For Al Qaeda, the answer – and the implication – is clear.
The fact that Senator Obama – the son of a Muslim father – insists he was never a Muslim before becoming Christian is irrelevant to bin Laden. In bin Laden's eyes, Obama is a , the worst type of apostate, because he was blessed by Allah to be born into the true faith of Islam.
There are two types of apostates according to (Islamic law) and the (sayings of the prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him).
The first type is , one who converted to Islam and later renounced the faith. The second, and most egregious, type is . It refers to a person born of a Muslim father who renounces his birthright. Two recent examples of the latter are Magdi Allam (a male Egyptian who converted to Catholicism in Italy) and Ayaan Hirsi Ali (Somali-born woman who's now an atheist). Both now face death threats.
According to Islamic jurisprudence, children of a Muslim father – even an apparently nonpracticing one, such as Obama's father, and irrespective of the mother's faith – are automatically Muslims. Most Muslims around the world agree: A child of a Muslim father is a Muslim. Period.