President Obama's November trip to India probably won't include a visit to Amritsar and its Golden Temple, the spiritual center of the Sikh religion, reportedly because of a dispute over headgear. According to temple officials, the White House advance team decided against a visit because the photos of Obama in the required headscarf would feed the conspiracy theories that he is a secret Muslim, even though Sikhs aren't Muslims. (The White House says Obama's schedule is still in flux.) What does this say about Obama — and Americans? (Watch a report about the cancellation)
This is the wrong way to handle the Muslim smears: Obama should visit the Golden Temple, and wear the damn headscarf, says Andrew Sullivan in The Atlantic. The only way to beat the "liars, bigots, and charlatans" at Fox News and the GOP is to "stare down" their conspiratorial Muslim "propaganda" and "never let them see you afraid."
"Cover your head, Mr. President"
White House fears aren't unfounded: It doesn't matter that Obama is a Christian, and that Sikhs aren't even Muslims, says Brett Michael Dykes at Yahoo News. Given "Americans' ignorance" about Sikhs, a photo of Obama wearing a turban in "an eastern land" would go viral — remember the Obama-in-Muslim-garb picture that spread like wildfire in 2008? — and give fodder to the "Internet conspiracy-mongering" about Obama's faith.
"White House cancels Obama trip to Sikh temple..."
Obama's flubbing the policy and politics: A snapshot of Obama "in some vaguely Muslim-looking head-covering at the top of the Drudge Report" would be distracting, says Joshua Keating at Foreign Policy, but avoiding the Golden Temple isn't "really doing Obama any favors." It wouldn't sway the "worrisome" number of Americans who think he's a "stealth jihadist," and it's "disappointing" to his admirers — and any American who wears a turban.
"White House gets tied up in turbans"