Why are the candidates running on religious issues? I thought there was supposed to be a seperation between church and state. Am I just a moron, or is this seriously horrifying?
Why are the candidates running on religious issues? I thought there was supposed to be a seperation between church and state. Am I just a moron, or is this seriously horrifying?
President Obama speech’s to the Muslim people was an impossibly difficult one because of the simple fact that we really can’t say anything good about the Middle-East’s Muslim population. While this statement is bound to rile many because of its blatant political incorrectness, it is the absolute truth, and Obama proves this in his speech.
Obama comes off as one who is charged with saying something nice about the Muslim community, but, unfortunately, must resort to cliché and political rhetoric in order to do so. His speech opens, thusly:
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.
First of all, Al-Azhar’s curriculum is nutritiously anti-western and anti-Semitic. To call this university “a beacon of Islamic learning” serves to validate that which it is teaching. As for the university and the city of Cairo representing “the harmony between tradition and progress,” the only “progress” either has achieved is in keeping with “tradition” of the most horrific principles.
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 Islam.
Because any type of cooperation between the US and Muslims has been either forced or agreed upon due to mutual interests, Obama’s statement that we have not regarded the Muslim-majority country’s own aspirations is absolutely the truth…because their “own aspirations” has always been entangled with supporting acts of violence against America and/or her interests. How Obama can make such a statement is proof that he really can’t find anything positive to say so that he must resort to platitudes which simply aren’t true.
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.
To mention the Muslim community and human right in the same sentence without the admonishment of the latter due to the former is a crime against Truth. When the Muslims stop torturing women and homosexuals and give equal rights to all, then maybe we’ll start to listen. Not only is this comment absurd, it’s scary because it’s coming from the President of the United States. I’m not so sure that I don’t agree with Rush Limbaugh about hoping that Obama fails!
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.
The problem here is a simply logical fallacy: we have almost nothing in common with Muslim countries.
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. (See pictures of Obama in the Middle East.)
Obama’s desire to create “a new beginning” by a marriage between American and Muslim “mutual interest[s] and mutual respect” is ludicrous when you take into consideration the fact that the only mutual interests America shares with the Muslim countries are already up-and-running. And, therefore, the reason why to expect this proposed marriage to actually flourish is simply misguided is because we share no common interests, whatsoever. Not one! What Obama must realize as the president of the United States is that (1) competition isn’t necessarily a bad thing when it comes to world economy (or any economy, for that matter), and (2), the exclusivity of the Muslim community is perpetuated by any country that is not Muslim. This is because unless you agree with the “Muslim Way,” you are wrong. And not only wrong, but one who must be either converted or killed. I mean really, can you see a Muslim woman walking down the street in someplace like Iran in a cute pant suit, a Coach pocketbook, and an air of satisfaction? As for the fact that we share any “common principles…of justice and progress; tolerance and the dignity of all human beings” is equally as ludicrous.
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.
This is the most important aspect of his speech, his opportunity to really identify with the Muslim people. So why, then, does he only give four sentences to the fact(??) that he was infused with the Muslim traditions throughout his life? It makes very little sense since his affinity for Muslim ideology is the very thesis of his speech.
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.
No, President Obama! Europe’s Renaissance and Enlightenment was rooted in the scientific discoveries and literary and artistic masterworks of those in both Europe and Continental Europe, aka. Continental Renaissance. To blithely mash together the Renaissance with the creation of algebra is not only a sin of scholarship and true academic inquiry but foolhardy and careless. Algebra, Barak, comes from the Babylonians who were as “Muslim” as Jews are Christian. In other words, Jesus was a Jew so one would think that Christianity would be a trajectory of Judaism; however, as history bares truth, this isn’t the case. The Babylonians were fundamentally Greek, not Muslim! Just look up Diophantus of Alexandria for more information as I have neither the time nor the inclination to continue this education.
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.
Here, Obama is using the examples about American’s freedom to practice one’s religion as evidence to support the fact that Islam is part of America. However, to advance the notion that Islam is part of America would logically conclude that any belief whatsoever is part of America, which is exactly the wrong way to interpret our Founding Fathers’ thesis concerning the subject of Freedom of Religion. Barak, sweetheart, freedom of religion here in America does not mean that America, the country, has any stake whatsoever in any religion; it simply means that America will get “out of the way” of those who want to practice their religion…in a peaceful way!
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.
