Friday, June 05, 2009

Fisking Obama's Speech - so you don't have to.

President Obama tried his schtick on the "Muslim world" today. Smooth talk that let the audience hear what it wants. To be honest, I hope it works. But then, I hope that I'll win the lottery. Hope is a wonderful thing. I don't think Change will be coming any time soon to that area of the globe nor to their feeling for the US.

One would think that Obama's exposure to Islam would better prepare him for dealing with this. Any speech that hints of apology will be seen as weak. Any hint of prior membership in the "Religion of Peace" will doom him to apostasy. But, perhaps, since he spent is developmental years abroad and in the presence of leftists, he is just ignorant of American exceptionalism. As our new SCOTUS candidate implies, one cannot disregard one's background when making judgements. And Obama's background places him in foreign territory.

Update: Mr. Bowden delves into the speech. Outstanding.

Generation Patriot has a good point: Which Muslims was the President talking to?

Remarks of President Barack Obama, A New Beginning, Cairo, Egypt, June 4, 2009

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.

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 (To say the least. Conflict with Islam began with the START of the religion. With the offense on the side of the Muslim.). 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. (Umm, except that it was the Soviets, not the US that used the Muslim countries as proxies. Why aren't they bombing THEM?) Moreover, the sweeping change brought by modernity and globalization led many Muslims to view the West as hostile to the traditions of Islam. (Perhaps, because modernity IS hostile to the 7th century traditions of Islam, like equal rights, no slavery, freedom of religion......)

Violent extremists have exploited these tensions in a small but potent minority of Muslims. 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. (That and an increased knowledge of the Koran and Islamism.) This has bred more fear and mistrust. (Is he saying that our view or violence is breeding fear? He is a master at letting the audience hear what they want.)

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. (Nice words. How do you make THEM live up to it?)

I (who the hell are you?)have come here to seek a new beginning between the United States and Muslims around the world( A new beginning?! What about the old one where the US saves millions of muslims?); one based upon mutual interest and mutual respect (That'll be a first. Muslims respecting a non-muslim country); 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. (Where do you find THAT in the Koran. Non-muslims are considered inferior. And in the eyes of the Middle East, the one seeking peace is the weaker. We have NO common principles. Sharia and the Constituion are mutually exclusive.)

I do so recognizing that change cannot happen overnight. No single speech can eradicate years of mistrust, nor can I answer in the time that I have all the complex questions that brought us to this point. But I am convinced that in order to move forward, we must say openly the things we hold in our hearts, and that too often are said only behind closed doors. (So, he's going to stop political correctness. And why should we be the ones to eradicate the mistrust? The US saves Muslims. The Middle East KILLS Westerners.)

There must be a sustained effort to listen to each other; to learn from each other; to respect one another; and to seek common ground. As the Holy Koran tells us, “Be conscious of God and speak always the truth.” (The Koran also says: Fight against those who believe not in Allah nor the Last Day, nor hold that forbidden which hath been forbidden by Allah and His Messenger, nor acknowledge the religion of Truth, (even if they are) of the People of the Book, until they pay the Jizya with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued.)That is what I will try to do – to speak the truth as best I can, humbled by the task before us, and firm in my belief that the interests we share as human beings are far more powerful than the forces that drive us apart. (THAT is a bunch of BS. He's never been "humble". Just look at the number of "I"'s in this speech. HE is going to save the world. Besides, the Koran promotes lying to unbelievers.)

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. (Nice. He slipped through the minefield of saying his father was muslim. Are there actual living atheists in a Muslim country. Could he have live there without participating? In the eyes of the muslim world, he is admitting that he is an apostate muslim.)

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 (Invented in China and spread to Europe first.) and tools of navigation; our mastery of pens and printing (Gutenberg was Arabic?); our understanding of how disease spreads and how it can be healed. (Why this entire statement is wrong and just propaganda, via Classical Values and The Charlotte Capitalist.)

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. (Really? Tell that to the Christians and Jews living as dhimmis under their rule. Tell that to their women.)

