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What was truly wrong in Obama's speech

Reader comment on item: Assessing Obama's Cairo Speech

Submitted by Gunjan (United States), Jun 9, 2009 at 01:02

Dear Dr. Pipes: So often we get stuck in trivialities and do not look at the root problem. People are wondering if Obama's speech was too timid, or it gave away too much to the Islamic world, or it was factually correct. In this fight over the trees we are missing the forest. The very premise of Obama's speech was wrong (this is from a person who has written many letters to you defending Obama's speech). And this very premise is what is wrong in the modern Islamic world. I will explain.

The very fact that Obama addressed the entire Islamic world was wrong. You see, his speech was not about Christianity vs. Islam. It was about America vs. Islam. So one nation (America) was representing itself against an entire religion. Nations can never fight and win against religions. And that is why every nation is losing its battle against Islam. The modern (and possibly ancient) Islamic movement calls people to unite on the lines of religion. That is a wrong call. The call for unity should be based mostly on the lines of secular ethics and marginally on religion.

Should I support another person just because he follows my religion? Where does it stop? Should I also hire a person who follows my religion? Should I support an invading army, just because it shares my religion? Should I support a foreign bank, corporation, charity, stock just because it shares my religion?

The very fact that Obama had to address the Islamic world as a whole is the cause of the problem. There is no need for Obama to go to Rome and address Christians, or to Tokyo and address Buddhists, or to Varanasi to address Hindus. Then why has our world come to a point that Obama has to go to Cairo to address Muslims?

That is what the problem is. That is the point to ponder. That he accepted (or had no option but to accept) Islam as a unified force across nations and neighborhooods was what was fundamentally wrong in President Obama's speech.

Submitting....

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Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

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