‘I, Barack Hussein Obama, Do Solemnly Swear…’

Nov 30, 2008 11:02pm

The President-elect didn’t like to be referred to as "BHO," preferring "BO," believe it or not.

Such was the sensitivity surrounding his Muslim middle name.

(You may recall our blog post "Obama Distances Self from Own Middle Initial." As far as I know, the "H" was never officially thrown under the proverbial bus.)

But the Los Angeles Times editorial board wonders if "I, George Walker Bush…" will be followed by "I, Barack Hussein Obama…"

"To capitalize on anti-Muslim sentiment," the Times recalls, "detractors took to calling him ‘Barack Hussein Obama.’ … Stripped of such evil intent, the ‘Hussein’ in Obama’s full name shouldn’t be taboo. Nor should the idea of an openly Muslim citizen deciding to seek the presidency."

The Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life last year released a poll indicating that American Muslims are "largely assimilated, happy with their lives and moderate with respect to many of the issues that have divided Muslims and Westerners around the world" and that "Muslim Americans reject Islamic extremism by larger margins than do Muslim minorities in Western European countries."

Says the Times: "The way to increase those numbers is to make clear that an American with an Islamic faith — or an Islamic name — is not a second-class citizen. When the new president takes the oath, he should say, loudly and proudly: ‘I, Barack Hussein Obama, do solemnly swear that I will faithfully execute the office of president of the United States, and will to the best of my ability preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.’"

What do you think he should do? What do you think he will do?

- jpt

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