To illuminate the horrors occurring in Darfur and Bosnia for the purpose of political gain is not only obnoxious, it’s downright incompetent! Barak, darling, are you saying that you’re recognizing that what’s occurring in Bosnia and Darfur is so horrible that it must be stopped? Are you saying that we must now invade Bosnia and Darfur? Are you—finally!—giving credit to the atrocities occurring over there and are willing and ready to stop it? If so, then let’s go. But if not, shut the hell up! And, a stain? Really, Barak? That’s all those who are currently being slaughtered and tortured, those who have been slaughtered and tortured, and those who will be slaughtered and tortured are worth to you? A stain? It’s too bad you aren’t a stain! To make a statement like that is just…I can’t even…
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.
Well, I guess that our public school system doesn’t need the money! And, apparently neither do our hospitals, those departments who support our infer structure, nor our businesses here in America, not to mention those who are losing their homes and their jobs.
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."
Firstly, Thomas Jefferson utter these words when America was still an infant country. Therefore, to read Jefferson’s quote as though he’s standing smack in the middle of a major world power is simply not true. What Jefferson meant by this was that he could see—like all of the other visionaries of the time—what American might come to be if she can survive to adulthood. So it is in the spirit of a mother doling out punishment for her child in a caring, thoughtful way that is the meaning of Jefferson’s statement. Now, America did use diplomacy concerning the invasion of Iraq. In fact, Barak, you said so yourself earlier in this speech. But it takes only a glance back into the recent past and the intellect of a high school history student to understand that we pursued every diplomatic avenue we could before a military option was even considered. And when it was considered, we had the backing of most of the world.
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.
While I am in complete agreement concerning our alliance with Israel and his assertion that to deny the reality of the Holocaust is “baseless, ignorant, and hateful,” he completely misses one important aspect of why the Palestinian people have “suffered.” First, this so-called “suffering” is the result of their own, historic anti-Semitism. The original plans for what is now Israel was a 50/50 division of said land. However, the Palestinians only wanted to “drive the Jews into the sea.” And so they waged war. The Israelis, who weren’t even a country yet and didn’t have an army, fought back…out of pick-up trucks, etc. The Palestinians pushed, and the Israelis pushed back. And the Israelis won the war! They won. So of course they took all of the land; show me a war won where the treasures didn’t go to the victor and I’ll show you a liar. Therefore, to paint the Palestinians as anything other than terrorists (for that is what Hamas is), is, in itself, one of two reactions: (1) simply false; (2) anti-Semitic.
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 surrendered.
I find this excellent and insightful. Right on!
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.
For this to occur, Hamas has to completely change its charter from a terrorist organization hell-bent on destroying the Jews to adopt a credible, authorities mission akin to any other country of merit around the world. In the words of my five-year-old nephew, “Yeah, right!”
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.
The so-called “Arab Peace Initiative” is little more than a ruse because none of the key Arab states will join it. Quite honestly, I’m surprised Obama even brought this up. The last sentence here is just ridiculous: let’s just for the moment indulge in pure fantasy here and say that the Palestinian people do, in fact, “develop the institutions that [have] sustain[ed] their state.” This would take a minimum of five generations to reach fruition. Back to reality, there is nothing in the DNA of Hamas or the Arab states that possesses the ability to support an ideology even close to that of recognizing Israel as legitimate.
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.
Simply put, if the “path” down which the world would be led by Iran possessing nuclear arms is, indeed, so “dangerous,” how can one expect a unity of any kind between Islam and America? While Obama makes quite clear his resolve should Iran continue to press the Unite States, that statement stands in direct contradiction to everything he’s said thus far, as does this one:
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.
Obama has been asserting all along that democracy is the key ingredient to the world peace, and yet, he contradicts this entirely by this statement. If not democracy, then what? The only answer to this question is to keep Islamic government as it is, which, Obama has said, and the world knows, is not the way to achieve peace. Democracy is.
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 pretense of liberalism.
This is all just obscene idealism. One has only to look at the issues regarding religion in Iraq (i.e. Kurds v. Shi’ite; Christian v. Mandaean, etc.) to see that this is the embodiment of sophist rhetoric.
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 prosperous.
As far as I know, no one in looks at a woman who chooses to cover her head here in America as one deserving any depravation of her rights. As for the second sentence, there’s no question that this is correct; however, it says nothing of why women are treated as they are within the Islamic world ideology.
In closing, I give Obama an A+ for effort. However, his speech is overwhelmingly idealistic. Should any of his proposals in this speech come to fruition, it would disastrous for America and for the world.