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

Video Russia Accused of Abusing Interpol to Pursue Opponents

Report from member of British think tank says Russian extradition requests keep targets from traveling More

US Lawmakers Weigh Turkish Anti-terror Moves

Turkey’s two-pronged campaign against Islamic State militants, Kurdish PKK forces provokes mixed reactions on Capitol Hill More

What Happens When Americans Eat What They Tweet

You are what you tweet, according to new maps that show a correlation between obesity and tweeting about high-fat foods 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.
Russia Accused of Abusing Interpol to Pursue Opponentsi
X
Henry Ridgwell
July 28, 2015 9:53 PM
A British pro-democracy group has accused Russia of abusing the global law enforcement agency Interpol by requesting the arrest and extradition of political opponents. A new report by the group notes such requests can mean the accused are unable to travel and are often unable to open bank accounts. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Russia Accused of Abusing Interpol to Pursue Opponents

A British pro-democracy group has accused Russia of abusing the global law enforcement agency Interpol by requesting the arrest and extradition of political opponents. A new report by the group notes such requests can mean the accused are unable to travel and are often unable to open bank accounts. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Genome Initiative Urgently Moves to Freeze DNA Before Species Go Extinct

Earth is in the midst of its sixth mass extinction. The last such event was caused by an asteroid 66 million years ago. It killed off the dinosaurs and practically everything else. So scientists are in a race against time to classify the estimated 11 million species alive today. So far only 2 million are described by science, and researchers are worried many will disappear before they even have a name. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Scientists: One-Dose Malaria Cure is Possible

Scientists have long been trying to develop an effective protection and cure for malaria - one of the deadliest diseases that affects people in tropical areas, especially children. As the World Health Organization announces plans to begin clinical trials of a promising new vaccine, scientists in South Africa report that they too are at an important threshold. George Putic reports, they are testing a compound that could be a single-dose cure for malaria.
Video

Video Special Olympics Athletes Meet International Friends

The Special Olympics are underway in Los Angeles, California, with athletes from 165 countries participating in an event that gives people with intellectual disabilities the chance to take part in an international competition. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports that for athletes and their families, it's also an opportunity to make new friends in an international setting.
Video

Video 'New York' Magazine Features 35 Cosby Accusers

The latest issue of 'New York' magazine features 35 women who say they were drugged and raped by film and television celebrity Bill Cosby. The women are aged from 44 to 80 and come from different walks of life and races. The magazine interviewed each of them separately, but Zlatica Hoke reports their stories are similar.
Video

Video US Calls Fight Against Human Trafficking a Must Win

The United States is promising not to give up its fight against what Secretary of State John Kerry calls the “scourge” of modern slavery. Officials released the country’s annual human trafficking report Monday – a report that’s being met with some criticism. VOA’s National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more from the State Department.
Video

Video Iran Nuclear Pact Wins Few New US Congressional Backers

Later this week, President Barack Obama returns from a trip to Africa to confront a U.S. Congress roiled by the nuclear accord with Iran, an agreement that has received the blessing of the U.N. Security Council. Days of intensive lobbying and testimony by top administration officials have won few new congressional supporters of the pact. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports.
Video

Video Washington DC Underground Streetcar Station to Become Arts Venue

Abandoned more than 50 years ago, the underground streetcar station in Washington D.C.’s historic DuPont Circle district is about to be reborn. The plan calls for turning the spacious underground platforms - once meant to be a transportation hub, - into a unique space for art exhibitions, presentations, concerts and even a film set. Roman Mamonov has more from beneath the streets of the U.S. capital. Joy Wagner narrates his report.
Video

Video Europe’s Twin Crises Collide in Greece as Migrant Numbers Soar

Greece has replaced Italy as the main gateway for migrants into Europe, with more than 100,000 arrivals in the first six months of 2015. Many want to move further into Europe and escape Greece’s economic crisis, but they face widespread dangers on the journey overland through the Balkans. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Stink Intensifies as Lebanon’s Trash Crisis Continues

After the closure of a major rubbish dump a week ago, the streets of Beirut are filling up with trash. Having failed to draw up a plan B, politicians are struggling to deal with the problem. John Owens has more for VOA from Beirut.
Video

Video Paris Rolls Out Blueprint to Fight Climate Change

A U.N. climate conference in December aims to produce an ambitious agreement to fight heat-trapping greenhouse gases. But many local governments are not waiting, and have drafted their own climate action plans. That’s the case with Paris — which is getting special attention, since it’s hosting the climate summit. Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at the transformation of the French capital into an eco-city.
Video

Video Racially Diverse Spider-Man Takes Center Stage

Whether it’s in a comic book or on the big screen, fans have always known the man behind the Spider-Man mask as Peter Parker. But that is changing, at least in the comic book world. Marvel Comics announced that a character called Miles Morales will replace Peter Parker as Spider-Man in a new comic book series. He is half Latino, half African American, and he is quite popular among comic book fans. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports from Los Angeles.
Video

Video Critics of Japan Defense Policy Focus on Okinawa

In Okinawa, many locals have long complained that Tokyo places an unfair burden on the tiny island by locating most of Japan's U.S. military bases there. As Japan's government moves toward strengthening and expanding the country's defense policies, opponents of those plans are joining local protesters in Okinawa, voicing concern about where the country is headed. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from Okinawa.
Video

Video IS Uses Chemical Weapons in Syrian Attack

Islamic State militants have added a new weapon in their arsenal of fear: chemical weapons. VOA Kurdish service reporter Zana Omer was on the scene within hours of a recent attack in Hasakah, Syria, and has details of the subsequent investigation, in this report narrated by Miguel Amaya.
Video

Video Historic Symbol Is Theme of Vibrant New Show

A new exhibit in Washington is paying tribute to the American flag with a wide and eclectic selection of artwork that uses the historic symbol as its central theme. VOA’s Julie Taboh was at the DC Chamber of Commerce for the show’s opening.

VOA Blogs