According to ME: Obama's speech

"President Obama's speech is divided into a number of sections. He starts by urging greater mutual understanding between the United States and Islam. He then considers seven issues that have to be, in his view, confronted.

"These are violent extremism, the Israeli/Palestinian dispute, nuclear weapons (with a reference to Iran), democracy, religious freedom, rights of women and economic development. He finishes with a flourish about the future."

"The key phrase here and of the whole speech is a new beginning, with mutual interest and mutual trust added for good effect. In this opening section, the president seeks the common ground - he will leave differences until afterwards.

"He quotes from the Koran (Be conscious of God and always speak the truth) before he quotes from the Bible and the Torah as a way of flattering his audience.

"But he also uses the authority of the quotation to justify being quite blunt in places. But first, this part is about creating a sense of shared experiences.

"Right at the top he refers to 9/11 and violent extremists (no mention of al-Qaeda by name - that would accord it respect) among a small but potent minority of Muslims. He wants to break this cycle of suspicion.

"The president's own family connections to Islam stand him in good stead here as he tries to build rapport, but he is careful also to state that he is a Christian, having been subject to comments at home about his background. He does not want that debate restarted.

"He emphasises the peaceful characteristics of Islam, with a romantic allusion to Muslims in Chicago finding dignity and peace in their Muslim faith.

He then reaches into history to recall the achievements of Islamic countries in the development of learning - navigation and algebra among them - and to tie Islam and America together by bringing in revered figures from early US history - John Adams and Thomas Jefferson.

But he carefully introduces the idea that Muslims also thrive in modern America - Muslims have enriched America - an important theme of the speech.

"Here he begins to get tougher, using the phrase negative stereotypes, with the important principle that while there should not be stereotyping of Muslims by Amercians Muslims do not fit a crude stereotype, nor should there be stereotyping of Americans by Muslims - America is not the crude stereotype of a self-interested empire.

"The speech is designed to break down negative perceptions on both sides. And he notes that seven million Muslims in the US enjoy a higher than average standard of living.

"He points out that US government supports the right of Muslim women to wear the hijab. He sums up Islam is a part of America.

"Now he begins to get tough. Having created goodwill and stated his aims, he tackles the first of the issues that we must finally confront together.

The first issue is violent extremism, by which he means Osama bin Laden, al-Qaeda, the Taliban and sympathisers.

He seeks to separate the extremists who claim to speak in Islam's name from the ordinary people of all faiths, who reject the killing of innocent men, women and children.

"Repeating his line from his earlier speech in Turkey - America is not and never will be at war with Islam - he tackles the problem of the war in Afghanistan, trying to explain why the US went in after 9/11.

"He stresses al-Qaeda's responsibility for 9/11, thereby rejecting claims widely circulating in the Muslim world that it was the US government itself that carried out the attacks in some way: Let us be clear: al-Qaeda killed 3,000 people on that day.

"He states that the US does not want to keep its troops in Afghanistan, offering a reassurance that there is no long-term plan of occupation. But he also stresses that America's commitment will not weaken.

He urges Muslims to reject extremists. None of us should tolerate these extremists. He is getting into the nitty gritty.

"Iraq - a big issue. He does not criticise his predecessor President Bush but does say that this was a war of choice (meaning it was not his choice) while trying to put a gloss on the results in that the Iraqi people are ultimately better off.

"He lays down his own foreign policy approach by contrast: diplomacy and international consensus. This is really the heart of his philosophy on foreign affairs - a switch from interventionism to a more detached but determined effort at persuasion.

"He is careful to repeat his commitment to the withdrawal of US troops from Iraq. The message is - whatever happened in the past might have been bad, but the future will be better.

"He reminds his audience that he is also closing Guantanamo Bay, which has done untold damage to the US reputation across the Muslim world.

"But that dual message - you must do your bit as well as us - is also there when he says that extremists should be isolated and unwelcome in Muslim communities.

"Now comes one of the core issues - the Israeli/Palestinian dispute. Remember that the President has previously signalled his intention to revive peace talks and that he has distanced himself from the Israeli settlement policy, calling for an absolute freeze.

First, however, he has to reaffirm US support for Israel. He does not want expectations of differences to get out of hand: This bond is unbreakable.

And in a passage designed to refute Holocaust deniers, of whom there are quite a few in the Muslim world, he dwells for a time on reasserting the truth: Six million Jews were killed… denying that fact is baseless, ignorant and hateful. It could hardly be stronger.

