Obama's Speech to the Muslim World

I implore everyone to watch Obama's speech. His entire speech is profound. It is moving in how it acknowledges and embraces our past, but does not use it as anchor, but rather as a fulcrum to propel us forward.

Here are my favorite quotes:

So long as our relationship is defined by our differences, we will empower those who sow hatred rather than peace.
I am convinced that in order to move forward, we must say openly to each other the things we hold in our hearts and that too often are said only behind closed doors. There must be a sustained effort to listen to each other, to learn from each other, to respect one another, and to seek common ground.
When violent extremists operate in one stretch of mountains, people are endangered across an ocean. When innocents in Bosnia and Darfur are slaughtered, that is a stain on our collective conscience. That is what it means to share this world in the 21st Century. That is the responsibility we have to one another as human beings. This is a difficult responsibility to embrace, for human history has often been a record of nations and tribes, and, yes, religions subjugating one another in pursuit of their own interests.
Despite the costs involved, America's commitment [in/to Afghanistan and Pakistan] will not weaken. Indeed, none of us should tolerate these extremists. They have killed in many countries. They have killed people of different faiths but, more than any other, they have killed Muslims. Their actions are irreconcilable with the rights of human beings, the progress of nations, and with Islam.
So America will defend itself, respectful of the sovereignty of nations and the rule of law. And we will do so in partnership with Muslim communities, which are also threatened. The sooner the extremists are isolated and unwelcome in Muslim communities, the sooner we will all be safer.
If we see [the conflict between Palestinians and Israelis] only from one side or the other, then we will be blind to the truth. The only resolution is for the aspirations of both sides to be met through two states, where Israelis and Palestinians each live in peace and security.
Palestinians must abandon violence. Resistance through violence and killing is wrong and it does not succeed. For centuries, black people in America suffered the lash of the whip as slaves and the humiliation of segregation. But it was not violence that won full and equal rights. It was a peaceful and determined insistence upon the ideals at the center of America's founding. This same story can be told by people from South Africa to South Asia, to Eastern Europe to Indonesia. It's a story with a simple truth: violence is a dead end. It is a sign neither of courage nor power to shoot rockets at sleeping children or to blow up old women on a bus. That's not how moral authority is claimed, that's how it is surrendered.
America does not presume to know what is best for everyone, just as we would not presume to pick the outcome of a peaceful election. But I do have an unyielding belief that all people yearn for certain things: the ability to speak your mind and have a say in how you are governed, confidence in the rule of law and the equal administration of justice, government that is transparent and doesn't steal from the people, the freedom to live as you choose. These are not just American ideas. They are human rights. And that is why we will support them everywhere.
We can't disguise hostility towards any religion behind the pretense of liberalism. In fact, faith should bring us together.
There is so much fear, so much mistrust that has built up over the years. But if we choose to be bound by the past, we will never move forward. All of us share this world for but a brief moment in time. The question is whether we spend that time focused on what pushes us apart or whether we commit ourselves to an effort, a sustained effort to find common ground, to focus on the future we seek for our children and to respect the dignity of all human beings.

Quotes he took from the Holy Quran:

The Quran was a touchstone in his speech which he wisely referenced and quoted frequently:

As the Holy Quran tells us, "Be conscious of God and speak always the truth."
"The Holy Quran teaches that whoever kills an innocent is as -- it is as it if has killed all mankind."
"And the Holy Quran also says whoever saves a person, it is as if he has saved all mankind."
We have the power to make the world we seek, but only if we have the courage to make a new beginning, keeping in mind what has been written. The holy Quran tells us: "Mankind, we have created you male and a female. And we have made you into nations and tribes so that you may know one another."

Quotes from and Ties to our Founding Fathers:

I also know that Islam has always been a part of America's story. The first nation to recognize my country was Morocco. In signing the Treaty of Tripoli in 1796, our second president, John Adams, wrote, "The United States has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion or tranquility of Muslims."
When the first Muslim American was recently elected to Congress, he took the oath to defend our Constitution using the same holy Quran that one of our founding fathers, Thomas Jefferson, kept in his personal library.
We can recall the words of Thomas Jefferson, who said, "I hope that our wisdom will grow with our power and teach us that the less we use our power, the greater it will be."

Read the entire speech.

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7 Comments

"When innocents in Bosnia and Darfur are slaughtered, that is a stain on our collective conscience."

