM, Blogger Hathor said...

Best explanation, yet!

At 12:59 PM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Thanks, Hathor.

Jeffery Hodges

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At 1:06 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, Obama might well be beholden to the Pope should he become President.

But Americans might find this of more comfort than if he were beholden to the General Secretary of the Association for Shinto Shrines, or to the Chief Imam of the Sunnis.

At 3:30 PM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Good point, Jeremy. Let's hope that Obama is O'Bama.

Jeffery Hodges

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At 8:21 PM, Blogger John B said...

But if he were of Irish descent, wouldn't that be ONE MORE connection to TERRORISTS!

At 8:36 PM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Damn! You're right! He is a terrorist!

Unless he's an Protestant Ulsterman . . . in which case, he's a freedom fighter.

Jeffery Hodges

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At 4:19 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You know Jeff?

There may be something to your thesis about Obama being Shinto.



At 5:11 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

JK, thanks for the link. That's amusing.

Jeffery Hodges

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