JWR Schticks and groans

Jewish World Review Nov. 29, 2001 / 14 Kislev, 5762

Allah In The Family

By Gary Rosenblatt

http://www.jewishworldreview.com -- PRESIDENT George W. Bush, a longtime born-again Christian, stunned the nation today when he revealed that he has secretly converted to Islam, insisting the decision was based on inner belief rather than international politics.

The president, wearing a long white robe and sporting a three-day beard, said he came to his spiritual awakening, not after intense meetings with Saudi and other Arab leaders, which took place through the night in the White House, but after inviting a number of Muslim clerics to dinner last week. "We were marking the holy month of, uh, Rama-lama-ding-dong," the president said. "Al be praised."

Religious experts and rock and roll aficionados later concluded the president had confused the Muslim holiday of Ramadan with an early 1960s pop novelty song, and that "Al" was not a reference to his political rival for the White House last year, but to the Muslim name for G-d.

Bush admitted he is not an expert on the teachings and rituals of Islam, and reportedly was seen this morning reading "The Infidel's Guide to Militant Islam" and "Arab Fundamentalism for Dummies." But he emphasized that he is learning, "just like my Daddy did," revealing that former President George Bush has also embraced Islam. "It's a gradual thing," George W. admitted, noting, "in my readings, I am catching up on Sunni and I am full of Shiite. And while I haven't even finished the Protocols yet, I'm already getting suspicious of a Jewish international conspiracy."

Bush said he recently has come to see "the peaceful and ecumenical qualities" of Islam. "My efforts to convince the Arab world that our struggle with international terror has nothing to do with religion is not at all related to this personal choice Laura and I have made," he stressed, "and only a hardened cynic would make that connection."

First Lady Laura Bush, covering herself in a black burka, stood by her husband and announced plans to launch a national effort to have girls and young women drop out of school and take up "more traditional female roles like cooking, cleaning and wailing."

As the First Couple headed for a helicopter to take them to their nearby vacation retreat in the woods of Maryland, the newly renamed Camp Mohammed, American Jewish leaders were already expressing support for the president.

The Conference of Presidents of Aging Machers pointed out that instant polling of the American Jewish community found the vast majority viewed the president's conversion as a positive step toward bringing an end to the Arab-Israeli conflict, and 72 percent agreed placing radical Muslim clerics as monitors between Jewish synagogues and Arab mosques in the Old City of Jerusalem was a constructive move toward peace.

A group of Stephen Cohens announced that "the president's new appreciation of Islam is certain to herald a new age of understanding, marked by the dismantling of Jewish settlements" which they believe are not only the key to the Arab-Israeli conflict but to the long-standing feud between India and Pakistan and the global warming crisis as well.

Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres praised Bush's move as constructive, saying, "there can be no deal in Mecca until you make a deal."

Indeed, the only voice of concern publicly expressed around the world was that of Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, who said he was worried by President Bush's abrupt embrace of the Muslim religion. "I take him at his word and respect his beliefs," Sharon said of the U.S. leader, "but I can't help wondering if his decision had anything to do with Washington's secret new deal with the Saudis to purchase oil for 10 cents a barrel for the next 100 years."

State Department officials expressed outrage and disgust with Sharon for his "ridiculous and even blasphemously vicious attacks on all we hold precious." The embarrassed Israeli leader later said his remarks were misconstrued, and he had merely been attempting to clear his throat.

Rushing off to a mosque for morning prayers, Secretary of State Colin Powell told reporters he, too, was considering converting to Islam, blaming Jews for "the occupation" of his time and thoughts in recent weeks. "They are the occupiers of my mind, and I am constantly reminded of this occupation," Powell acknowledged. But he emphasized that his personal thoughts and feelings would not in any way cloud his even-handed approach to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.

"Our goal is to end the violence between the oppressed and the infidels, and anyone who thinks we have a bias is simply paranoid," said a tired and irritable Powell, who told friends he had been up all night looking for peaceful passages about Jews in the Koran.

The major electronic and print news media, including CNN and NPR, did not report on Bush's conversion to Islam, or Powell's plans to follow suit, saying these were personal decisions that had no bearing on world affairs. The New York Times lead story today was on the Israeli prime minister's support for settling a series of labor strikes and his spending time on his ranch pulling weeds out of the ground.

The headline read: "Sharon Praises Settlements, Uproots Unwanted Neighbors."

JWR contributor Gary Rosenblatt is Editor and Publisher of the New York Jewish Week. Comment by clicking here.


© 2001, Gary Rosenblatt