Robert P. Imbelli May 12, 2008 - 6:39am
In today's New York Times Edward Luttwak has an op-ed piece on the significance and possible peril of Senator Obama's conversion to Christianity. He writes:
As the son of the Muslim father, Senator Obama was born a Muslim under Muslim law as it is universally understood. It makes no difference that, as Senator Obama has written, his father said he renounced his religion. Likewise, under Muslim law based on the Koran his mothers Christian background is irrelevant.Of course, as most Americans understand it, Senator Obama is not a Muslim. He chose to become a Christian, and indeed has written convincingly to explain how he arrived at his choice and how important his Christian faith is to him.His conversion, however, was a crime in Muslim eyes; it is irtidad or ridda, usually translated from the Arabic as apostasy, but with connotations of rebellion and treason. Indeed, it is the worst of all crimes that a Muslim can commit, worse than murder (which the victims family may choose to forgive).
The piece raises three questions for me:1 Does Luttwak give a fair representation of Islamic law in the matter?2. Does Obama's conversion have implications for relations with the Islamic world?3. Does Obama have a Muslim Advisory Council?
About the Author
Rev. Robert P. Imbelli, a priest of the Archdiocese of New York, is Associate Professor of Theology Emeritus at Boston College.