Tea Partiers: Obama’s a Muslim because he takes his shoes off

By Sahil Kapur
Monday, April 5, 2010 10:14 EDT
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President Obama’s most vigorous opponents have gone to great lengths to paint him as a Muslim, despite all evidence to the contrary. At a recent event, a Tea Party organizer pushed those limits even further.

“In the yellow cinder-block meeting room of the Munford, TN, municipal building, the Tipton County Tea Party convened on a recent evening to raise money for billboards, organize a tax day protest and encourage attendance at a state convention planned for Gatlinburg at the end of May,” the Washington Post reported in a recent feature story.

The 40-person-large gathering was treated by organizer Vince DiCello to jokes about House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and encouraged to raise money to help swing the November elections against Democrats.

DiCello then circulated a photograph that showed Obama with his shoes off, which WaPo reported that he deemed “evidence that the president prays with Muslims but not Christians.”

The crowd “murmured in disapproval” at the image, and one attendee yelled, “That’s because he is a Muslim.”

It’s unclear whether the president, in the picture, took his shoes off for the purpose of praying — which Muslims are required to do and Christians are not — or whether the crowd simply inferred that that’s what he was doing.

Either way, the curious belief that Obama, an avowed life-long Christian whose Kenyan father had Muslim roots, subscribes to the Islamic faith extends well beyond a small fringe. A recent Harris Interactive poll found that 57 percent of mainstream Republicans believe he is a Muslim.

After Obama’s well-received speech to the Islamic community last June in Cairo, conservative commentator Frank Gaffney concluded in a Washington Times column that “there is mounting evidence that the president not only identifies with Muslims, but actually may still be one himself.”

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