I know, too, that Islam has always been a part of America’s story. The first nation to recognize my country was Morocco. In signing the Treaty of Tripoli in 1796, our second President John Adams wrote, "The United States has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion or tranquility of Muslims."(Of course, Adams was paying ransom to the Barbary States at the time.) And since our founding, American Muslims have enriched the United States.

They have fought in our wars, served in government, stood for civil rights, started businesses, taught at our Universities, excelled in our sports arenas, won Nobel Prizes, built our tallest building, and lit the Olympic Torch. And when the first Muslim-American was recently elected to Congress, he took the oath to defend our Constitution using the same Holy Koran that one of our Founding Fathers – Thomas Jefferson – kept in his personal library.

So I have known Islam on three continents before coming to the region where it was first revealed. That experience guides my conviction that partnership between America and Islam must be based on what Islam is, not what it isn’t. (So.....What is it?)And I consider it part of my responsibility as President of the United States to fight against negative stereotypes of Islam wherever they appear. (Except that stereotypes have a basis in fact and that stereotype is supported by the mainstream religion of Saudi Arabia, Hamas, Hezbollah, Iran, and parts of Pakistan and Afghanistan. Why shouldn't MUSLIMS prevent those "stereotypes" from appearing?)

But that same principle must apply to Muslim perceptions of America. Just as Muslims do not fit a crude stereotype, America is not the crude stereotype of a self-interested empire. The United States has been one of the greatest sources of progress that the world has ever known.(THAT IS THEIR PROBLEM WITH US. PROGRESS IS ANATHEMA TO THEM.)

We were born out of revolution against an empire. We were founded upon the ideal that all are created equal, and we have shed blood and struggled for centuries to give meaning to those words – within our borders, and around the world. We are shaped by every culture, drawn from every end of the Earth, and dedicated to a simple concept: E pluribus unum: "Out of many, one."

Much has been made of the fact that an African-American with the name Barack Hussein Obama could be elected President. (Oh, NOW we can mention his middle name.) But my personal story is not so unique. The dream of opportunity for all people has not come true for everyone in America, but its promise exists for all who come to our shores – that includes nearly seven million American Muslims in our country today who enjoy incomes and education that are higher than average.(CIA Fact Book: 2.35 million)

Moreover, freedom in America is indivisible from the freedom to practice one’s religion (Unless the ACLU objects). 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. (WHAT? Really? There is NO law like that. Who denies it? Mostly no one cares. There have been successful and unsuccessful lawsuits about the wearing of it, but, prosecutions?)

So let there be no doubt: Islam is a part of America. And I believe that America holds within her the truth that regardless of race, religion, or station in life, all of us share common aspirations – to live in peace and security; to get an education and to work with dignity; to love our families, our communities, and our God. These things we share. This is the hope of all humanity. (Ummmm, where is Liberty in all of this? Forget to mention this necessary item? Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness....go read it. We'll wait.)

Of course, recognizing our common humanity is only the beginning of our task. Words alone cannot meet the needs of our people.( Our People? Who is he talking about here?)These needs will be met only if we act boldly in the years ahead; and if we understand that the challenges we face are shared, and our failure to meet them will hurt us all.

For we have learned from recent experience that when a financial system(is corrupted) 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 (Muslims saved by Americans) in Bosnia and Darfur are slaughtered(by Muslims), that is a stain on our collective conscience.(Actually that is a stain on the KILLER'S conscience. The USA keeps trying to rescue those victims. Not the muslim world.) 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.

This is a difficult responsibility to embrace. For human history has often been a record of nations and tribes subjugating one another to serve their own interests. (Except the US.) Yet in this new age, such attitudes are self-defeating. Given our interdependence, any world order that elevates one nation or group of people over another will inevitably fail. (What world order elevates the US? The "world order" a)depends on the stability based on US military might, b) keeps trying to tear down the US to their level c) the US got there on their own.) So whatever we think of the past, we must not be prisoners of it. Our problems must be dealt with through partnership; progress must be shared. (Again, name a Muslim country that will share progress or accept our version of it.)

That does not mean we should ignore sources of tension. Indeed, it suggests the opposite: we must face these tensions squarely. And so in that spirit, let me speak as clearly and plainly as I can about some specific issues that I believe we must finally confront together.

