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

Koreas Mark 61st Anniversary of War Armistice

Muted observances on both sides of heavily-armed Demilitarized Zone that separates two decades-long enemies More

Judge Declares Washington DC Ban on Public Handguns Unconstitutional

Ruling overturns capital city's prohibition on carrying guns in pubic More

Pricey Hepatitis C Drug Draws Criticism

Activists are using the International AIDS Conference to criticize drug companies for charging high prices for life-saving therapies 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.
Students in Business for Themselvesi
X
Mike O'Sullivan
July 26, 2014 11:04 AM
They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Not Even Monks Spared From Thailand’s Junta-Backed Morality Push

With Thailand’s military government firmly in control after May’s bloodless coup, authorities are carrying out plans they say are aimed at restoring discipline, morality and patriotism to all Thais. The measures include a crackdown on illegal gambling, education reforms to promote students’ moral development, and a new 24-hour phone hotline for citizens to report misbehaving monks. Steve Sandford reports from Bangkok.
Video

Video Virtual Program Teaches Farming Skills

In a fast-changing world beset by unpredictable climate conditions, farmers cannot afford to ignore new technology. Researchers in Australia are developing an online virtual world program to share information about climate change and more sustainable farming techniques for sugar cane growers. As VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports, the idea is to create a wider support network for farmers.
Video

Video Airline Expert: Missile will Show Signature on Debris

The debris field from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 is spread over a 21-kilometer radius in eastern Ukraine. It is expected to take investigators months to sort through the airplane pieces to learn about the missile that brought down the jetliner and who fired it. VOAs Carolyn Presutti explains how this work will be done.
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.

AppleAndroid