I actually had another one teed up for this morning, but this late-breaking entry has to take precedence. In preparing to give a speech in Cairo to the “Muslim world” (as dictator Hosni Mubarak sees it, anyway), Barack Obama told French newspaper Le Monde that the US has so many Muslims, it would be one of the largest Muslim nations in the world, if we counted the US in that group:
The president said the United States and other parts of the Western world “have to educate ourselves more effectively on Islam.”
“And one of the points I want to make is, is that if you actually took the number of Muslim Americans, we’d be one of the largest Muslim countries in the world,” Mr. Obama said. “And so there’s got to be a better dialogue and a better understanding between the two peoples.”
Well, actually, we wouldn’t, as Roger Simon makes clear:
Is that the USA of the 57 states?
I guess it depends on what your definition of “one of” is. According to Wikipedia, the US ranks thirty-eighth with a Muslim population of some 4.5 million (about one and half percent of our population). Indonesia is first at over two hundred and seven million.
We can’t blame TOTUS for this math mistake. What was Obama thinking? Obviously he wanted to impress his Muslim audiences ahead of his arrival, but in an area that in ages past significantly advanced mathematics, this won’t do it. They know the difference between their own population and the number of Muslims in the US and can figure out a simple ranking system.
Wasn’t this guy supposed to be brilliant? So far, he’s the intellectual analog to Chevy Chase’s impersonation of Gerald Ford.
Update: The Right Scoop has this reaction from Fox:
When Obama was in Turkey, he had this to say, which the Huffington Post cheered:
“One of the great strengths of the United States,” the President said, “is … we have a very large Christian population — we do not consider ourselves a Christian nation or a Jewish nation or a Muslim nation. We consider ourselves a nation of citizens who are bound by ideals and a set of values.”
Maybe he should have left it at that.
Update II: The CIA Factbook puts the Muslim population of the US at around 1.8 million, not 4.5 million, as Wikipedia does. Do you think that Obama ever asked the CIA or the Census Bureau for those figures? (via QandO)
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