But he has to balance support for Israel by support for the Palestinians - and a Palestinian state. He does this very clearly, emphasising how the Palestinian people have suffered in pursuit of a homeland and are under occupation with daily humiliations in a situation that is intolerable. He says America will not turn its back on the Palestinians.

"Here he gets into the detail of how a settlement might be reached.

"It is not new - very little in the Middle East 'peace process' is new. The President seeks to reaffirm the two-state solution - a swipe at those on each side who reject this, or perhaps, like the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who are equivocal.

"The aspiration of both peoples must be met through two states, he says. It is interesting how even-handed he is in his vision.

"He sticks by the currently little-read 'roadmap', an international plan drawn up but not followed up.

"Both sides have responsibilities - Palestinians must abandon violence and Israelis must acknowledge Palestine and its right to exist.

"He repeats his opposition to continued Israeli settlements and states firmly: It is time for these settlements to stop.

He ends quite a long section by calling on Arab states to help and he finishes by making the expected reference in such speeches - calling for peace for all of the children of Abraham.

"This is the final flourish. President Obama lets rip a bit with his rhetoric - Choose the right path, not just the easy path. He repeats this key phrase new beginning and echoes the references to the need for change that brought him to power: We have the power to make the world we seek, but only if we have the courage to make a new beginning…

"He lays out what he hopes will be the results of his policies - "a world where extremists no longer threaten our people" and American troops have come home, where Israelis and Palestinians are each secure in a state of their own and where nuclear energy is used for peaceful purposes. (This last phrase is a reference to Iran).

And he ends by quoting from the Koran, the Talmud and The Bible.

President Obama: Egypt speech

Here is analysis report of this speech according to me.
"I am honored to be in the timeless city of Cairo, and to be

hosted by two remarkable institutions. For over a thousand years,
Al-Azhar has stood as a beacon of Islamic learning, and for over a
century, Cairo University has been a source of Egypt's advancement.
Together, you represent the harmony between tradition and progress.
I am grateful for your hospitality, and the hospitality of the
people of Egypt. I am also proud to carry with me the goodwill of
the American people, and a greeting of peace from Muslim communities
in my country: assalaamu alaykum.

We meet at a time of tension between the United States and
Muslims around the world - tension rooted in historical forces that
go beyond any current policy debate. The relationship between Islam
and the West includes centuries of co-existence and cooperation, but
also conflict and religious wars. More recently, tension has been
fed by colonialism that denied rights and opportunities to many
Muslims, and a Cold War in which Muslim-majority countries were too
often treated as proxies without regard to their own aspirations.
Moreover, the sweeping change brought by modernity and globalization
led many Muslims to view the West as hostile to the traditions of

Violent extremists have exploited these tensions in a small but
potent minority of Muslims. The attacks of September 11th, 2001 and
the continued efforts of these extremists to engage in violence
against civilians has led some in my country to view Islam as
inevitably hostile not only to America and Western countries, but
also to human rights. This has bred more fear and mistrust.

So long as our relationship is defined by our differences, we
will empower those who sow hatred rather than peace, and who promote
conflict rather than the cooperation that can help all of our people
achieve justice and prosperity. This cycle of suspicion and discord
must end.

I have come here to seek a new beginning between the United
States and Muslims around the world; one based upon mutual interest
and mutual respect; and one based upon the truth that America and
Islam are not exclusive, and need not be in competition. Instead,
they overlap, and share common principles principles of justice and
progress; tolerance and the dignity of all human beings.

I do so recognizing that change cannot happen overnight. No
single speech can eradicate years of mistrust, nor can I answer in
the time that I have all the complex questions that brought us to
this point. But I am convinced that in order to move forward, we
must say openly 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. As the Holy Koran tells us, "Be
conscious of God and speak always the truth." That is what I will
try to do -- to speak the truth as best I can, humbled by the task
before us, and firm in my belief that the interests we share as
human beings are far more powerful than the forces that drive us

Part of this conviction is rooted in my own experience. I am a
Christian, but my father came from a Kenyan family that includes
generations of Muslims. As a boy, I spent several years in Indonesia
and heard the call of the azaan at the break of dawn and the fall of
dusk. As a young man, I worked in Chicago communities where many
found dignity and peace in their Muslim faith.

