PHILADELPHIA – An Islamist writer for ABC News, Eboo Patel, has acknowledged his mistake in an article when he mentioned Daniel Pipes, director of the Middle East Forum.
On July 15, 2008, Patel published an article, "The New Yorker's Obama Cover: Fanning the Fire" on the ABC News website in which he falsely asserted that Mr. Pipes "nurtured" the rumor that "[Barack] Obama is secretly a Muslim."
In fact , Mr. Pipes had three times expressly stated that Obama is now no longer a Muslim:
December 24, 2007: "`If I were a Muslim I would let you know,' Barack Obama has said, and I believe him. In fact, he is a practicing Christian, a member of the Trinity United Church of Christ. He is not now a Muslim."
January 7, 2008: "if Obama once was a Muslim, he is now what Islamic law calls a murtadd (apostate), an ex-Muslim converted to another religion who must be executed."
April 29, 2008: "Obama's having been born and raised a Muslim and having left the faith to become a Christian make him neither more nor less qualified to become president of the United States."
After months of delay, Mr. Patel has finally issued a public correction on ABC's website:
Author's Note: Daniel Pipes has complained that my op-ed piece was false in asserting that he "nurtured the rumor that Barack Obama is secretly a Muslim." For the record, it is true that Mr. Pipes has stated that he accepts that Obama is now a practicing Christian. In retrospect, I should have said that Pipes has nurtured rumors that Obama practiced Islam in his youth.— Eboo Patel, Jan. 30, 2009
Mr. Pipes responded to the clarification: "It is progress for Eboo Patel to acknowledge one error – but I wonder why he persists in another one. It has been clearly established that Barack Obama was raised a Muslim, so Mr. Patel is wrong to term this a `rumor'."
ADDENDUM: Just today, Juan Cole repeats this same mistake, writing on his blog that Mr. Pipes over the past year decried "Barack Obama as a stealth Muslim and an apostate (which was it?)." Mr. Pipes never called Obama a stealth Muslim but, as documented above, always accepted that he is a practicing Christian.
For immediate release
For more information, contact Brooke Goldstein at Goldstein@MEForum.org