News / USA

One Year After Obama's Cairo Speech, American Muslims Still Hopeful Promises Will Be Kept

American Muslim leaders believe the U.S. government has unfairly scrutinized their fund-raising operations for potential links to Islamist terrorist groups
American Muslim leaders believe the U.S. government has unfairly scrutinized their fund-raising operations for potential links to Islamist terrorist groups

Multimedia

Audio
Mohamed Elshinnawi

President Barack Obama's June 4, 2009 address to the Islamic world in Cairo, Egypt, generated new hope for improved U.S. relations with Muslims in the Middle East and elsewhere.  A year later, Muslims around the world are comparing Obama's healing words about bridging the divide with the progress made so far to achieve that goal.  In Washington recently, leaders of several major American Muslim groups gathered to consider the impact of Obama's speech, and its as-yet-unfulfilled promises.

Nihad Awad, says the president has done a solid job in setting a new tone for improved relations with the Muslim world but there are still many important steps to be taken
Nihad Awad, says the president has done a solid job in setting a new tone for improved relations with the Muslim world but there are still many important steps to be taken

Nihad Awad, the Executive Director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, or CAIR, says the American president has done a solid job in setting a new tone for improved relations with the Muslim world, and in meeting his promise of a timetable for leaving Iraq.

But there are still many important steps to be taken, Awad said. "De-escalate in Afghanistan, and engage in peaceful settlement and negotiations. On the Middle East front, we believe the president has to pressure Israel and keep the pressure until Israel changes its behavior and end the inhumane blockade on the Gazan people." And Awad added, "Engage the Muslim communities' leadership. He has not met yet with the Muslim leadership."

Some Muslims say their charitable giving has been unfairly targeted by U.S. anti-terrorism concerns

Imam Mahdi Bray says Muslims are still subjected to a different scrutiny when it comes to the no-fly-list, the watching list and when it comes to exiting and returning to America
Imam Mahdi Bray says Muslims are still subjected to a different scrutiny when it comes to the no-fly-list, the watching list and when it comes to exiting and returning to America

Other American Muslim leaders acknowledged that it is really too soon to judge the president, just one year after his Cairo address. But Imam Mahdi Bray, Executive Director of the Muslim American Society, said American Muslims should let the president know they are unhappy about a number of important issues, including the question of charitable giving.  Many Muslim organizations believe the U.S. government has unfairly scrutinized their fund-raising operations for potential links to Islamist terrorist groups.   Imam Bray said the government must do a better job of respecting Muslim-Americans' constitutionally guaranteed rights of free speech, free assembly and freedom of religion.

"Charity is a religious obligation upon Muslims and yet it is still being impeded," Bray asserted. "Lots of money that Muslims have given has never gone to the intended recipients, so that is a first amendment issue. The other thing is a 14th amendment issue; equal protection under the law. That is certainly spelled out as we deal with the issue of profiling at airports. Muslims are still subjected to a different scrutiny when it comes to the no-fly-list, when it comes to the watching list and when it comes to exiting and returning to America."

Similar civil rights concerns were expressed by Naeem Baig, the Executive Director of the Islamic Circle of North America.

"We feel that when it comes to civil liberties, when it comes to profiling at the airports, Muslims are facing it every day," Baig said. "And this is something where the community feels that we are still being seen as outsiders, not as partners, in bettering America."

Baig added that it would be a good idea for President Obama to visit a mosque or an Islamic center in the U.S. and meet with American Muslim leaders, something the President has yet to do since taking office in January, 2009.  Baig said such a meeting would help overcome attempts by some in the U.S. to spread what he called hatred against Islam and American Muslims.

Alejandro Beutel, the government liaison at the Muslim Public Affairs Council, said he hopes the Obama Administration will also come to see the American Muslim community as an ally in its campaign against Islamist-inspired terrorism.  "We as Muslims are committed to both safety and security of our nation, while upholding the constitution," Beutel said.  "What people failed to realize is that almost one third of the terrorist plots here in the U.S. involving Al-Qaeda have actually been foiled with the assistance of Muslim Americans. "

The Muslim leader added that in the year since Obama's Cairo speech, American Muslims have been working to answer the president's call. They have been taking part in interfaith dialogues, reaching out to local non-Muslim communities, and calling on Muslims around the world to support American diplomatic and development efforts.

You May Like

Multimedia US Nurse ‘Cured of Ebola,’ NIH Says

Nina Pham, Texas nurse who treated first Ebola patient in US, received no experimental drugs; WHO expects vaccine surge in 2015 More

Video Islamic State Militants Encroach on Baghdad

Iraqi capital not under ‘imminent threat,’ US military says, amid worries about foothold More

Video Hong Kong Protesters Focus on Holding Volatile Mong Kok

Activists say holding Mong Kok is key to their movement's success, despite confrontations with angry residents and police More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rulesi
X
October 21, 2014 12:20 AM
European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.
Video

Video Young Nairobi Tech Innovator on 'Track' in Security Business

A 24-year-old technology innovator in Nairobi has invented a tracking device that monitors and secures cars. He has also come up with what he claims is the most robust audio-visual surveillance system yet. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from the Kenyan capital, his innovations are offering alternative security solutions.
Video

Video Latinas Converting to Islam for Identity, Structure

Latinos are one of the fastest growing groups in the Muslim religion. According to the Pew Research Center, about 6 percent of American Muslims are Latino. And a little more than half of new converts are female. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti travelled to Miami, Florida -- where two out of every three residents is Hispanic -- to learn more.
Video

Video Exclusive: American Joins Kurds' Anti-IS Fight

The United States and other Western nations have expressed alarm about their citizens joining Islamic State forces in Syria and Iraq. In a rare counterpoint to the phenomenon, an American has taken up arms with the militants' Syrian Kurdish opponents. Elizabeth Arrott has more in this exclusive profile by VOA Kurdish reporter Zana Omer in Ras al Ayn, Syria.
Video

Video South Korea Confronts Violence Within Military Ranks

Every able-bodied South Korean male between 18 and 35 must serve for 21 to 36 months in the country’s armed forces, depending upon the specific branch. For many, service is a rite of passage to manhood. But there are growing concerns that bullying and violence come along with the tradition. Reporter Jason Strother has more from Seoul.
Video

Video North Carolina Emerges as Key Election Battleground

U.S. congressional midterm elections will be held on November 4th and most political analysts give Republicans an excellent chance to win a majority in the U.S. Senate, which Democrats now control. So what are the issues driving voters in this congressional election year? VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone traveled to North Carolina, one of the most politically competitive states in the country, to find out.
Video

Video Comanche People Maintain Pride in Their Heritage

The Comanche (Indian nation) once were called the “Lords of the Plains,” with an empire that included half the land area of current day Texas, large parts of Oklahoma, New Mexico, Kansas and Colorado.The fierceness and battle prowess of these warriors on horseback delayed the settlement of most of West Texas for four decades. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Lawton, Oklahoma, that while their warrior days are over, the 15,000 members of the Comanche Nation remain a proud people.
Video

Video Turkey Campus Attacks Raise Islamic Radicalization Fears

Concerns are growing in Turkey of Islamic radicalization at some universities, after clashes between supporters of the jihadist group Islamic State (IS) or ISIS, and those opposed to the extremists. Pro-jihadist literature is on sale openly on the streets of Istanbul. Critics accuse the government of turning a blind eye to radicalism at home, while Kurds accuse the president of supporting IS - a charge strongly denied. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

All About America

AppleAndroid