WASHINGTON - Illinois Senator and Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama has been targeted in a recent smear campaign which claims that he is a fundamentalist Muslim working for al-Qaeda in an effort to topple the US government.
An inflammatory mass e-mail that is circulating in the United States and Israel lays out the anonymous author's version of Obama's background.
One of the target audiences in the campaign is clearly the American Jewish community because the e-mail has also been sent out in Hebrew.
The writer attempts to portray Obama as an al-Qaeda stooge rhetorically asking: "So who is Barack Obama?"
He answers that, Obama's stepfather, Lolo Soetoro, introduced him to Islam by registering him at a Wahhabi Muslim school or madrassa in Jakarta, Indonesia.
The writer goes on to say that "Obama's political handlers are attempting to make it appear that that he is not a radical...since it is politically expedient to be a Christian when seeking major public office in the United States. Barack Hussein Obama has joined the United Church of Christ in an attempt to downplay his Muslim background."
The e-mail accuses Obama of trying to getting elected to the presidency in order to be able to destroy the US "from the inside out."
This is not the first attempt to sully the US presidential candidate's name. When he began his presidential campaign, some accused him of trying to conceal his background and the fact this middle name is Hussein.
The Anti-Defamation League checked out the slanderous e-mail's accusations and responded to the correspondence in a statement: "A widely circulated e-mail suggests that US Senator Barack Obama attended a fundamentalist Muslim religious school, known as a "madrassa," as a child living in Indonesia, and that his childhood education was steeped in radical Islam.
"In fact, from ages 6 through 10, he attended a public school in Indonesia with both Muslim and non-Muslim students.
"Senator Obama is not a Muslim; he is a Christian who attends the United Church of Christ," the statement read.
Lester Crown, a Jewish-American billionaire, fired off an e-mail response to the smear campaign in which he stated that he had "confidence that Senator Barack Obama's stellar record on Israel gives me great comfort that, as president, he will be the friend to Israel that we all want to see in the White House – stalwart in his defense of Israel's security, and committed to helping Israel achieve peace with its neighbors."
In addition, the Israel Policy Forum, an organization dedicated to mobilizing American Jews in support of sustained US diplomatic efforts in the Middle East, issued a statement which read that: "It’s hard to imagine that anyone would believe that life-long churchgoer Obama is a Muslim or that a guy with a pro-Israel record is a secret agent of terrorists."