What about when innocents are slaughtered in the womb? This is, indeed, what pro-Lifers have been saying for decades (or longer). Cheapen life there, you cheapen it everywhere.

Argue all you want about when life begins, but since there's currently no way to prove it, doesn't that behoove those who value it to take the safe road? Doesn't "giving the benefit of the doubt" to convenience rather than to life both stain and sear our consciences?

With all due respect - that is a non sequitur. Stop trolling.

While the speech was good, it really wasn't much different in tone or substance than many of Bush's speeches on the same subject. The difference is who is saying them not what is being said.

Walter - I think it is important for you to acknowledge that who is saying it is essential to the credibility of what is being said. For example, if Bush were to say exactly what Obama said, "I have unequivocally prohibited the use of torture by the United States" to this audience it would have cast a shadow of doubt over everything else he might also have said because he would have been lying and everyone in the world would have known it.

Finally while Bush never advocated for anything but peace in the Middle East in regards to the "substance" of his words are concerned, Bush never possessed the charisma or leadership abilities necessary to motivate people around the world to think critically about themselves, their culture and the hindrances in their own mind to peace.

Where Bush could never have succeeded, at least Obama has a chance.

"The enemy of America is not our many Muslim friends. It is not our many Arab friends. Our enemy is a radical network of terrorists and every government that supports them." - George W. Bush, September 21st, 2001

I am not sure what President Obama said that substantially differed from anything President Bush said over the last 8 years. For example:

"Women are not allowed to attend school." - Bush, 2001

"That is why the United States will partner with any Muslim-majority country to support expanded literacy for girls, and to help young women pursue employment through micro-financing that helps people live their dreams." - Obama, 2009

While concern for educational opportunities for women in Islamic countries is admirable, they both seem to be overly focused.

"With women being stoned, raped, abused, battered, mutilated, and slaughtered on a daily basis across the globe, violence that is so often perpetrated in the name of religion, the most our president can speak about is protecting their right to wear the hijab? I would have been much more heartened if the preponderance of the speech had been about how in the 21st century, we CANNOT tolerate the pervasive abuse of our mothers and sisters and daughters." - Peter Daou

I would hope that next time Obama gives a speech to the Muslim World, he would do more than be a charismatic George W. Bush.

BARR: Basically his speech, his you know joke of a speech.

MILLER: Why?

BARR: Huh? Because it’s just Bush Doc... continuing, Bush Doctine with absolutely no change at all. It’s very frightening.

MILLER: How do you figure? I thought the tone was completely different.

BARR: He said nothing.

MILLER: He said nothing?

BARR: He said absolutely nothing. No, he didn’t.

from Libtalker Roseanne Barr Denounces Obama On Leftist Radio Program

whoever doubted the charisma of president obama ever, this speech serves to answer.i practically believe that those who still can criticise him after this have their hatred deeply rooted into their hearts,that never at any single moments shall people of different faiths happen along in harmony,and these are the "crude stereotypes" obama appealed to the muslims and the west to try and mitigate.If any one believes he never appeared so much better than Bush,atleast he never got "the shoe" even when he told the muslims the utmost truths,what can be compromised and what can not.personally i believe that we all should take charge of peace,our reactions reflect our readiness to do so.so instead of the comparisons and the myths about obama's beliefs atleast we should salute him as a champion of harmony across people with divergent beliefs.iam inspired by his articulacy and charisma.go ahead obama we pray for u.

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  • whoever doubted the charisma of president obama ever, this speech serves to answer.i practically believe that those who still can criticise him after this have their hatred deeply rooted into their hearts,that never at a...

  • BARR: Basically his speech, his you know joke of a speech. MILLER: Why? BARR: Huh? Because it’s just Bush Doc... continuing, Bush Doctine with absolutely no change at all. It’s very frightening. MILLER: How do you fig...

  • "The enemy of America is not our many Muslim friends. It is not our many Arab friends. Our enemy is a radical network of terrorists and every government that supports them." - George W. Bush, September 21st, 2001 I am n...

  • Walter - I think it is important for you to acknowledge that who is saying it is essential to the credibility of what is being said. For example, if Bush were to say exactly what Obama said, "I have unequivocally prohibi...

  • While the speech was good, it really wasn't much different in tone or substance than many of Bush's speeches on the same subject. The difference is who is saying them not what is being said. ...

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