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July 6th, 2010
10:05 AM ET

NASA administrator: Muslim outreach a top priority

Recent comments by NASA administrator Charles Bolden about Muslim outreach have become fodder for conservative bloggers and left some space buffs wondering about NASA's mission.

"When I became the NASA administrator, [President Obama] charged me with three things," Bolden said in an interview with Al-Jazeera. "One, he wanted me to help re-inspire children to want to get into science and math; he wanted me to expand our international relationships; and third, and perhaps foremost, he wanted me to find a way to reach out to the Muslim world and engage much more with dominantly Muslim nations to help them feel good about their historic contribution to science, math and engineering."

Read the full story

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Barack Obama • Islam • Politics • Science

soundoff (106 Responses)
  1. Nemesis

    Is Mr. Bolden not aware of the AUASS (The Arab Union for Astronomy and Space Sciences)? Somebody clue him in. Furthermore, how did he manage to dethrone Mr. Griffin (who held 7 engineering/science degrees, btw)?

    July 8, 2010 at 12:42 pm |
  2. Gil T

    I wonder, were early NASA participants required to meet certain religion profile requirements in order to be considered admission? As the-senator-Obama said, whose particular brand of Christianity would America follow if nothing but Christians inhabited America. Similarly, what brand of Islam do NASA candidates be required to meet?

    July 8, 2010 at 8:55 am |
  3. Conservative_NY

    Interesting comments on a hot button issue – disappointed that CNN would not cover this story in a proper way.
    It is newsworthy because it fits in with a perceived pattern of mindless political correctness which can be deadly to Americans
    (See Fort Hood shooting). But the pattern also continues to show the US as apologizing to the world, for not wanting to maintain a leadership role in the world.
    Aside from all that, the taxpayer funded purpose of NASA is certainly not for leading any international group therapy. A more honest approach by a president who clearly does not want any part of funding space exploration would be to simply shut down NASA altogether.

    July 7, 2010 at 4:05 pm |
    • BeTheCode

      Agreed, if this is what one of the space agency's top priorities should be then NASA no longer needs to exist. Rename as something more in accordance with what they are doing.

      July 7, 2010 at 6:13 pm |
  4. Autoteester

    Our 4-fathers are rolling over in their graves regarding NASA's Charles Bolden's comment on NASA and the muslims..BHObama has gotta go!! This is freakin ridiculous...beyond absurdity.. somebody please wake me up from this nightmare.. is this the twilight zone!!! Hello.. McFly...anyone in there!!!!

    July 7, 2010 at 3:54 pm |
  5. jimmy

    Why does the truth offend?

    July 7, 2010 at 2:52 pm |
  6. Jimmy

    Funny how my post that had facts about NASA was deleted and the mud slingers posts still exist. It does not surprise me, I have read the book, 1984, sad, sad, sad, think, think, think, before you speak or write.

    July 7, 2010 at 2:44 pm |
  7. NoBama

    Amen! We had eight years of Bush Bots and now we must suffer Obamanation Zombies.

    July 7, 2010 at 12:54 pm |
  8. To Luke

    Just like different civilizations independently came up with numeral systems, different individuals invented Calculus. But the current numeral system is from the Indians.

    July 7, 2010 at 12:00 pm |
    • Luke

      I corrected that mistake, meaning the development algebra, moments after posting Calculus.

      July 7, 2010 at 12:10 pm |
  9. To Luke

    Muslims are not the only ones to invent calculus – not the Calculus that is in use today anyway.

    July 7, 2010 at 11:59 am |
  10. jack7027

    Any one of the astoundingly destructive actions this administration has has taken, seemingly AGAINST the American people and our allies: thoughtless troop withdrawal dates, the racial "gaff" leading to the Crowley/Gates beer summit, his inaction for over 2 months following the gulf oil leak, the knife in the back of Poland and the Czech Republic before he had even settled into his office, astronomical spending the likes of which has never been seen by man, the broken promises of help to one of our 50(not 57 states) followed by a federal lawsuit for said state attempting to help itself, the monumentally disgraceful public criticism of the Arizona's immigration law by Obama cabinet members followed by their shameless admissions of having not even read the 16 page(PDF format) bill, the assertation that some monstrously costly and mostly rejected healthcare bill will be better AND cheaper for all American families while his biggest fan SPOT Pelosi says thers's no way to know what is in the bill until it's passed, his countless anti-American friends and acquaintances, his utterly unexplainable cabinet appointments (Kevin Jennings "Safe School Czar"???), his apologies for America's "arrogance" among other borderline acts of treason just to name a few, should be enough for most intelligent Americans to question this man and his motives. Take his record of performance as a whole and I question how America EVER let this happen.

    July 7, 2010 at 10:47 am |
    • Luke

      Hi Jack, first of all, what does that have to do with outreach by NASA? Furthermore, I tend to disagree with most of what you said. I take his record of performance as a whole and I question how America will ever find a way to thank him. Fair is fair, right?

