Obama's views on Islam

In June, 2009, Obama went to Cairo, Egypt to announce a new relationship with the Muslim world. Here are excerpts of his speech. He said some amazing things about Islam.

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“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 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.”

“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.” (Most muslim countries from day one have been theocracies. Islam advanced almost totally by warfare, not voluntary conversions)

“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...”

“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.” (Overall, the Muslim contributions to science, technology and representative government was minimal. The Chinese invented the compass. Muslims had nothing to do with inventing any type of pens. Woodblock Printing was invented in China.)

“I know, too, that Islam has always been a part of America's story. 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.” (It is interesting that Obama failed to mention that America’s first war was with Muslim pirates - the Barbary War. In 1786, when Thomas Jefferson and John Adams asked the ambassador of the Barbary States why they were attacking US ships, he replied, “It was written in their Koran, that all nations which had not acknowledged the Prophet were sinners, whom it was the right and duty of the faithful to plunder and enslave... (1) Sound familiar?)

“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.” (Islam played no role whatsoever in the founding of America)

“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 prayer.”

“I strongly reaffirmed America's commitment to seek a world in which no nations hold nuclear weapons.”
Islam has a proud tradition of tolerance.

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.

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.

"In ancient times and in our times, Muslim communities have been at the forefront of innovation and education."

"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."

"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."

Finally, Obama declared “I consider it part of my responsibility as President of the United States to fight against negative stereotypes of Islam wherever they appear.”

Text of speech from:
http://www.csmonitor.com/World/Global-News/2009/0604/obamas-speech-in-cairo-full-text

Other sources:
1. The Atlantic Monthly, Volume 30, p 413, Published in 1872
http://books.google.com/books?id=nWQCAAAAIAAJ