The first issue that we have to confront is violent extremism in all of its forms.

In Ankara, I made clear that America is not – and never will be – at war with Islam. We will, however, relentlessly confront violent extremists who pose a grave threat to our security. Because we reject the same thing that people of all faiths reject: the killing of innocent men, women, and children. (Read the Koran. Doesn't say that.) And it is my first duty as President to protect the American people.

The situation in Afghanistan demonstrates America’s goals, and our need to work together. Over seven years ago, the United States pursued Al Qaeda and the Taliban with broad international support. We did not go by choice, we went because of necessity. I am aware that some question or justify the events of 9/11. But let us be clear: Al Qaeda killed nearly 3,000 people on that day. The victims were innocent men, women and children from America and many other nations who had done nothing to harm anybody.

And yet Al Qaeda chose to ruthlessly murder these people, claimed credit for the attack, and even now states their determination to kill on a massive scale. They have affiliates in many countries and are trying to expand their reach. These are not opinions to be debated; these are facts to be dealt with. (Of course, he doesn't realize that he just made some muslims very happy with that description.)

Make no mistake: we do not want to keep our troops in Afghanistan. We seek no military bases there. It is agonizing for America to lose our young men and women. It is costly and politically difficult to continue this conflict. We would gladly bring every single one of our troops home if we could be confident that there were not violent extremists in Afghanistan and Pakistan determined to kill as many Americans as they possibly can. But that is not yet the case.

That’s why we’re partnering with a coalition of forty-six countries. (And only Canada, Britain, Australia,New Zealand and the US have Rules of Engagement that allow offensive combat. And NATO said "no more troops for you!" What was that about it was all Bush's fault for having such a coalition?) And despite the costs involved, America’s commitment will not weaken. Indeed, none of us should tolerate these extremists. They have killed in many countries. They have killed people of different faiths – more than any other, they have killed Muslims. Their actions are irreconcilable with the rights of human beings, the progress of nations, and with Islam.(They disagree. And their Imams back them up. And millions of muslims agree.)

The Holy Koran teaches that whoever kills an innocent, it is as if he has killed all mankind; and whoever saves a person, it is as if he has saved all mankind. The enduring faith of over a billion people is so much bigger than the narrow hatred of a few. Islam is not part of the problem in combating violent extremism – it is an important part of promoting peace. (What? Islam IS part of the problem. The jihadists use the 9th sura in the Koran as the basis for their war.)

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. (It would be cheaper just to buy their entire crop of heroin. And more productive.)

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.(Yep. We CHOSE to prevent Saddam Hussein for acquiring or using WMD and CHOSE to gain a strategic foothold affecting Saudi Arabia and Iran.) 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. (Yep. And he's wrong. Just can't admit that the surge worked.) 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.” (Does he really want to invoke the first President to go to war with Islam?)

Today, America has a dual responsibility: to help Iraq forge a better future – and to leave Iraq to Iraqis. I have made it clear to the Iraqi people that we pursue no bases, and no claim on their territory or resources. Iraq’s sovereignty is its own. That is why I ordered the removal of our combat brigades by next August.(Except for that 50,000 troops that he wants to stay. He better define combat brigades)

That is why we will honor our agreement with Iraq’s democratically-elected government to remove combat troops from Iraqi cities by July, and to remove all our troops from Iraq by 2012.(If they aren't combat troops, then who's still there?) We will help Iraq train its Security Forces (Without combat troops. Uh-huh.) and develop its economy. But we will support a secure and united Iraq as a partner, and never as a patron.

And finally, just as America can never tolerate violence by extremists, we must never alter our principles. 9/11 was an enormous trauma to our country. The fear and anger that it provoked was understandable, but in some cases, it led us to act contrary to our ideals. We are taking concrete actions to change course. I have unequivocally prohibited the use of torture by the United States (except that he's following Bush's policies), and I have ordered the prison at Guantanamo Bay closed by early next year. (Big whoop. We'll see.)

