Hume suggested LA Times report on Obama's alleged links to Islam contradicted Obama's previous statements

››› ››› ROB DIETZ

On Special Report, Brit Hume suggested that a Los Angeles Times article about Sen. Barack Obama's "personal background in both Christianity and Islam" as a child in Indonesia contradicted Obama's previous statements. In fact, both the claim that Obama "took Muslim religious classes in school" and the claim that he "was registered as a Muslim" in primary school were previously known, and neither contradicts what Obama has said on the issue of his religion.

During the "Political Grapevine" segment on the March 15 edition of Fox News' Special Report, host Brit Hume suggested that a March 15 Los Angeles Times article about Sen. Barack Obama's (D-IL) "personal background in both Christianity and Islam" as a child in Indonesia contradicted Obama's previous statements. From Special Report:

HUME: Barack Obama's chief spokesman has been saying since January that the Democratic presidential candidate has never been a practicing Muslim. Now the Los Angeles Times is reporting that Obama was registered as a Muslim when he attended primary school in Indonesia as a boy. The Times quotes friends and teachers as saying Obama took Muslim religious classes in school and went to prayers at a local mosque.

The Obama campaign reacted to the story this morning by reiterating its position that the senator, quote, "has never been a Muslim, was not raised a Muslim, and is a committed Christian."

But contrary to Hume's suggestion, both the claim that Obama "took Muslim religious classes in school" and the claim that he "was registered as a Muslim" in primary school were previously known, and neither contradicts what Obama has said on the issue of his religion.

In his report, Hume stated that "[t]he Times quotes friends and teachers as saying Obama took Muslim religious classes in school." But the Times article itself noted that Obama wrote about his experience in "Koranic studies" classes in "a Muslim school" in his 1995 memoir, Dreams from My Father (Crown). From the Los Angeles Times article:

In his autobiography, "Dreams From My Father," Obama briefly mentions Koranic study and describes his public school, which accepted students of all religions, as "a Muslim school."

"In the Muslim school, the teacher wrote to tell my mother that I made faces during Koranic studies," Obama wrote. "My mother wasn't overly concerned. 'Be respectful,' she'd say. In the Catholic school, when it came time to pray, I would close my eyes, then peek around the room. Nothing happened. No angels descended. Just a parched old nun and 30 brown children, muttering words."

Hume claimed that the Times article reported that Obama "registered as a Muslim when he attended primary school in Indonesia as a boy." But a January 24 Associated Press article reported that while enrolling at Fransiskus Assisis, Obama was "required" to "choose one of five state-sanctioned religions when registering -- Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, Catholic or Protestant." The article noted that "documents showed [Obama] enrolled as a Muslim, the religion of his stepfather" and that Obama spokesman Robert Gibbs "said he wasn't sure why the document had Obama listed as a Muslim." From the AP:

Obama's mother, divorced from Obama's father, married a man from Indonesia named Lolo Soetoro, and the family relocated to the country from 1967-71. At first, Obama attended the Catholic school, Fransiskus Assisis, where documents showed he enrolled as a Muslim, the religion of his stepfather.

The document required that each student choose one of five state-sanctioned religions when registering -- Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, Catholic or Protestant. Gibbs said he wasn't sure why the document had Obama listed as a Muslim.

Obama has said in speeches that his father "was Muslim but as an adult became an atheist," and he has previously described his father as "agnostic" and his stepfather as a "nonpracticing" Muslim.

The Times story was also flagged by the conservative Media Research Center's NewsBusters blog, which, in a March 15 post, described the article as a "delightful puff of Obama-gasm." The post went on to revive the thoroughly debunked January 17 InsightMag.com article, which was, and still is, trumpeted by conservatives. The InsightMag.com article claimed that "researchers connected to" Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY) disclosed that Obama "spent at least four years in a so-called Madrassa, or Muslim seminary, in Indonesia." From NewsBusters:

Today's L.A. Times delightful puff of Obama-gasm comes to us courtesy of Paul Watson, Times Staff Writer and honey-drippingly titled "As a child, Obama crossed a cultural divide in Indonesia".

What we have today from the L.A. Times is a piece gushing with how Obama must understand the needs of Christians and Muslims because he went to a Muslim Madrasa school as a child as well as a Catholic school.

From the March 15 edition of Fox News' Special Report with Brit Hume:

HUME: And now the most fascinating two minutes in television, the latest from the "Political Grapevine."

Barack Obama's chief spokesman has been saying since January that the Democratic presidential candidate has never been a practicing Muslim. Now the Los Angeles Times is reporting that Obama was registered as a Muslim when he attended primary school in Indonesia as a boy. The Times quotes friends and teachers as saying Obama took Muslim religious classes in school and went to prayers at a local mosque.

The Obama campaign reacted to the story this morning by reiterating its position that the senator, quote, "has never been a Muslim, was not raised a Muslim, and is a committed Christian."

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Fox News Channel
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Brit Hume
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Special Report with Brit Hume
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Barack Obama, 2008 Elections
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