As a student of history, I also know civilization's debt to
Islam. It was Islam -- at places like Al-Azhar University -- that
carried the light of learning through so many centuries, paving the
way for Europe's Renaissance and Enlightenment. It was innovation in
Muslim communities that developed the order of algebra; our magnetic
compass and tools of navigation; our mastery of pens and printing;
our understanding of how disease spreads and how it can be healed.
Islamic culture has given us majestic arches and soaring spires;
timeless poetry and cherished music; elegant calligraphy and places
of peaceful contemplation. And throughout history, Islam has
demonstrated through words and deeds the possibilities of religious
tolerance and racial equality.

I know, too, 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." And since our
founding, American Muslims have enriched the United States. They
have fought in our wars, served in government, stood for civil
rights, started businesses, taught at our Universities, excelled in
our sports arenas, won Nobel Prizes, built our tallest building, and
lit the Olympic Torch. And when the first Muslim-American was
recently elected to Congress, he took the oath to defend our
Constitution using the same Holy Koran that one of our Founding
Fathers -- Thomas Jefferson -- kept in his personal library.

So I have known Islam on three continents before coming to the
region where it was first revealed. That experience guides my
conviction that partnership between America and Islam must be based
on what Islam is, not what it isn't. And I consider it part of my
responsibility as President of the United States to fight against
negative stereotypes of Islam wherever they appear.

But that same principle must apply to Muslim perceptions of
America. Just as Muslims do not fit a crude stereotype, America is
not the crude stereotype of a self-interested empire. The United
States has been one of the greatest sources of progress that the
world has ever known. We were born out of revolution against an
empire. We were founded upon the ideal that all are created equal,
and we have shed blood and struggled for centuries to give meaning
to those words -- within our borders, and around the world. We are
shaped by every culture, drawn from every end of the Earth, and
dedicated to a simple concept: E pluribus unum: "Out of many, one."

Much has been made of the fact that an African-American with the
name Barack Hussein Obama could be elected President. But my
personal story is not so unique. The dream of opportunity for all
people has not come true for everyone in America, but its promise
exists for all who come to our shores -- that includes nearly seven
million American Muslims in our country today who enjoy incomes and
education that are higher than average.

Moreover, freedom in America is indivisible from the freedom to
practice one's religion. That is why there is a mosque in every
state of our union, and over 1,200 mosques within our borders. That
is why the U.S. government has gone to court to protect the right of
women and girls to wear the hijab, and to punish those who would
deny it.

So let there be no doubt: Islam is a part of America. And I
believe that America holds within her the truth that regardless of
race, religion, or station in life, all of us share common
aspirations -- to live in peace and security; to get an education
and to work with dignity; to love our families, our communities, and
our God. These things we share. This is the hope of all humanity.

Of course, recognizing our common humanity is only the beginning
of our task. Words alone cannot meet the needs of our people. These
needs will be met only if we act boldly in the years ahead; and if
we understand that the challenges we face are shared, and our
failure to meet them will hurt us all.

For we have learned from recent experience that when a financial
system weakens in one country, prosperity is hurt everywhere. When a
new flu infects one human being, all are at risk. When one nation
pursues a nuclear weapon, the risk of nuclear attack rises for all
nations. When violent extremists operate in one stretch of
mountains, people are endangered across an ocean. And 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 subjugating one
another to serve their own interests. Yet in this new age, such
attitudes are self-defeating. Given our interdependence, any world
order that elevates one nation or group of people over another will
inevitably fail. So whatever we think of the past, we must not be
prisoners of it. Our problems must be dealt with through
partnership; progress must be shared.

That does not mean we should ignore sources of tension. Indeed,
it suggests the opposite: we must face these tensions squarely. And
so in that spirit, let me speak as clearly and plainly as I can
about some specific issues that I believe we must finally confront

"The first issue that we have to confront is violent extremism
in all of its forms.

In Ankara, I made clear that America is not -- and never will be
-- at war with Islam. We will, however, relentlessly confront
violent extremists who pose a grave threat to our security. Because
we reject the same thing that people of all faiths reject: the
killing of innocent men, women, and children. And it is my first
duty as President to protect the American people.