So America will defend itself respectful of the sovereignty of nations and the rule of law. And we will do so in partnership with Muslim communities which are also threatened. The sooner the extremists are isolated and unwelcome in Muslim communities, the sooner we will all be safer. (For once, he said something true.)

The second major source of tension that we need to discuss is the situation between Israelis, Palestinians and the Arab world.

America’s strong bonds with Israel are well known. This bond is unbreakable. It is based upon cultural and historical ties, and the recognition that the aspiration for a Jewish homeland is rooted in a tragic history that cannot be denied. (Second true thing that he said)

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. (And to evoke in the minds of the Israelis why "Never Again" is the motto and nuclear weapons are handy.)

On the other hand, it is also undeniable that the Palestinian people – Muslims and Christians (Christians-mainly by there MUSLIM Palestinian brothers) – have suffered in pursuit of a homeland. For more than sixty years they have endured the pain of dislocation. (By choice. Too bad they attacked Isreal instead of cooperating and becoming rich. Also because their FELLOW MUSLIMS KILL THEM. See Jordan, Syria, and Egypt. Egypt was tryannical in when they controlled Gaza.) 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. (Peace and security come to all that don't engage in warfare. And the refugee camps are artificially supported. The local countries REFUSE to let them assimilate.)

They endure the daily humiliations – large and small – that come with occupation. (Gaza is NOT occupied. And when HAMAS took over, it deteriorated.) 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.

For decades, there has been a stalemate: two peoples with legitimate aspirations, each with a painful history that makes compromise elusive. It is easy to point fingers – for Palestinians to point to the displacement brought by Israel’s founding, and for Israelis to point to the constant hostility and attacks throughout its history from within its borders as well as beyond.

But if we see this conflict only from one side or the other, then we will be blind to the truth: the only resolution is for the aspirations of both sides to be met through two states, where Israelis and Palestinians each live in peace and security.

That is in Israel’s interest, Palestine’s interest, America’s interest, and the world’s interest. That is why I intend to personally pursue this outcome with all the patience that the task requires. (And the seas will stop rising.......oh wait, that's another speech.) The obligations that the parties have agreed to under the Road Map are clear. For peace to come, it is time for them – and all of us – to live up to our responsibilities. (The Road Map was never implemented and the Palestinians rejected it.

Palestinians must abandon violence. Resistance through violence and killing is wrong and does not succeed. (So the American Revolution was a failure?) 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. (However, "Ghandi" tactics WOULD work against Israelis.)

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 (improperly applied, fixed it) 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. (Third thing that he said true.)

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. (That'll happen right after the Wahibbis in Saudia Arabia allow women to vote.)

At the same time, Israelis must acknowledge that just as Israel’s right to exist cannot be denied, neither can Palestine’s. The United States does not accept the legitimacy of continued Israeli settlements. (Since when? And who the hell are we to tell Israel what to do? They got that land fair and square by taking land from invaders.) This construction violates previous agreements and undermines efforts to achieve peace. It is time for these settlements to stop. (The Israelis could go back to the ORIGINAL BORDERS and they wouldn't have peace. See the war of 1948.)

Israel must also live up to its obligations to ensure that Palestinians can live, and work, and develop their society. (Nothing is stopping them. THEY destroyed Gaza by turning it into a rocket pad. )And just as it devastates Palestinian families, the continuing humanitarian crisis in Gaza does not serve Israel’s security; neither does the continuing lack of opportunity in the West Bank. Progress in the daily lives of the Palestinian people must be part of a road to peace, and Israel must take concrete steps to enable such progress.(Like what? They already gave it back. They should reward people that want them dead?)

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.

America will align our policies with those who pursue peace, and say in public what we say in private to Israelis and Palestinians and Arabs. We cannot impose peace. (Tell that to the Germans and Japanese.) But privately, many Muslims recognize that Israel will not go away. Likewise, many Israelis recognize the need for a Palestinian state. It is time for us to act on what everyone knows to be true.

