Obama of Arabia?

Obama in Somali garb

The Barack Obama campaign is blaming Hillary Clinton’s camp for leaking this photo of him to the public in order to reinforce paranoid, stupid fears that he is a crypto-Muslim.  The picture was taken in August 2006 when Obama was visiting Wajir, a desert, largely Muslim area in northeast Kenya.  The garb was presented to him by local elders, and the politician diplomatically tried it on.  Although Izzy has written about the risks and rewards of going native sartorially (something the Manolo also noted about President Bush), surely Obama did the right thing in donning the sash and turban in the presence of his hosts.  (And it should go without saying, but that headgear is worn not only by Muslims.)  The real shame is that many politicians, wishing to avoid the possibility of such pictures being used to falsely smear them, will end up being rude when faced with similar opportunities abroad.  And it’s not exactly if Americans overseas are known for their worldliness

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