The situation in Afghanistan demonstrates America's goals, and
our need to work together. Over seven years ago, the United States
pursued al Qaeda and the Taliban with broad international support.
We did not go by choice, we went because of necessity. I am aware
that some question or justify the events of 9/11. But let us be
clear: al Qaeda killed nearly 3,000 people on that day. The victims
were innocent men, women and children from America and many other
nations who had done nothing to harm anybody. And yet Al Qaeda chose
to ruthlessly murder these people, claimed credit for the attack,
and even now states their determination to kill on a massive scale.
They have affiliates in many countries and are trying to expand
their reach. These are not opinions to be debated; these are facts
to be dealt with.

Make no mistake: we do not want to keep our troops in
Afghanistan. We seek no military bases there. It is agonizing for
America to lose our young men and women. It is costly and
politically difficult to continue this conflict. We would gladly
bring every single one of our troops home if we could be confident
that there were not violent extremists in Afghanistan and Pakistan
determined to kill as many Americans as they possibly can. But that
is not yet the case.

That's why we're partnering with a coalition of forty-six
countries. And despite the costs involved, America's commitment will
not weaken. Indeed, none of us should tolerate these extremists.
They have killed in many countries. They have killed people of
different faiths -- 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. The Holy Koran teaches that
whoever kills an innocent, it is as if he has killed all mankind;
and whoever saves a person, it is as if he has saved all mankind.
The enduring faith of over a billion people is so much bigger than
the narrow hatred of a few. Islam is not part of the problem in
combating violent extremism -- it is an important part of promoting

We also know that military power alone is not going to solve the
problems in Afghanistan and Pakistan. That is why we plan to invest
$1.5 billion each year over the next five years to partner with
Pakistanis to build schools and hospitals, roads and businesses, and
hundreds of millions to help those who have been displaced. And that
is why we are providing more than $2.8 billion to help Afghans
develop their economy and deliver services that people depend upon.

Let me also address the issue of Iraq. Unlike Afghanistan, Iraq
was a war of choice that provoked strong differences in my country
and around the world. Although I believe that the Iraqi people are
ultimately better off without the tyranny of Saddam Hussein, I also
believe that events in Iraq have reminded America of the need to use
diplomacy and build international consensus to resolve our problems
whenever possible. Indeed, 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."

Today, America has a dual responsibility: to help Iraq forge a
better future -- and to leave Iraq to Iraqis. I have made it clear
to the Iraqi people that we pursue no bases, and no claim on their
territory or resources. Iraq's sovereignty is its own. That is why I
ordered the removal of our combat brigades by next August. That is
why we will honor our agreement with Iraq's democratically-elected
government to remove combat troops from Iraqi cities by July, and to
remove all our troops from Iraq by 2012. We will help Iraq train its
Security Forces and develop its economy. But we will support a
secure and united Iraq as a partner, and never as a patron.

And finally, just as America can never tolerate violence by
extremists, we must never alter our principles. 9/11 was an enormous
trauma to our country. The fear and anger that it provoked was
understandable, but in some cases, it led us to act contrary to our
ideals. We are taking concrete actions to change course. I have
unequivocally prohibited the use of torture by the United States,
and I have ordered the prison at Guantanamo Bay closed by early next

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.

The second major source of tension that we need to discuss is
the situation between Israelis, Palestinians and the Arab world.

America's strong bonds with Israel are well known. This bond is
unbreakable. It is based upon cultural and historical ties, and the
recognition that the aspiration for a Jewish homeland is rooted in a
tragic history that cannot be denied.

Around the world, the Jewish people were persecuted for
centuries, and anti-Semitism in Europe culminated in an
unprecedented Holocaust. Tomorrow, I will visit Buchenwald, which
was part of a network of camps where Jews were enslaved, tortured,
shot and gassed to death by the Third Reich. Six million Jews were
killed -- more than the entire Jewish population of Israel today.
Denying that fact is baseless, ignorant, and hateful. Threatening
Israel with destruction -- or repeating vile stereotypes about Jews
-- is deeply wrong, and only serves to evoke in the minds of
Israelis this most painful of memories while preventing the peace
that the people of this region deserve.

On the other hand, it is also undeniable that the Palestinian
people -- Muslims and Christians -- have suffered in pursuit of a
homeland. For more than sixty years they have endured the pain of
dislocation. Many wait in refugee camps in the West Bank, Gaza, and
neighboring lands for a life of peace and security that they have
never been able to lead. They endure the daily humiliations -- large
and small -- that come with occupation. So let there be no doubt:
the situation for the Palestinian people is intolerable. America
will not turn our backs on the legitimate Palestinian aspiration for
dignity, opportunity, and a state of their own.

