Before Muslims, Obama uses family background to urge U.S.-Islam respect

Making a political liability into an asset
Dogged by persistent but untrue rumors that he is a closet Muslim, Barack Obama’s presidential campaign carefully sidestepped questions about his Muslim ancestry. But in Cairo, Egypt, on June 4 Obama quoted the “Holy Qur’an,” greeted his audience with the customary “Assalaamu alaykum” and, when speaking of Moses, Jesus and Muhammad in the same breath, said “peace be upon them.”

What was once his greatest political liability has been retooled into his greatest asset as Barack Hussein Obama incorporated his own biography into his effort to overhaul America’s image in the Muslim world.

“I’m a Christian, but my father came from a Kenyan family that includes generations of Muslims,” Obama said in his highly anticipated appeal to the Islamic world.


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