The New Yorker recently published a blog story by Margot S. Mifflin, an author, freelance journalist, and feminist critic and a classmate with Barack Obama, “Barry” as she knew him, at Occidental College in California. The post includes a 14-picture slide show from 1981.
Note that Mifflin’s description, which comes from the Wikipedia, makes no mention of “Barry”. It also makes no mention of Mifflin’s January 17, 2009 op-ed in the New York Times, “The Occidental Tourist.”
In her op-ed, Mifflin provides a partial explanation as to why Obama left Oxy, as it was fondly known, to transfer to Columbia University in New York City:
- The student body was international, although not nearly as racially diverse as it is now. But we were economically diverse, hailing from homes with swimming pools in wealthy Los Angeles suburbs like Brentwood, as well as from blue-collar towns in Connecticut and Massachusetts. We swam in Santa Monica, bowled in Eagle Rock, camped in Mexico, hiked in Joshua Tree National Park and skated at Venice Beach — something that Barry occasionally did with his friend Hasan Chandoo. We partied, but only after we studied. Our professors pushed us to apply for grants that took us around the globe, and worked community service into our course requirements. They wanted us to become citizens of the world.
For Barry, that meant moving on. A few months after the rally at Coons Hall, he left to finish his degree at Columbia, having decided to pursue public policy — in large part, he later said, because of his involvement in the divestment movement. His closest friends had just graduated. His activism had been ignited. And as an aspiring writer, he’d immersed himself in literature with the kind of Talmudic dedication that, I’m convinced, ultimately made him a brilliant speaker. If Occidental’s goal was to make us deep thinkers with a concern for justice and community, Barack Obama earned the degree.
Returning to the slide show, two of these pictures are of particular interest as they show a gold band on Obama’s ring finger on the left hand, a location typically reserved for an engagement or wedding ring.
In picture six, Obama is in the stacks of the “fishbowl” in the basement at Occidental library reaching for a book. The ring is on prominent display.
In the second picture, number fourteen, a seated Obama (next to friend and roommate Mohammed Hasan Chandoo) has his left hand, palm forward, raised. The ring is again clearly visible. (More on the ring below.)
Then a recent Occidental graduate, Dr. John C. Drew, who met Obama in 1980 at Oxy, has provided background on the Obama-Chandoo relationship:
- In his firsthand account, posted on AmericanThinker.com, John Drew said Obama expressed “doctrinaire” Marxist views, including the need for a new socialist U.S. government that would redistribute the nation’s wealth.
In fact, Drew noted Obama was the fiercest of the true believers among campus Marxists at Occidental College in Los Angeles and that he had to counsel him on pragmatics.
“Since I was a Marxist myself at the time and had studied variations in Marxist theory,” he said, “I can state that everything I heard Obama argue was consistent with Marxist philosophy, including the ideas that class struggle was leading to an inevitable revolution and that an elite group of revolutionaries was needed to lead the effort.”
Drew cited the date and place of their hourslong meeting along with several witnesses who were there — including Obama’s roommate, Hasan Chandoo, also described as a “committed Marxist.” Chandoo doesn’t deny the meeting but claims he cannot recall what Obama said.
He’s no fly-by-night connection. Obama stayed with his wealthy family in Karachi, Pakistan, for three weeks before transferring to Columbia University. Years later, Chandoo attended Obama’s wedding and became a major $100,000 bundler for his  presidential campaign.
Also, Newsmax.com reported:
- During Christmas  break, Drew says he was at [Caroline Boss] Grauman-Boss’ home in Palo Alto when Obama came over with Mohammed Hasan Chandoo, his roommate from Pakistan.
“Barack and Hasan showed up at the house in a BMW, and then we went to a restaurant together,” Drew says. “We had a nice meal, and then we came back to the house and smoked cigarettes and drank and argued politics.”
For the next several hours, they discussed Marxism.
“He was arguing a straightforward Marxist-Leninist class-struggle point of view, which anticipated that there would be a revolution of the working class, led by revolutionaries, who would overthrow the capitalist system and institute a new socialist government that would redistribute the wealth,” says Drew, who says he himself was then a Marxist.
“The idea was basically that wealthy people were exploiting others,” Drew says. “That this was the secret of their wealth, that they weren’t paying others enough for their work, and they were using and taking advantage of other people. He was convinced that a revolution would take place, and it would be a good thing.”
Drew concluded that Obama thought of himself as “part of an intelligent, radical vanguard that was leading the way towards this revolution and towards this new society.”
The February 2010 article continues:
- Chandoo said he doesn’t know which professors Obama was referring to in his book [Dreams From My Father]. Asked when he last saw Obama, Chandoo said he has not seen nor talked with him since before Obama became a U.S. senator [in 2004]. However, under “community member,” the White House listed Chandoo as a guest at Obama’s Ramadan dinner last fall.
When asked about that, Chandoo acknowledged from his home in Armonk, N.Y., that he attended the dinner. Despite the fact that fewer than 70 people were in attendance, Chandoo added, “I did not get a chance to see the boss.” He then said he shook hands with Obama in a receiving line.
The published guest list for the September 2009 Ramadan dinner at the White House is a Who’s Who of Muslim attendees, including Hasan Chandoo, Oppenheimer & Co. The dinner followed Obama’s August 21st “special Ramadan message to the Muslim world.”
- “Yes, Chandoo did have a girlfriend, her name was Margot Mifflin. It was kind of interesting that Chandoo had a girlfriend, Margot Mifflin, who is still in the news today, she is a professor at I think NYU. Caroline Boss had a boyfriend, me and I am in the news about Barack Obama, but there is not a single girl out there that says she was Obama’s girlfriend.”
David Remnick also wrote that Mifflin was Chandoo’s girlfriend in his 2010 book, The Bridge. Paul Kengor also talks about the Obama-Chandoo relationship in his 2012 book, The Communist, about Obama’s youthful Communist mentor, Frank Marshall Davis.
The Gold Ring: “There is no god except Allah”
There has been a steady parade of articles questioning whether or not Barack Obama is a Muslim (many of which you can read at RBO). The topic has come up a number of times in radio interviews for the three books Aaron Klein and I have written about Obama. I will state my answer here again clearly: I do not know.
However, the circumstantial evidence continues to stack up, most recently inspired by the Mifflin New Yorker post.
- As a student at Harvard Law School, then-bachelor Barack Obama’s practice of wearing a gold band on his wedding-ring finger puzzled his colleagues.
Now, newly published photographs of Obama from the 1980s show that the ring Obama wore on his wedding-ring finger as an unmarried student is the same ring Michelle Robinson put on his finger at the couple’s wedding ceremony in 1992.
Moreover, according to Arabic-language and Islamic experts, the ring Obama has been wearing for more than 30 years is adorned with the first part of the Islamic declaration of faith, the Shahada: “There is no god except Allah.” …
The Shahada is the first of the Five Pillars of Islam, expressing the two fundamental beliefs that make a person a Muslim: There is no god but Allah, and Muhammad is Allah’s prophet.
Sincere recitation of the Shahada is the sole requirement for becoming a Muslim, as it expresses a person’s rejection of all other gods.
Why would a non-Muslim wear a gold ring — “reportedly from Indonesia” — with such a significant declaration upon it for more than three decades? Also lacking is an explanation, as Corsi points out, for why Obama “wore the band on his wedding-ring finger before he married Michelle.”
Not to mention, I might add, why he wears it at all, particularly since it is not hidden away like the miniature Hindu idol, Hanuman, he carries in his pocket.
I have no substantive answers, but it all is very curious, is it not?