For decades, there has been a stalemate: two peoples with
legitimate aspirations, each with a painful history that makes
compromise elusive. It is easy to point fingers -- for Palestinians
to point to the displacement brought by Israel's founding, and for
Israelis to point to the constant hostility and attacks throughout
its history from within its borders as well as beyond. But if we see
this conflict 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.

That is in Israel's interest, Palestine's interest, America's
interest, and the world's interest. That is why I intend to
personally pursue this outcome with all the patience that the task
requires. The obligations that the parties have agreed to under the
Road Map are clear. For peace to come, it is time for them -- and
all of us -- to live up to our responsibilities.

Palestinians must abandon violence. Resistance through violence
and killing is wrong and 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; from Eastern
Europe to Indonesia. It's a story with a simple truth: that violence
is a dead end. It is a sign of neither courage nor power to shoot
rockets at sleeping children, or to blow up old women on a bus. That
is not how moral authority is claimed; that is how it is

Now is the time for Palestinians to focus on what they can
build. The Palestinian Authority must develop its capacity to
govern, with institutions that serve the needs of its people. Hamas
does have support among some Palestinians, but they also have
responsibilities. To play a role in fulfilling Palestinian
aspirations, and to unify the Palestinian people, Hamas must put an
end to violence, recognize past agreements, and recognize Israel's
right to exist.

At the same time, Israelis must acknowledge that just as
Israel's right to exist cannot be denied, neither can Palestine's.
The United States does not accept the legitimacy of continued
Israeli settlements. This construction violates previous agreements
and undermines efforts to achieve peace. It is time for these
settlements to stop.

Israel must also live up to its obligations to ensure that
Palestinians can live, and work, and develop their society. And just
as it devastates Palestinian families, the continuing humanitarian
crisis in Gaza does not serve Israel's security; neither does the
continuing lack of opportunity in the West Bank. Progress in the
daily lives of the Palestinian people must be part of a road to
peace, and Israel must take concrete steps to enable such progress.

Finally, the Arab States must recognize that the Arab Peace
Initiative was an important beginning, but not the end of their
responsibilities. The Arab-Israeli conflict should no longer be used
to distract the people of Arab nations from other problems. Instead,
it must be a cause for action to help the Palestinian people develop
the institutions that will sustain their state; to recognize
Israel's legitimacy; and to choose progress over a self-defeating
focus on the past.

America will align our policies with those who pursue peace, and
say in public what we say in private to Israelis and Palestinians
and Arabs. We cannot impose peace. But privately, many Muslims
recognize that Israel will not go away. Likewise, many Israelis
recognize the need for a Palestinian state. It is time for us to act
on what everyone knows to be true.

Too many tears have flowed. Too much blood has been shed. All of
us have a responsibility to work for the day when the mothers of
Israelis and Palestinians can see their children grow up without
fear; when the Holy Land of three great faiths is the place of peace
that God intended it to be; when Jerusalem is a secure and lasting
home for Jews and Christians and Muslims, and a place for all of the
children of Abraham to mingle peacefully together as in the story of
Isra, when Moses, Jesus, and Mohammed (peace be upon them) joined in

"The third source of tension is our shared interest in the
rights and responsibilities of nations on nuclear weapons.

This issue has been a source of tension between the United
States and the Islamic Republic of Iran. For many years, Iran has
defined itself in part by its opposition to my country, and there is
indeed a tumultuous history between us. In the middle of the Cold
War, the United States played a role in the overthrow of a
democratically-elected Iranian government. Since the Islamic
Revolution, Iran has played a role in acts of hostage-taking and
violence against U.S. troops and civilians. This history is well
known. Rather than remain trapped in the past, I have made it clear
to Iran's leaders and people that my country is prepared to move
forward. The question, now, is not what Iran is against, but rather
what future it wants to build.

It will be hard to overcome decades of mistrust, but we will
proceed with courage, rectitude and resolve. There will be many
issues to discuss between our two countries, and we are willing to
move forward without preconditions on the basis of mutual respect.
But it is clear to all concerned that when it comes to nuclear
weapons, we have reached a decisive point. This is not simply about
America's interests. It is about preventing a nuclear arms race in
the Middle East that could lead this region and the world down a
hugely dangerous path.