Too many tears have flowed. Too much blood has been shed. All of us have a responsibility to work for the day when the mothers of Israelis and Palestinians can see their children grow up without fear (or Palestinian parents don't cheer when their kids grow up to be suicide bombers); when the Holy Land of three great faiths is the place of peace that God intended it to be(then the Muslims need to stop persecuting Christians); when Jerusalem is a secure and lasting home for Jews and Christians and Muslims, and a place for all of the children of Abraham to mingle peacefully together as in the story of Isra, when Moses, Jesus, and Mohammed (peace be upon them) joined in prayer.

The third source of tension is our shared interest in the rights and responsibilities of nations on nuclear weapons.

This issue has been a source of tension between the United States and the Islamic Republic of Iran. For many years, Iran has defined itself in part by its opposition to my country, and there is indeed a tumultuous history between us. In the middle of the Cold War, the United States played a role in the overthrow of a democratically-elected Iranian government.(And the Shah was the lesser of two evils.)

Since the Islamic Revolution, Iran has played a role in acts of hostage-taking and violence (against an Embassy is an act of war.) against U.S. troops and civilians. This history is well known. Rather than remain trapped in the past, I have made it clear to Iran’s leaders and people that my country is prepared to move forward.(ie, surrender. That's how it looks to the mullahs.) The question, now, is not what Iran is against, but rather what future it wants to build. (That's obvious. Iran wants to be a regional nuclear superpower that spit in the eye of the Great Satan. And they are doing it.)

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.(Except they've already said that they have nothing to discuss. "Go away little boy", I think were the words they used.....)

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.

I understand those who protest that some countries have weapons that others do not. No single nation should pick and choose which nations hold nuclear weapons. (Actually, I don't have a problem with the USA doing the picking and choosing.....but, that's just me.) That is why I strongly reaffirmed America’s commitment to seek a world in which no nations hold nuclear weapons (re-affrimed? Since when did we seek that?). And any nation – including Iran – should have the right to access peaceful nuclear power if it complies with its responsibilities under the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. That commitment is at the core of the Treaty, and it must be kept for all who fully abide by it. And I am hopeful that all countries in the region can share in this goal. (What a pipe dream. You don't need centrifuges for "peaceful" purposes. And on nuclear disarmament? The saying, "You go first." is quite popular.)

The fourth issue that I will address is democracy.

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.(Hey Saddam, sorry for the misunderstanding. Hitler? Our bad. Tojo? Sorry dude. Taliban? Go ahead, rape those kids...)

That does not lessen my commitment, however, to governments that reflect the will of the people. (You mean, like Israel? Or Palestine? THEIR democratically elected government wants to destroy Israel.) Each nation gives life to this principle in its own way, grounded in the traditions of its own people. America does not presume to know what is best for everyone (well, except we do know what is best for everyone. LIBERTY!), just as we would not presume to pick the outcome of a peaceful election.

But I do have an unyielding belief that all people yearn for certain things: the ability to speak your mind and have a say in how you are governed; confidence in the rule of law and the equal administration of justice; government that is transparent and doesn’t steal from the people (EXCEPT HIS); the freedom to live as you choose. Those are not just American ideas, they are human rights, and that is why we will support them everywhere. (How does that not contradict your previous paragraph?)

There is no straight line to realize this promise. But this much is clear: governments that protect these rights are ultimately more stable, successful and secure. Suppressing ideas never succeeds in making them go away. America respects the right of all peaceful and law-abiding voices to be heard around the world, even if we disagree with them. And we will welcome all elected, peaceful governments – provided they govern with respect for all their people.(Tell that to Pelosi, Barney Frank, Rahm Emmanuel, Harry Reid.)

This last point is important because there are some who advocate for democracy only when they are out of power; once in power, they are ruthless in suppressing the rights of others (see the US Democratic Progressive party). No matter where it takes hold, government of the people and by the people sets a single standard for all who hold power: you must maintain your power through consent, not coercion; you must respect the rights of minorities, and participate with a spirit of tolerance and compromise; you must place the interests of your people and the legitimate workings of the political process above your party (HAHAHAHA HE SAID THIS WITH A STRAIGHT FACE). Without these ingredients, elections alone do not make true democracy.

The fifth issue that we must address together is religious freedom.

