CHARLOTTE, N.C., April 14, 2014 — Whenever President Obama says, “Let me be perfectly clear,” it is a signal to run as fast as you can in the opposite direction.
It is time to be clearer about what “being perfectly clear” really means.
In Islam there is a doctrine, primarily held by Sunni Muslims, known as taqiyya. Sunnis derive their name from the word sunna which means “example.” The sunnah is regarded as the normative way of life for Muslims based upon the teachings and examples of the Prophet Muhammad.
Taqiyya, like most concepts in Islam, is considerably more complicated than this simple definition, but the basic premise is enough.
Beyond taqiyya however, there is a corollary known as tawriya which, though lesser known, is perhaps a more dangerous doctrine than its bigger brother. As the prolific Middle Eastern writer Raymond Ibrahim points out, tawriya “allows Muslims to lie in virtually all circumstances provided that the lie is articulated in a way that it is technically true” (emphasis added). In other words, the doctrine of tawriya means that you can say something that means one thing to the listener, but is purposely vague to mean something else to the speaker.
Conspiracy theorists scoff at the idea that Obama would employ such a tactic, but the evidence says otherwise. Like the birther issue, the idea that the president is a Muslim is typically rejected as Obama-bashing perpetuated by the president’s fiercest opponents.
However, it is undeniable that the first third of Obama’s life was heavily influenced by Islamic teachings. Certainly the concepts of both taqiyya and tawriya were an integral part of that upbringing. In fact, during his first presidential campaign, the Islamic aspect of the president’s life was considered one of his strengths to deal with the complexities of the Middle East. Surprisingly, the arena of foreign policy has proven to be one of his greatest weaknesses.
Using simple examples by Raymond Ibrahim, it is not difficult to get the gist of how tawriya works. Writes Ibrahim, “if someone declares ‘I don’t have a penny in my pocket,’ most listeners will assume the speaker has no money on him — though he might have dollar bills, just literally no pennies. This is legitimate according to Islamic law … and does not constitute ‘lying.’”
In another example, Ibrahim explains that “it is permissible for a Muslim even to swear when lying through tawriya. Munajid, for example, cites a man who swears to Allah that he can only sleep under a roof; when the man is caught sleeping atop a roof, he exonerates himself by saying ‘by roof, I meant the open sky.’ This is legitimate. ‘After all,’ Munajid adds, ‘Qur’an 21:32 refers to the sky as a roof.’”
Transpose those examples into the phrase, “If you like your plan, you can keep your plan.” In that case, Obama was obviously misleading, yet when he was called down on it he simply used the familiar “that’s-my-story-and-I’m-sticking-to-it defense” which has been commonplace throughout his tenure.
A better example of tawyira would be Obama’s “hope and change” campaign philosophy. Though the words themselves are vague, there was no doubt about what the positive promises implied in Obama’s guarantee to “fundamentally change” America. Indeed he has done just that, only not in the manner that most Americans interpreted those words. It represented tawyira in its purest sense, because Obama knew exactly what he meant when he uttered those words.
Some people would just label it as politics as usual. In Obama’s case it is more sinister and devious than that. Omitting clarifying information while touting other facts and figures have become a hallmark of his presidency.
If it is true that more than seven million people signed up for Obamacare, it is not true that that many have paid for it. Television analysts have been pointing that out since the end of March when the president was taking his victory laps.
Since then Obama has been blaming Republicans for wanting to deny Americans healthcare which is also not true, but being “perfectly clear,” he can justify it through tawyira.
As for global applications, Iran is using the same process in its negotiations with us over nuclear weapons. Either Obama is being beaten by his own game or, more likely, he understands the situation and is doing nothing about it. Either way spells danger for the West.
The Pied Piper is leading his rats off the edge of a cliff, and the time has come for Americans to pay the piper because of it.
“Let’s be perfectly clear.” When Obama uses that phrase, it’s a pretty good bet that tawriya is lurking in the shadows.
Bob Taylor has been traveling the world for more than 30 years as a writer and award winning television producer focusing on international events, people and cultures around the globe. Taylor is founder of The Magellan Travel Club (www.MagellanTravelClub.com).
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