This story dates back to the summer of 2010 during an interview on Al Jazeera with NASA Administrator, Charles Bolden. According to the interview, Barack Obama’s foremost directive for NASA is to reach out to the Muslim world.: “…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 … and math and engineering.”
The video below is a direct link to the Al Jazeera video in which this directive was discovered. The quote appears at the 1 1/2 minute mark.
The fallout from talk radio, Fox News and conservative blogs garnered a response from Nick Shapiro, White House spokesperson. “The President has always said that he wants NASA to engage with the world’s best scientists and engineers as we work together to push the boundaries of exploration. Meeting that mandate requires NASA to partner with countries around the world like Russia and Japan, as well as collaboration with Israel and with many Muslim-majority countries. The space race began as a global competition, but, today, it is a global collaboration.”
The question remains: Why choose the directive to coddle one major world religion as the highest priority?