Obama speaks peace to the Muslim world

This is a fine speech: eloquent, engaging, addressing key issues with clarity. Clearly a political address. Compulsory reading for those concerned with communicating. For example,

‘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.’

President Obama’s speech to the Muslim world, Cairo 2 June 2009 is available as the full text of the speech and as an interactive video and transcript. A helpful summary report.

While I disagree with some of the comparisons made and not made, and the lack of strong reference in the speech to curtailed human rights in so many Islamic States, I realise this is an initial effort at diplomacy and so I shall keep my peace at this time. Let me refer you to some political reports.

A very good analysis including Osama bin Laden’s reaction is in Forceful Words and Fateful Realities, by Rod Nordland who concludes,

‘His (President Obama’s) Cairo speech may not succeed in changing the Middle East, but it will at least have persuaded many skeptical Muslims that he cared.’

To what extent the speech succeeded may be gauged from the varied reactions from Iraqis in Baghdad, Karbala, Falluja, Najaf, Kurdistan, and other cities. Further Mideast, Islamic world reactions to Cairo speech from Radio Free Europe

Time will tell of the effectiveness of the speech but at the very least President Obama is having a go at peace making, and for that I am grateful and prayerful. As Jesus of Nazareth said, ‘Blessed are the peace makers.’

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