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Obama's Cairo Speech: Klatch of Civilizations

The media is buzzing with news of Obama's speech at Cairo University this morning. Obama's basic message to Muslims (and everyone with a stake in...


The media is buzzing with news of Obama's speech at Cairo University this morning. Obama's basic message to Muslims (and everyone with a stake in the Middle East): Let's talk."...I am convinced that in order to move forward, we must say openly to each other 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.' (Applause.) That is what I will try to do today-to speak the truth as best I can..."And he went on to discuss a wide range of issues, from Islam's place in American pluralism, to America's presence in Iraq and Afghanistan, to the threats posed by Al Qaeda and the Taliban, to religious freedom and women's rights, with candor and respect. Take this passage:"...in the United States, rules on charitable giving have made it harder for Muslims to fulfill their religious obligation. That's why I'm committed to working with American Muslims to ensure that they can fulfill zakat."I have a few Muslim friends but I didn't know what zakat was (it's an important kind of tithing in Islam). But Muslims do, of course. Acknowledging that it's hard for American Muslims to fulfill zakat, and quoting the Koran, gives real credibility to his case that respect and understanding should transcend cultural and religious differences. And also arms moderate Muslims with an arguments to counter extremists in their vicinity.You can read the whole speech here.Photo credit.
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