Letter to President Obama May 30, 2008
Senator Barack Obama
A Question of his Middle Name and Faith:
Analysis and Comment
By Mohammad Hassan Said M.D., Ph. D., D.P.H.
This analysis was sent to major news outlets nationally in May, 2008
As the campaign of the Democratic Party contuse in a heated debate, I will shed some light on Obama’s name and faith. I am almost 70 years old-young. I have practiced medicine for 31 years in the United States, of which 2 of them have been in Washington State, and I continue to practice in Ephrata, a small town in the Columbia Basin, in the Eastern part of the State. I, like many young Americans, have been greatly inspired by Senator Barack Obama.
I watched an hour long documentary on PBS on February7th, 2008, just two days before the Democratic State Caucuses, called “A Prince Among Slaves,” regarding an African black man who was a Muslim Prince from Timbuktu, Mali. This Prince, named Abdul Rahman Ibrahima, was captured and sold to a European trader in exchange for guns, two bottles of rum, and eight hands of tobacco. Prince Ibrahima ended up as a slave in Mississippi, where he married Isabelle, a Christian, and fathered many children. In 1828, he was able to collect enough money to free his wife and himself. As he needed more money to free his children, he met with President John Quincy Adams, at the White House, to request help obtaining freedom for his children. However, the President and Secretary of State refused to help Prince Ibrahima, as they had no relations to Mali. As the documentary concluded, showing Prince Ibrahima sailing with his wife to Liberia, where he died of Malaria shortly after arriving, I could not contain my tears as he died without his children. I thought about the history of the U.S., and how much this country has come along, as now an African-American is occupying the White House, just as John Quincy Adams once did. I prayed, O’Lord, help Obama redeem that dark history of slavery and heal and unite our nation, and restore the United States of America’s bright image throughout the world, as it had been severely damaged in the last seven years by the Bush Administration.
As a Palestinian American of Arabic descent, with Islamic faith, I disagree with Obama on many issues dealing with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, as I feel that to resolve this conflict once and for all, we must create a one State not based on religion, where Jews, Muslims, and Christians can live in a country much like we do in the United States of America, under one flag and one Constitution, with a one person-one vote policy. If there is any hope for any peace and resolution to this conflict, it will be Obama who will lead, with passion and forceful effort, and he will bring our troops back from Iraq, which was a total disaster. That unfair invasion was engineered by the New Conservatives, a Zionist group whose objective was to destroy Iraq, as it posed a threat to Israel, and had nothing to do with the United States. The oil factor was only a secondary object, to help finance this invasion, and take further control. The war on Iraq is very well detailed on my website. In spite of this disagreement, I felt deeply committed to Barack Obama, and to demonstrate this commitment, I closed my practice for three weeks, from February 6, 2008 to March 5, 2008, in order to campaign for him in Texas, as a volunteer. I spent thousands of dollars, out of my own pocket, campaigning among the Muslims, Arabs, Hindus, etc., and writing an important letter in the most widespread Arabic Newspaper in the State of Texas, meeting many of their leaders. Most importantly, I did an extensive campaign among Latinos, particularly along the Rio Grande Valley, as I am Spanish speaking. While in Dallas, Texas, I was interviewed by Bob Greene, from channel 8 of ABC, which was impressive, as I was told by those who watched it.
I believe that all my efforts put forth campaigning, at the best of my ability, was worth every minute of my time and every dollar I spent. When Obama’s field organizer notified me he was arriving on February 29, 2008, at Brownsville near the Gulf of Mexico, I was less than half an hour away. I had to really struggle with the urge to go and shake his hand and tell him what a great job he was doing. My heart kept saying I should, but my mind made me object, because I was concerned that my name, background, and faith could be used against Obama by some narrow minded individuals of the Press, as they would think that I was part of his campaign or an advisor or any other excuse that could be invented by them. Thus my mind prevailed and I chose not to go meet him.
As for his middle name, which is Husseim, it is true that it is an Arabic name which is very popular as it is the name of the grandson of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), who was killed in Karbala, Iraq, by a military commander sent by a corrupt monarch from Damascus 1400 years ago. Husseim is considered the most revered among the Shiites who are ruler of Iran and Iraq at the present time. His mother, Fatima, is the beloved daughter of the Prophet, who was the only member of his family to survive him, though she died six months after his death. Fatima is a common name among Muslims, and the Christian Catholics of Portugal, Brazil, and Mexico, as, according to legend, the Virgin Mary appeared to two Portuguese Sheppard’s’ in the early last century, in a place in Portugal called Fatima, which was ruled by Muslims in the Middle Ages. A famous television host in San Pablo, Brazil, is named Fatima. She is Jewish, and her husband, Roberto Merino, is a Jewish owner of the Conglomerate Globo Rede News. However, what struck me was no one raised a question about Obama’s first name, Barack, which is an Arabic name meaning “Blessing.” It is also a Hebrew name, as is the name of the current Israeli Minister of Defense and former Prime Minister of Israel, Ehud Barack, who came many times to the United States and was received at the White House when President Clinton tried to negotiate a peace between Israeli Minister of Defense Ehud Barack and the late chairman Yasser Arafat in 2000. Maybe, somehow, the news media does not want people to know that the Arabic language and the Hebrew language are sisters, and coming from the common Semitic language, both have many names in common. It is also of interest that the feminine version of Barack, in Arabic, is Baracka, who was a slave from Ethiopia, sold in Mecca to the Prophet’s father, who died when the Prophet was not yet born, and passed said slave to the Prophet’s mother. His mother died when he was six years old, and the servant Baracka continued to take care of him until he married at the age of 25. Even though he freed Baracka, she chose to remain at his side; he still continued to address her as mother and always paid great reverence to her. As far as Obama’s faith, and being myself a practicing Muslim and Scholar of Islamic Affairs, I can say with due respect that Obama is not Muslim. The bedrock of Islamic faith is to believe in one God, the only Creator, and that Jesus Christ (peace be upon him) was not God, nor son of God, but was a prophet, the Spirit of God, who was born from the Virgin Mary (peace be upon her) as a miracle without a father, just like Adam who was created without parents. Jesus Christ was not killed or crucified but appeared to them when Almighty God lifted him to heaven, according to the Holy Qur’an. A Muslim, also, is supposed to pray five times a day, facing Ka’Bah in Mecca, towards the house of God, which was built by the Patriarch Abraham and his son Ishmael about 4,000 years ago. A Muslim also is supposed to fast and practice so many other rituals. It is true that Obama’s father was a Muslim from Kenya and that, in Islamic tradition, the children follow the father; the opposite happens in Jewish faith, where the children follow the mother. Senator Obama apparently was raised by his maternal grandmother as a Christian. In this aspect, he is therefore a Christian, and not a hereditary Muslim. However, Obama’s name will be of great asset, helping to reach the Arab Nations of 22 countries, with over 350 million people, and to the Muslim work of 1.5 billion, with 55 countries for good international relations based on respect and cooperation in trade, commerce, and other business, as they are being intensely courted by China, who is competing with the United States to be number one on the world stage. I strongly believe Obama will be able to do this because of his personality and openness. Thus, he will be able to help those countries to contain some individuals, a tiny extremist group who uses religion for political reasons to act violently against civilians and other innocent people in violation of the teachings of the Holy Qur’an. I strongly believe Obama’s term will be eight years, with enough time to lead our nation in the right direction, with peace and prosperity. We American-Muslims are part of this Mosaic society, and what is good for America is good for us.
Dr. Mohammad Hassan Said M.D.
An Obama Supporter