Islam has a proud tradition of tolerance (For dhimmis. Why not as the Egyptian Coptics about that tolerance?). We see it in the history of Andalusia and Cordoba during the Inquisition. (Why not bring up the 700 years of Muslim occupation before that. The Inquisition was partially a response to previous Muslim rule. If you were a Christian or a Jew, you were considered to be just above a slave.) I saw it firsthand as a child in Indonesia, where devout Christians worshiped freely in an overwhelmingly Muslim country. That is the spirit we need today.

People in every country should be free to choose and live their faith based upon the persuasion of the mind, heart, and soul. This tolerance is essential for religion to thrive, but it is being challenged in many different ways. (Not the least of which is that the Muslims you're talking to will kill their fellow Muslims if they convert.)

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. (Why no mention of toleration of Jews? Don't they have a right to follow their faith in a muslim country. There are still some there.)

Freedom of religion is central to the ability of peoples to live together. (Not really; If all were of one faith, they would get along right well.) 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. (So that hostility to Christianity is all gone bye bye?)

Indeed, faith should bring us together. That is why we are forging service projects in America that bring together Christians, Muslims, and Jews. That is why we welcome efforts like Saudi Arabian King Abdullah’s Interfaith dialogue and Turkey’s leadership in the Alliance of Civilizations. Around the world, we can turn dialogue into Interfaith service, so bridges between peoples lead to action – whether it is combating malaria in Africa, or providing relief after a natural disaster. (Except that Saudi Arabia's spread of Wahabbiism is the main cause of fundamentalist muslim violence. And those that spread it support the spread of sharia.)

The sixth issue that I want to address is women’s rights.

I know there is debate about this issue. I reject the view of some in the West that a woman who chooses (how about those forced? Or beaten? Or forced back into burning building because their hair was uncovered?) 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.

Now let me be clear: issues of women’s equality are by no means simply an issue for Islam. In Turkey, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Indonesia, we have seen Muslim-majority countries elect a woman to lead. (While still subjgating their women. Great juggling act.) Meanwhile, the struggle for women’s equality continues in many aspects of American life (Two words: Bull. Shit.), and in countries around the world.

Our daughters can contribute just as much to society as our sons, and our common prosperity will be advanced by allowing all humanity – men and women – to reach their full potential. I do not believe that women must make the same choices as men in order to be equal, and I respect those women who choose to live their lives in traditional roles. But it should be their choice.(But that is the problem. Sharia law takes choice away. It must be as Allah wills as supported by the Koran.)

That is why the United States will partner with any Muslim-majority country to support expanded literacy for girls, and to help young women pursue employment through micro-financing that helps people live their dreams.

Finally, I want to discuss economic development and opportunity.

I know that for many, the face of globalization is contradictory. The Internet and television can bring knowledge and information, but also offensive sexuality and mindless violence (Thanks to the liberals). Trade can bring new wealth and opportunities, but also huge disruptions and changing communities.

In all nations – including my own – this change can bring fear. Fear that because of modernity we will lose of control over our economic choices (like GM and Chrysler), our politics (ACORN), and most importantly our identities – those things we most cherish about our communities, our families, our traditions, and our faith.(Bitter clingers!)

But I also know that human progress cannot be denied. (Sure it can. See most muslim countries.) There need not be contradiction between development and tradition. Countries like Japan and South Korea grew their economies while maintaining distinct cultures. The same is true for the astonishing progress within Muslim-majority countries from Kuala Lumpur to Dubai. In ancient times and in our times, Muslim communities have been at the forefront of innovation and education. (Education? How many Nobel Prizes are coming from the founts of learning?)

This is important because no development strategy can be based only upon what comes out of the ground, nor can it be sustained while young people are out of work. Many Gulf States have enjoyed great wealth as a consequence of oil, and some are beginning to focus it on broader development.

But all of us must recognize that education and innovation will be the currency of the 21st century, and in too many Muslim communities there remains underinvestment in these areas. (You just said that Muslim communities are at the forefront of innovation and education!) I am emphasizing such investments within my country. And while America in the past has focused on oil and gas in this part of the world, we now seek a broader engagement. (Like what? Sand?)

