Thursday, June 04, 2009

Obama's defining moment

By Carl

While you should read the
entire text for yourselves, I believe history will judge this paragraph as the time when America truly rejoined the world community as a leader and a beacon:
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.

Leading up to this paragraph, President Obama spoke of how the continual Muslim violence towards not only westerners but fellow Muslims, has bred a suspicion and, indeed, terror among the partisan right wing of the western world.

After this paragraph, he acknowledges civilization's debt to the Muslim world and to Islam in particular: math, sciences, philosophy, commerce, art, even history...all these were advanced by Muslims when the rest of the world suffered the Dark Ages.

And then he challenged the Muslim world to change with the times. He invited them to view America differently, and if anyone could do that, if anyone could truthfully say those words and mean them in Egypt, it is Barack Obama: America's first African-American President. Indeed, the quintessence of change resides within him.

The intriguing bit came when he began to talk about Palestine. I expect he will get a large helping of grief over this part, where he seems to hint at a division of territory between Israel and the Palestinians (the "two state" solution he has talked about before).

But there's a surprise hinted at in the speech as well when he speaks about Al Qaeda:
And that's why we're partnering with a coalition of 46 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 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.

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.

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 peace.

I interpret this to mean he's offering the Muslim world a chance for a show of good faith: turn over Al Qaeda and other violent Islamist groups, turn over Osama bin Laden. Show us that you mean business.

Wow. I mean, wow. He invokes among the most holy of passages written in the Koran and challenges the Muslim world to live up to it.

Think about that for a moment: the President of the Great Satan has asked Muslims to turn their back on what amounts to the Religious Right of the Muslim world, the Jerry Falwells of Fatwas, and asked the entire Muslim world to join us in the 21st Century, to shun those who would take the world back to the Dark Ages.

And you know what? He's got a good chance of succeeding.

(crossposted to
Simply Left Behind)

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