Friday, June 05, 2009

Left Unsaid

There was one glaring omission in President Obama's speech to the "Muslim world" that hasn't gotten nearly enough attention. While he saw fit to expand the duties of the President of the United States to now include combating prejudice against Islam:

And I consider it part of my responsibility as President of the United States to fight against negative stereotypes of Islam wherever they appear.

He apparently didn't feel it necessary to mention the persecution of fellow Christians going on in too many places in the Muslim world. With a few exceptions, I've barely seen this mentioned anywhere in the post-speech analysis and opining.

Christian Freedom International Challenges Obama's Silence on Christian Persecution in His Address to Muslim World:

Christian Freedom International (CFI), a humanitarian organization that assists persecuted Christians around the world, is dismayed about President Barack Obama's failure to address the monumental crisis of Christian persecution in Muslim-majority nations during a speech he gave earlier today in Cairo, Egypt.

"We're very disappointed in what he said...and more so about what he didn't say," says CFI president Jim Jacobson.

In his speech, Obama promised the Muslim world a new relationship with the United States based on mutual interest and respect, although CFI questions why the President did not place a stronger demand on Muslims to reciprocate the effort. "According to the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom, 17 of the 27 countries targeted for religious persecution contains a Muslim majority--including Egypt," says Jacobson. "President Obama has said that the West has been perceived by Muslims to be hostile to the traditions of Islam, but the fact is that no Christian majority society anywhere today oppresses Muslims."

Jacobson has cited other omissions of religious persecution in Obama's speech, saying that while the President claimed that "Islam has a proud tradition of tolerance," there is no freedom in Muslim-majority countries for Christians to freely practice their own religion, attend publicly funded universities such as Al-Azhar, or even freedom to wear clothing other than Islam's traditional head scarves and burqas.

We're not talking about stereotyping here, we're talking about persecution. In what has been heralded as an "open and honest" speech, the President's failure to even touch on this topic demonstrates that in reality it was anything but that.

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