On education, we will expand exchange programs, and increase scholarships, like the one that brought my father to America, while encouraging more Americans to study in Muslim communities. And we will match promising Muslim students with internships in America; invest in on-line learning for teachers and children around the world; and create a new online network, so a teenager in Kansas can communicate instantly with a teenager in Cairo. (That Kansan will not be allowed to spread harmful ideas. And didn't we just CLOSE this loophole in our visa problem.....)

On economic development, we will create a new corps of business volunteers (former GM employees?) to partner with counterparts in Muslim-majority countries. And I will host a Summit on Entrepreneurship this year to identify how we can deepen ties between business leaders, foundations and social entrepreneurs in the United States and Muslim communities around the world.

On science and technology, we will launch a new fund to support technological development in Muslim-majority countries (THEY have to be willing to step out of the 7th century. They don't need help. See DUBAI!), and to help transfer ideas to the marketplace so they can create jobs. We will open centers of scientific excellence in Africa, the Middle East and Southeast Asia, and appoint new Science Envoys to collaborate on programs that develop new sources of energy, create green jobs, digitize records, clean water, and grow new crops. (BLAH, BLAH, BLAH)

And today I am announcing a new global effort with the Organization of the Islamic Conference to eradicate polio. And we will also expand partnerships with Muslim communities to promote child and maternal health. (It is because of the suspicion of "Western science" that polio vaccine is being rejected in Muslim communities. You going to wave your magic wand? I thought that we weren't to impose our way of life on them.)

All these things must be done in partnership. Americans are ready to join with citizens and governments; community organizations, religious leaders, and businesses in Muslim communities around the world to help our people pursue a better life.

The issues that I have described will not be easy to address. But we have a responsibility to join together on behalf of the world we seek – a world where extremists no longer threaten our people, and American troops have come home; a world where Israelis and Palestinians are each secure in a state of their own, and nuclear energy is used for peaceful purposes; a world where governments serve their citizens, and the rights of all God’s children are respected. Those are mutual interests. That is the world we seek. But we can only achieve it together. (And Unicorns and magic bunnies fart free energy!)

I know there are many – Muslim and non-Muslim – who question whether we can forge this new beginning (HE'S TALKING ABOUT ME, I'M FAMOUS!). Some are eager to stoke the flames of division, and to stand in the way of progress. Some suggest that it isn’t worth the effort – that we are fated to disagree, and civilizations are doomed to clash. Many more are simply skeptical that real change can occur.(ME AGAIN!)

There is so much fear, so much mistrust. But if we choose to be bound by the past, we will never move forward. (If we IGNORE the past, we will be doomed to repeat it!) And I want to particularly say this to young people of every faith, in every country – you, more than anyone, have the ability to remake this world.

All of us share this world for but a brief moment in time. The question is whether we spend that time focused on what pushes us apart, or whether we commit ourselves to an effort – a sustained effort – to find common ground, to focus on the future we seek for our children, and to respect the dignity of all human beings.

It is easier to start wars than to end them. It is easier to blame others than to look inward; to see what is different about someone than to find the things we share. But we should choose the right path, not just the easy path.(Their "right path" seems to be the spread of Islam.)

There is also one rule that lies at the heart of every religion – that we do unto others as we would have them do unto us. (Not in the Koran.) This truth transcends nations and peoples – a belief that isn’t new; that isn’t black or white or brown; that isn’t Christian, or Muslim or Jew. It’s a belief that pulsed in the cradle of civilization, and that still beats in the heart of billions. It’s a faith in other people, and it’s what brought me here today.

We have the power to make the world we seek, but only if we have the courage to make a new beginning, keeping in mind what has been written.

The Holy Koran tells us, “O mankind! We have created you male and a female; and we have made you into nations and tribes so that you may know one another.” (So where is the Islamic verse promoting universal peace? This is just Genesis retold.)

The Talmud tells us: “The whole of the Torah is for the purpose of promoting peace.”

The Holy Bible tells us, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.”

The people of the world can live together in peace. We know that is God’s vision. (Not according to Mohammed.) Now, that must be our work here on Earth. Thank you. And may God’s peace be upon you. ###

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