A last-minute endorsement for President Obama… from former Bin Laden BFF!
Hassan al-Turabi/President Obama
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As the US elections reach their last mad dash, both candidates look for endorsements from wherever they can get them. But President Barack Obama may be a little perturbed by this latest vote of support.
Hard-line Islamist leader and former colleague of Osama Bin Laden, Hassan al-Turabi, has put in his two cents, speaking to AFP news agency this week.
Turabi said he hoped Obama would win the election, in part because of his name. ‘Mitt Romney’ is apparently meaningless in Arabic but “Barack” sounds a lot like “Baraka”, meaning ‘blessing’, according to the Sudanese leader.
“He’s gentle towards the Muslims generally,” Turabi told AFP during an interview about the upcoming elections. Despite being a devout Christian, Obama has been plagued with rumors that he is a secret follower of Islam.
The right-wing press in America has frequently cast doubt on the president’s origins, due to his upbringing in Muslim-majority Indonesia although Obama has always maintained that he is American born and bred.
However, Turabi has come a long way since his radical days in Sudan 20 years ago when he helped President Bashir to start up Sharia law. More recently he has spoken publicly about women’s rights and democratization, both subject dear to the president’s heart.
The Sudanese politician was friendly with ex-head of Al Qaeda, Osama Bin Laden, when the terrorist leader lived in Sudan during the 90s. But Turabi apparently holds no ill will towards the US president who was behind his friend’s death.
He told AFP that the late Al-Qaeda boss was misrepresented: “He’s a media image. He’s not the true bin Laden I knew here,” he said. Turabi added that he had taken the time during one of his many stints behind bars to read Obama’s book. However, despite the kind words, this may be one vote of confidence the president could do without.
What do you think about this latest endorsement? Will it harm Obama in the election race? Tell us your thoughts below.