This morning, Fox News featured a segment highlighting a right-wing report that Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) attended an Islamic “madrassa” school as a 6-year-old child.
Fox & Friends host Steve Doocy pointed out that madrassas are “financed by Saudis” and “teach this Wahhabism which pretty much hates us,” then declared, “The big question is: was that on the curriculum back then?” Later, a caller to the show questioned whether Obama’s schooling means that “maybe he doesn’t consider terrorists the enemy.” Fox anchor Brian Kilmeade responded, “Well, we’ll see about that.”
The Fox hosts failed to correct the false claim that Obama is Muslim. One caller, referring to Obama, said, “I think a Muslim would be fine in the presidency, better than Hillary. At least you know what the Muslims are up to.” Anchor Gretchen Carlson responded, “We want to be clear, too, that this isn’t all Muslims, of course, we would only be concerned about the kind that want to blow us up.” Obama is Christian, a member of Chicago’s Trinity United Church of Christ since 1988. Watch it:
As a child, Obama spent four years in Indonesia with his step-father, a non-practicing Muslim, and his mother. Between ages 6 and 8, Obama attended a local Muslim school in Jakarta; after that, he was enrolled in a Roman Catholic school. In his book Dreams Of My Father (p.142), Obama writes:
In Indonesia, I’d spent 2 years at a Muslim school, 2 years at a Catholic school. In the Muslim school, the teacher wrote to tell mother I made faces during Koranic studies. In the Catholic school, when it came time to pray, I’d pretend to close my eyes, then peek around the room. Nothing happened. No angels descended.
In his more recent book, The Audacity of Hope, Obama writes (p.274), “Without the money to go to the international school that most expatriate children attended, I went to local Indonesian schools and ran the streets with the children of farmers, servants, tailors, and clerks.”
DOOCY: Why didn’t anybody ever mention that that man right there was raised — spent the first decade of his life, raised by his Muslim father — as a Muslim and was educated in a madrassa?
DOOCY: We should also point out that Barack Obama’s father is the one who gave him the middle name of Hussein. And the thing about the madrassa, and you know, let’s just be honest about this, in the last number of years, madrassas have been, we’ve learned a lot about them, financed by Saudis, they teach this Wahhabism which pretty much hates us. The big question is was that on the curriculum back then? Probably not, but it was a madrassa and the big question is whether or not any of these revelations about the fact that he was a Muslim — right now I understand he does go to the Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago, although not a regular parishioner — but raised as a Muslim, went to a madrassa.
DOOCY: Is it ancient history or do you think madrassa matters. [phone ringing] Josh joins us from Colorado. Good morning to you Josh.
CALLER: What’s up?
DOOCY: What do you think?
CALLER: I think that ultimately this will probably be one of the main reasons is he not elected.
DOOCY: Just the fact that his father was a Muslim, he was raised as a Muslim for awhile, and went to a madrassa school in Jakarta?
CALLER: Right. I mean, you think that would possibly give him better insight on the enemy, maybe he doesn’t consider terrorists the enemy.
KILMEADE: Well, we’ll see about that. Yeah, Josh says that.
CALLER: Hi, good morning. Yes, I think it does matter. The fact that he omitted it must mean that he feels that somebody is going to have an opinion. And President Bush certainly comes under scrutiny, so why shouldn’t he?
KILMEADE: Well, he didn’t admit it. I mean that’s the issue.
CARLSON: Well she said he didn’t.
KILMEADE: Says he didn’t come out, and I was over in Indonesia for five years, or roughly five years, went to a madrassa and there is some reports that Wahhabism was the curriculum there, which is a problem because they start with “We hate America” and work their way back from there.
DOOCY: Well, the way it was framed in one of his biographies, he said, “I was sent first,” this is in Indonesia, “to a catholic school and then to a predominantly Muslim school.” He doesn’t say, “I went to a madrassa, where they taught Wahhabism.” He simply says, “I went to a predominantly Muslim school.”
CARLSON: Alright, Jim from Alabama, what do you think?
CARLSON: What do you think?
CALLER: I think a Muslim would be fine in the presidency, better than Hillary. At least you know what the Muslims are up to. [Laughter]
CARLSON: We want to be clear, too, that this isn’t all Muslims, of course, we would only be concerned about the kind that want to blow us up.