I understand those who protest that some countries have weapons
that others do not. No single nation should pick and choose which
nations hold nuclear weapons. That is why I strongly reaffirmed
America's commitment to seek a world in which no nations hold
nuclear weapons. And any nation -- including Iran -- should have the
right to access peaceful nuclear power if it complies with its
responsibilities under the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. That
commitment is at the core of the Treaty, and it must be kept for all
who fully abide by it. And I am hopeful that all countries in the
region can share in this goal.

The fourth issue that I will address is democracy.

I know there has been controversy about the promotion of
democracy in recent years, and much of this controversy is connected
to the war in Iraq. So let me be clear: no system of government can
or should be imposed upon one nation by any other.

That does not lessen my commitment, however, to governments that
reflect the will of the people. Each nation gives life to this
principle in its own way, grounded in the traditions of its own
people. 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.
Those are not just American ideas, they are human rights, and that
is why we will support them everywhere.

There is no straight line to realize this promise. But this much
is clear: governments that protect these rights are ultimately more
stable, successful and secure. Suppressing ideas never succeeds in
making them go away. America respects the right of all peaceful and
law-abiding voices to be heard around the world, even if we disagree
with them. And we will welcome all elected, peaceful governments --
provided they govern with respect for all their people.

This last point is important because there are some who advocate
for democracy only when they are out of power; once in power, they
are ruthless in suppressing the rights of others. No matter where it
takes hold, government of the people and by the people sets a single
standard for all who hold power: you must maintain your power
through consent, not coercion; you must respect the rights of
minorities, and participate with a spirit of tolerance and
compromise; you must place the interests of your people and the
legitimate workings of the political process above your party.
Without these ingredients, elections alone do not make true

The fifth issue that we must address together is religious

Islam has a proud tradition of tolerance. We see it in the
history of Andalusia and Cordoba during the Inquisition. I saw it
firsthand as a child in Indonesia, where devout Christians worshiped
freely in an overwhelmingly Muslim country. That is the spirit we
need today. People in every country should be free to choose and
live their faith based upon the persuasion of the mind, heart, and
soul. This tolerance is essential for religion to thrive, but it is
being challenged in many different ways.

Among some Muslims, there is a disturbing tendency to measure
one's own faith by the rejection of another's. The richness of
religious diversity must be upheld -- whether it is for Maronites in
Lebanon or the Copts in Egypt. And fault lines must be closed among
Muslims as well, as the divisions between Sunni and Shia have led to
tragic violence, particularly in Iraq.

Freedom of religion is central to the ability of peoples to live
together. We must always examine the ways in which we protect it.
For instance, in the United States, rules on charitable giving have
made it harder for Muslims to fulfill their religious obligation.
That is why I am committed to working with American Muslims to
ensure that they can fulfill zakat.

Likewise, it is important for Western countries to avoid
impeding Muslim citizens from practicing religion as they see fit --
for instance, by dictating what clothes a Muslim woman should wear.
We cannot disguise hostility towards any religion behind the
pretence of liberalism.

Indeed, faith should bring us together. That is why we are
forging service projects in America that bring together Christians,
Muslims, and Jews. That is why we welcome efforts like Saudi Arabian
King Abdullah's Interfaith dialogue and Turkey's leadership in the
Alliance of Civilizations. Around the world, we can turn dialogue
into Interfaith service, so bridges between peoples lead to action
--whether it is combating malaria in Africa, or providing relief
after a natural disaster.

The sixth issue that I want to address is women's rights.

I know there is debate about this issue. I reject the view of
some in the West that a woman who chooses to cover her hair is
somehow less equal, but I do believe that a woman who is denied an
education is denied equality. And it is no coincidence that
countries where women are well-educated are far more likely to be

Now let me be clear: issues of women's equality are by no means
simply an issue for Islam. In Turkey, Pakistan, Bangladesh and
Indonesia, we have seen Muslim-majority countries elect a woman to
lead. Meanwhile, the struggle for women's equality continues in many
aspects of American life, and in countries around the world.

