Sunday 11 December 2016

Angry Obama hits back at 'Muslim' whisperers

Alex Spillius in Washington

Published 31/08/2010 | 05:00

President Barack Obama has publicly expressed his frustration with conservative opponents who have persistently questioned his Christianity and his eligibility for the office he holds.

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Mr Obama, referring to the conspiracy theory that he was born in Kenya and not Hawaii, said in a television interview: "I can't spend all of my time with my birth certificate plastered on my forehead. The facts are the facts. We went through some of this during the campaign -- there is a mechanism, a network of misinformation that in a new media era can get churned out there constantly."

The president, struggling to hide his irritation, added: "If I spend all my time chasing after that then I wouldn't get much done."

Mr Obama and his staff previously maintained a studied nonchalance about the rumours, but a recent Pew Research Centre poll showing that 18pc of Americans wrongly believed he was a Muslim -- up from 11pc in March, 2009 -- could have tested his patience.

Doubts about his faith and nationality had swirled for as long as he has been in public life, he said. "We dealt with this when I was first running for the US Senate. There were those who said I couldn't win as US senator because I had a funny name," he told NBC. "Yet, we ended up winning that Senate seat in Illinois because I trusted in the American people's capacity to get beyond all this nonsense."

So-called "birthers" have waged a campaign questioning the validity of Mr Obama's Hawaiian birth certificate in an attempt to claim he was not a natural born citizen of the United States and was therefore not qualified to occupy the White House.

It began during the 2008 presidential campaign when Mr Obama's staff released a scanned image of his birth certificate in an attempt to quash a number of conspiracy theories, including that his father was the black radical Malcolm X. That led to amateur analysts claiming the document was a fraud.

Suspicions about his birthplace overlapped with a viral email campaign claiming that Mr Obama was a Muslim, despite the fact that he is a church-going Christian who has repeatedly spoken out about his faith. The rumour is rooted in the fact that the president's late Kenyan father came from a family with Muslim members. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent

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