“Osama bin Laden must be chuckling in his safe house,” wrote Shireen Burki in the Christian Science Monitor May 19.
“The 2008 campaign could very well give Al Qaeda the ultimate propaganda tool: President Barack Hussein Obama, Muslim apostate. The fact that Sen. Obama — son of a Muslim father — insists he was never a Muslim before becoming Christian is irrelevant to bin Laden. In bin Laden’s eyes, Obama is a murtad fitri, the worst type of apostate, because he was blessed by Allah to be born into the true faith of Islam.
“Should Obama become U.S. commander-in-chief, there is a strong likelihood that Al Qaeda’s media arm, As-Sahab, will exploit his background to argue that an apostate is leading the global war on terror (read: attacks against fellow Muslims). This perception would be leveraged to galvanize sympathizers into action.
“Al Qaeda, though, has struggled recently to recruit volunteers for this jihad. While bin Laden retains significant support as someone willing to stand up for Muslim concerns, most Muslims abhor Al Qaeda’s terrorist methods, whose primary targets are innocent noncombatants.
“But an apostate as head of the United States could change this equation. It would be a propaganda boost for Al Qaeda’s mission. All one has to do is read Al Qaeda’s public statements to recognize how frequently it makes baseless apostasy accusations against fellow Muslims who challenge its mes- sage or actions.
“That’s why Obama is Laden’s dream candidate.”
Ms. Burki, incidentally, is a political scientist at the University of Mary Washington and the daughter of a Muslim father and a Christian mother. She spent her childhood in Pakistan.