Our daughters can contribute just as much to society as our
sons, and our common prosperity will be advanced by allowing all
humanity -- men and women -- to reach their full potential. I do not
believe that women must make the same choices as men in order to be
equal, and I respect those women who choose to live their lives in
traditional roles. But it should be their choice. 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

Finally, I want to discuss economic development and

I know that for many, the face of globalization is
contradictory. The Internet and television can bring knowledge and
information, but also offensive sexuality and mindless violence.
Trade can bring new wealth and opportunities, but also huge
disruptions and changing communities. In all nations -- including my
own -- this change can bring fear. Fear that because of modernity we
will lose of control over our economic choices, our politics, and
most importantly our identities -- those things we most cherish
about our communities, our families, our traditions, and our faith.

But I also know that human progress cannot be denied. There need
not be contradiction between development and tradition. Countries
like Japan and South Korea grew their economies while maintaining
distinct cultures. The same is true for the astonishing progress
within Muslim-majority countries from Kuala Lumpur to Dubai. In
ancient times and in our times, Muslim communities have been at the
forefront of innovation and education.

This is important because no development strategy can be based
only upon what comes out of the ground, nor can it be sustained
while young people are out of work. Many Gulf States have enjoyed
great wealth as a consequence of oil, and some are beginning to
focus it on broader development. But all of us must recognize that
education and innovation will be the currency of the 21st century,
and in too many Muslim communities there remains underinvestment in
these areas. I am emphasizing such investments within my country.
And while America in the past has focused on oil and gas in this
part of the world, we now seek a broader engagement.

On education, we will expand exchange programs, and increase
scholarships, like the one that brought my father to America, while
encouraging more Americans to study in Muslim communities. And we
will match promising Muslim students with internships in America;
invest in on-line learning for teachers and children around the
world; and create a new online network, so a teenager in Kansas can
communicate instantly with a teenager in Cairo.

On economic development, we will create a new corps of business
volunteers to partner with counterparts in Muslim-majority
countries. And I will host a Summit on Entrepreneurship this year to
identify how we can deepen ties between business leaders,
foundations and social entrepreneurs in the United States and Muslim
communities around the world.

On science and technology, we will launch a new fund to support
technological development in Muslim-majority countries, and to help
transfer ideas to the marketplace so they can create jobs. We will
open centers of scientific excellence in Africa, the Middle East and
Southeast Asia, and appoint new Science Envoys to collaborate on
programs that develop new sources of energy, create green jobs,
digitize records, clean water, and grow new crops. And today I am
announcing a new global effort with the Organization of the Islamic
Conference to eradicate polio. And we will also expand partnerships
with Muslim communities to promote child and maternal health.

All these things must be done in partnership. Americans are
ready to join with citizens and governments; community
organizations, religious leaders, and businesses in Muslim
communities around the world to help our people pursue a better

The issues that I have described will not be easy to address.
But we have a responsibility to join together on behalf of the world
we seek -- a world where extremists no longer threaten our people,
and American troops have come home; a world where Israelis and
Palestinians are each secure in a state of their own, and nuclear
energy is used for peaceful purposes; a world where governments
serve their citizens, and the rights of all God's children are
respected. Those are mutual interests. That is the world we seek.
But we can only achieve it together.

I know there are many -- Muslim and non-Muslim -- who question
whether we can forge this new beginning. Some are eager to stoke the
flames of division, and to stand in the way of progress. Some
suggest that it isn't worth the effort -- that we are fated to
disagree, and civilizations are doomed to clash. Many more are
simply skeptical that real change can occur. There is so much fear,
so much mistrust. But if we choose to be bound by the past, we will
never move forward. And I want to particularly say this to young
people of every faith, in every country "you, more than anyone, have
the ability to remake this world".

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.

It is easier to start wars than to end them. It is easier to
blame others than to look inward; to see what is different about
someone than to find the things we share. But we should choose the
right path, not just the easy path. There is also one rule that lies
at the heart of every religion --that we do unto others as we would
have them do unto us. This truth transcends nations and peoples -- a
belief that isn't new; that isn't black or white or brown; that
isn't Christian, or Muslim or Jew. It's a belief that pulsed in the
cradle of civilization, and that still beats in the heart of
billions. It's a faith in other people, and it's what brought me
here today.

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

The Holy Koran tells us, "O 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".

The Talmud tells us: "The whole of the Torah is for the purpose
of promoting peace."

The Holy Bible tells us, "Blessed are the peacemakers, for they
shall be called sons of God."

The people of the world can live together in peace. We know that
is God's vision. Now, that must be our work here on Earth. Thank
you. And may God's peace be upon you."