Monday, May 11, 2009

Obama's speech to the Muslim world

President Obama already has received many suggestions for his speech to the Muslim world from Cairo, Egypt. (Thanks to CNS News.)

-- Egypt's prestigious Al-Azhar University wants him to make his speech there;

-- The Arab League wants him to explain his Mideast policy;

-- The Organization of the Islamic Conference, which represents 57 Muslim governments, told Obama earlier this year that he needs to provide an 'urgent and just remedy' for the Palestinian issue;

-- Tony Blair, former UK prime minister and now special Mideast envoy, expects 'a new framework' for peace efforts to be released by the United States in the coming weeks;

-- U.S. human rights organizations, including the U.S. Commission for International Religious Freedom, an independent panel advising Congress and the administration, probably want Obama to say something about the “serious problems of discrimination, intolerance, and other human rights violations against members of religious minorities, as well as nonconforming Muslims, [which] remain widespread in Egypt.”

-- Meanwhile, the State Department probably doesn't know what it wants. Its latest report on human rights says the Egyptian government’s “respect for human rights remained poor, and serious abuses continued in many areas” during 2008. But White House spokesman Robert Gibbs called Egypt “a country that in many ways represents the heart of the Arab world.”

I expect that Obama will miss a historic opportunity: he will focus on the Mideast crisis and ignore the broader issue of democracy and human rights in the Muslim world. He will not/not urge the Muslim world to stop sacrificing its future on the altar of Mideast conflict. It's a nutty policy; as CNS News points out:

"Although often conflated, the Arab and Islamic worlds are very different. There are more than 50 Islamic-majority states, only 22 of which are Arab states; only around 15 percent of the world’s Muslims are Arabs. The most populous Islamic countries are in Asia – Indonesia, Pakistan and Bangladesh. The Muslim minority in India, a majority Hindu state, is more than twice as big as the entire population of Egypt."

Please tell me why Muslims in Pakistan, Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, the Philippines, Malaysia and elsewhere will in any way benefit if the Palestinian Islamists prevail over Israel. Or why that would be in the U.S. national interest.

I also wonder if Obama or his staff realize that the doctoral thesis written by the head of Al-Azhar University is an antisemitic diatribe. Or, if they do, would they care?

No comments: