Tied to the mast
…but orange now and black

“Liveblogging” a recording of Obama’s speech on Islam from a few hours ago

I’m writing this as I listen. Transcript available here.


Thought (1) – C-Span’s video player sucks on an old computer without a particularly strong internet connection.

Thought (2) – Excellent epigraph for his speech: “Be conscious of God and speak always the truth.” Affirming the shared Islamic and Christian values of faith an honesty–those values that will be at the foundation of any progress between the American and Muslim worldviews (even despite both groups plurality)–by drawing from the Quran is as much intended, I think, to lay the foundations for empathy in his American listeners as to generate goodwill in his Muslim audience.

Thought (3) – His discussion of violent extremism was good, but America’s “unflagging commitment” to oppose such practices would ring truer if “America” was to at least pretend to be appropriately outraged at the insane excesses of the Bush / Cheney era.

On that point, he’s just addressed it. Good words… but the ball is in Congress’ court on that issue methinks. Take it and run!

Thought (3) – Arab / Israeli conflict: Very well treated.

Thought (4) – I hope he lays some implicit smackdowns on Mubarak in this discussion on “democracy.” He has repeated the words “rule of law” at least twice, but I want something a bit sharper.

Re: the record of success of democracies…

There is no straight line to realise this promise. But this much is clear: governments that protect these rights are ultimately more stable, successful and secure.

Maybe true on a global scale, but the experiences of Lebanon and Israel aren’t exactly fairytales in the ME.

Didn’t talk about squaring Democracy with Islam…


Now he is…

Religious toleration, and honest persuasion: well presented.

Plz Mr. Obama sir… talk about Sunnis and Shi’as… YES!

Re: not “dictating the clothes a woman should wear”…might have avoided that. Chadors and Burkhas are horrid. I guess he probably hopes to model a non-paternalistic attitude.

You’re praising Abdullah?? F that.

Women’s rights!! Woo!… Education… good… yes!

He just spoke about how inspiring the record of Turkey, Pakistan, etc. is in electing women as leaders, implying that in that respect they are ahead of America… poor Hillary.

General observation: He’s never straight up accusatory.

Lulz: he just held up Japan as an example of how “traditions and progress” don’t need to be mutually exclusive. Yes Muslim world, you too could have such brilliantly synthetic (of progress and tradition) gameshows as this:

Now we’re back in Obama’s story… implication: the promise of opportunity to immigrate to America—or at least come to America to learn—for those who work and achieve… gonna take some pretty serious reform to the US immigration system. We’ll take them in Canada though (I, of course, speak for Canada on this issue).

C-Span player is skipping and throwing off his cadence.

He’s now shifted to addressing cynicism. Addressing young people: lots of young people in the Muslim world

(Note: this video is 100% tangential, but also hilarious… lots of unsubstantiated “According to Research…” statements; and, holy shit, over 8,000,000 views).

Closing epigraphs:

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. 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 civilisation, and that still beats in the heart of billions. It’s a faith in other people, and it’s what brought me here today.

On the compassionate element in all major religions, an excellent interview between Bill Moyers and Karen Armstrong here.

The Holy Quran 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.” 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. Now, that must be our work here on Earth.

Very good speech. I look forward to reading the reactions. Any Muslim press that anyone could recommend beyond the TV networks?


UPDATE: Jeffrey Goldberg’s reaction:

An African-American President with Muslim roots stands before the Muslim world and defends the right of Jews to a nation of their own in their ancestral homeland, and then denounces in vociferous terms the evil of Holocaust denial, and right-wing Israelis go forth and complain that the President is unsympathetic to the housing needs of settlers. Incredible, just incredible.


3 Responses to ““Liveblogging” a recording of Obama’s speech on Islam from a few hours ago”

  1. For press, I would suggest:

    Al-Arabiya (Pan-Arab, Saudi Funded)

    Al-Jazeera (Pan-Arab, Qatari Funded)

    Al-Ahram Weekly (Egyptian)

    Daily Star (Lebanese)

    All of these are English language – or have English language sites.

  2. Thanks dude.

  3. […] articles in some of the non-state controlled Arab media outlets Abdul recommended in his comment to my initial post on Obama’s […]

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