      July 7, 2010 at 11:28 am |
    • NoBama

      My God Luke, we should thank him. You are correct! The chosen one has set us on a new course to the stars with his Muslim outreach program. They will soon be able to suicide bomb us to space.

      Your fifth column stands on the wrong side of history and the sleeping giant is waking.

      July 7, 2010 at 11:55 am |
  11. Liam

    More details of Obama's agenda. But more important is the assumption that Muslims need to be reminded that they have contributed to society. Does Obama really think that Muslims have such low self esteem that they need to hear the good they have done in the world? If you pat someone on the back are you complementing them or demeaning them?

    July 7, 2010 at 9:14 am |
  12. Steven P

    Sheesh....okay CNN let's try again.

    Reaching out to the Muslim world should not be NASA's mission.

    July 7, 2010 at 4:58 am |
  13. jersey

    michael jordan should have ignored baseball and stuck with basketball. nasa should explore space and let hilary clinton deal with diplomacy.

    July 7, 2010 at 12:28 am |
  14. fake_ear

    I find it very interesting that the Koran is more respectful to Jesus Christ than the Jewish Talmud. Yet so many so-called Christians side with Talmudic Jews and berate Islam. I, for one, do not get it.

    July 6, 2010 at 9:18 pm |
    • BeTheCode

      Hey fake_ear, I agree, I don't get it either. But also what I don't get is why this topic is in the religion blog. Aren't we discussing NASA?

      July 6, 2010 at 9:20 pm |
    • Dave

      Christians believe the Jews are the Chosen Of God. Muslims seem to want to kill them and even their scriptures teach the same

      July 7, 2010 at 1:48 am |
  15. rafi

    who i the heck was the sorry one that erase my comment

    July 6, 2010 at 9:15 pm |
    • BeTheCode

      Rafi, not sure. What was your comment?

      July 6, 2010 at 9:17 pm |
  16. BeTheCode

    BTW, Why is this blog topic in the religion category? Aren't we talking about science and math concerning this topic?

    July 6, 2010 at 8:47 pm |
    • Traci

      I was wondering the same thing myself.

      July 6, 2010 at 9:51 pm |
  17. Luke

    Ok – to dispel all of the nonsense I've been reading. I called my buddy at NASA who works on the flight team. He just Emailed me and stated, "NASA gets used as a tool of foreign policy pretty regularly. I suppose that's to be expected and most of the time I think it's pretty cool. The controversy comes from the quote coming from Charlie Bolden (my top boss below the big O) when being interviewed by Al Jazeera. He said he was given three priorities by the president when he took over and that perhaps the "foremost" priority was reaching out to Muslim countries and helping them feel they made great accomplishments in math and science. That was pretty shocking, but I think it was just meant as a tongue bath for the middle east. Certainly it's not in our congressionally approved charter. It got picked up by the media and has been used as an indication that NASA has lost its way. I find it kind of embarrassing but it doesn't really reflect anything that we are doing as far as I know. I mean, if it was really our top priority I think someone should have mentioned it to us."

    July 6, 2010 at 8:03 pm |
    • BeTheCode

      Luke, it makes no sense to defend this policy shift for NASA. No matter what spin you give it, you have to admit that NASA should not have a top priority in reaching out to Muslims. Blame the media if you want but Bolden gave the interview. I find it pretty hard to take myself but will not attempt to defend the decision as I don't really agree with it. Another agency in U.S. government given this as a top priority sure, but not NASA.

      July 6, 2010 at 8:32 pm |
  18. Ben

    Are you kidding me? When did Muslims get their own planet? This is probably the reason nasa has gone nothing in the last 20 years, they don't even know their top priority's. EXPLORE SPACE!!!!

    July 6, 2010 at 6:59 pm |
  19. Man

    Mike

    you still have not answered the questions pertaining to why? Why are we only reaching out to Muslim and not any other sect? what does hate have to do with anything. FACT is not Hate....

    July 6, 2010 at 6:51 pm |
    • peace2all

      @Man.....Please see above reply....still stands as to your further posts.....

      July 6, 2010 at 11:55 pm |
  20. mike gatner

    Racism and hate is what i see in some posts, who cares if they reached out to Muslims, Muslims developed mathematics and made huge scientific discoveries in astronomy, go and ask your math and Astronomy teacher.
    NASA has Muslim scientists working for them from a long time, they helped the US and NASA in most missions and scientific discoveries, but our small brain is set on hate to Islam, our problem is the U.S. media and haters shows tell us, we don't use our brain and look for the truth, this is stupidity and lack of brain, that's why we need scientists from other nations working for us. i guess everyone in this country is not from here, there family came from somewhere in the world. i welcome Muslims scientists, Jews scientists, and from any religion to contribute to science and not to worry about racists and haters.
    God bless America, a free America for all religions. Stop the hate against Muslims and Jews. we can all live in peace

    July 6, 2010 at 6:44 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.