Barack Obama is today a practicing Christian, a member of the Trinity United Church of Christ. But, asks Daniel Pipes, was he ever a Muslim or seen by others as a Muslim? More precisely, might Muslims consider him a murtadd (apostate), that is, a Muslim who converted to another religion and, therefore, someone whose blood may be shed?
“I’ve always been a Christian,” said Obama, focusing on his own personal lack of practice of Islam as a child to deny any connection to Islam. But Muslims do not see practice as key. For them, that he was born to a line of Muslim males makes him born a Muslim. Further, all children born with an Arabic name based on the H-S-N trilateral root (Hussein, Hassan, and others) can be assumed to be Muslim, so they will understand Obama’s full name, Barack Hussein Obama, to proclaim him a born Muslim.
… Paul Watson of the Los Angeles Times reported … The childhood friends say Obama sometimes went to Friday prayers at the local mosque. “We prayed but not really seriously, just following actions done by older people in the mosque,” Zulfin Adi said. “But as kids, we loved to meet our friends and went to the mosque together and played.” … Obama’s younger sister, Maya Soetoro, said in a statement released by the campaign that the family attended the mosque only “for big communal events,” not every Friday.
Recalling Obama’s time in Indonesia, the Times account contains quotes that Obama “went to the mosque,” and that he “was Muslim.”
Summarized, available evidence suggests Obama was born a Muslim to a non-practicing Muslim father and for some years had a reasonably Muslim upbringing under the auspices of his Indonesian step-father. At some point, he converted to Christianity.
… Obama’s conversion to another faith, in short, makes him a murtadd… One must assume that some Islamists would renounce him as a murtadd and would try to execute him. Given the protective bubble surrounding an American president, though, this threat presumably would not make much difference to his carrying out his duties.
More significantly, how would more mainstream Muslims respond to him, would they be angry at what they would consider his apostasy? That reaction is a real possibility, one that could undermine his initiatives toward the Muslim world.