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The Weekly Standard Implies that Obama is a “Secret Arab Speaker”

Michael Goldfarb

Michael Goldfarb

President Barack Obama is an iconic figure that inspires heated discussion on many topics as he is not easy to pigeonhole into one category or label. One topic that has and will continue to strangely garner absurd and heated discussion is the topic of Obama and his relation to Islam and Muslims.

In a recent manifestation of such absurdity, a blog post by Michael Goldfarb on The Weekly Standard surmised that Obama’s use of the Arabic word Shukrun, which means ‘thank you,’ somehow denoted that Obama knows more about Islam than he is letting on,

Obama has said before that he speaks “barely passable Spanish” and “a smattering of Swahili,” as well as some Bahasa from his youth in Indonesia. But Obama has at other times denied speaking a foreign language, saying in July of last year, “I don’t speak a foreign language. It’s embarrassing!“…One wonders if the president hasn’t been concealing some greater fluency with the language of the Koran.

The bigotry is on live display in the above quote and Eric Boehlert at Media Matters rightfully pointed out that “Goldfarb does his best to to raise doubts about whether or not Obama secretly speaks Arabic.” Goldfarb doesn’t pause to consider that not only is Arabic the “language of the Koran” but it is also the language of millions of Christians from various denominations, many of whom sing their prayers and recite their liturgy in Arabic — i.e. no one has a monopoly over a particular language.

Goldfarb also might have missed, probably because he doesn’t speak Arabic, that Obama mispronounced the Arabic word Hijab (veil) incorrectly as Hajib during his speech in Cairo.

So continues the theater of looniness in which Obama is considered a closet Muslim and because he used an Arabic word we should now be even more suspicious of him.

The truth is that this is just another manifestation of the unconscious hatred felt by many in the right-wing for all things Islam. The hope is to secure some cheap political points by somehow tainting all percieved enemies of the right-wing with associations to Islam and Muslims — the new boogey men of America. How long will the right-wing believe they can pull this on Americans? Only fellow Americans can answer that one.

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  • tope_gudgeon

    I was thinking, when Obama mispronounced “hijab,” whether some of Goldfarb’s mind would accuse him of doing so just to throw them off.

    Some would assume Obama was being modest when he claims not to speak a foreign language. He knows that if you are not fluent, you shouldn’t claim to speak it.

  • Nusrat.K

    I haven’t commented in a while but I am glad to see that you are continuing the fine work. I have been keeping up with reading all your posts.

    This story was interesting considering Obama being in the Muslim world and giving his landmark speech, I knew there was bound to be someone like Goldfarb who would throw a hissy-fit.

    Check out this funny discussion:


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