At that time, you remember, Mit got all emotional—his eyes moist, his voice sacrament-meeting solemn—as he proclaimed the principle of religious freedom: “Any believer in religious freedom, any person who has knelt in prayer to the Almighty, has a friend and ally in me.” Initially, Mit tried to squirm out of the obvious inconsistency by the rather lame observation that Muslims don’t kneel in prayer, but instead lie face down on a rug, and furthermore, they pray to Allah instead of the Almighty.
This was vintage foot-in-the-mouth Mit and it just compounded the anti-mosque blunder. But then, as everyone now knows, came the bombshell: The same tea partiers who claim President Barack Obama is Osama bin Laden’s brother-in-law came forward with documents irrefutably proving that Mit Romney is not the progeny of Mormon polygamists but the direct descendant of the infamous Muslim practitioner of plural marriage, Willardi el Romadony.
At first, Mit was furious, and fired back at the tea partiers, accusing them of resorting to the Muslim charge after failing to send him packing with their anti-Mormon rhetoric. Unfortunately, some turncoat from Mit’s local ward was able to obtain incriminating DNA evidence from the paper sacrament cup Mit had sipped from the previous Sunday. Once scientists got the DNA under the microscope, they were able to identify the telltale Muslim DNA, in the shape of a minaret, on the crucial diploid allele.
Besides the DNA proof, one zealous tea party patriot was rummaging around in the glove compartment of an old Nash Rambler and found a fan letter to Muslim basketball great Hakeem Olajuwon signed by “Mitammad el Romadony.” Handwriting experts quickly determined that the signature was that of the young Mitt Romney [In a downsizing move last year, Mit dropped the superfluous “t” in his first name.]
What followed was a flurry of chat-show speculation: How was el Romadony able to conceal his identity for such a long period of time? Were family and friends aware of his Muslim heritage? Was there perhaps some silver lining in the revelation, to the extent that voters might be more favorably disposed to support a Muslim than a Mormon?
As to whether family and friends were in on the secret, I was called upon by Fox News to opine on Mitammad’s Muslim roots. I was obliged to report that other than my mission companion’s propensity for prostrating himself five times a day in an eastward orientation—which I took to be a yoga pose—I knew of no Muslim tendencies. (I did, however, think it prudent to stay mum on our weekly visits to hookah lounges in Paris’s 16th arrondissement, and anyway, enjoyment of water pipes is not an exclusively Muslim activity, nor is imbibing of strong Turkish coffee, which we found invaluable in keeping up both our energy and spirits.)
I knew that my old missionary companion would be calling me, as he has always done when he finds himself in the soup. Sure enough, Sunday night, just after I returned home from sacrament meeting, the phone rang and Mit’s name appeared on the caller ID.
“Assalamu Aleikom,” he said, wishing that peace be upon me.
“Wa Aleikom Assalam,” I replied, returning the favor.
After getting caught up with regard to families, friends and French movies, Mitammad and I discussed his current plight and how best to extricate himself from it. My old missionary companion has a tendency to get a little hysterical, and even a bit paranoid, so I did my best to calm the waters.
“At least you don’t have to worry about the Mormon thing anymore,” I said.
“You’ve got a point,” he said. “It’s not such a great shift, anyway.” Mitammad paused, and I could sense he was trying to be positive.
“Don’t let this get out,” he said in a whisper. “These robes are really comfortable.” C