Obama To Skip Indian Temple; Aides Fear Muslim-ish Images

Golden Temple

Golden Temple, Amritsar, India. Prabhjot Gill/AP Photo hide caption

toggle caption Prabhjot Gill/AP Photo

President Obama's aides have reportedly decided that during a planned trip to India in early November, the president will skip visiting a famous Sikh religious site, the Golden Temple in Amritsar, because he'd have to wear a head covering resembling what Muslim men wear.

The New York Times reported that White House officials are loathe to have photos and videos of the president wearing such headgear because they would play into the "Obama is a Muslim" myth.

The last thing the president's political team wants to see are such images cropping up during Obama's 2012 re-election bid.

Obama's aides clearly don't want a repeat of the experience of the 2008 campaign when a photo of then candidate Obama wearing traditional tribal Kenyan garb, including a turban, during a 2006 visit to Africa, were leaked by someone in Hillary Clinton's campaign.

According to the report, a baseball cap won't work because it would be deemed inappropriate in the temple, especially if it were a Texas Rangers cap. (Sorry, this bitter Yankees fan couldn't resist.)

Why not just pop a fedora on and be done with it? some might ask. The NYT has an answer for that, too.

... Sikh scriptures require that men tie a piece of cloth on their heads, not simply put on a hat that can be easily taken off, because the act of tying has spiritual significance. Most non-Sikh visitors tie on kerchiefs sold by vendors outside the temple.

The temple authorities really aren't making it easy, are they? Here's an modest proposal: Maybe Obama could wear a head wrap or specially made presidential do-rag.

Not just any head-wrap but one of those American flag numbers. It would make a much bigger statement than those flag pins he broke down and started wearing during the campaign after he received flak for not wearing one.

Just a thought.



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