"To the Muslim World"

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Fawaz Gerges, professor in Middle East and International Affairs at Sarah Lawrence College, and Endy Bayuni, chief editor of the Jakarta Post, comment on the Middle East and Muslim world's reactions to Obama's inaugural address.


Endy Bayuni and Fawaz Gerges

Comments [14]

samir from Bay Ridge

'The World' Against Obama
Bloomberg sends a team of reporters to places ruled by anti-American regimes--Gaza, Iran, Venezuela--and also to Pakistan, to get reaction to President Obama's inauguration. Surprise, surprise, the quotes it collects are still anti-American:

In Venezuela, where President Hugo Chavez repeatedly threatened to cut off oil exports to the U.S. during George W. Bush's administration for supposedly engaging in internal meddling and plots to remove him from power, Maira Rios says she sees little difference between Obama and his predecessor.
Obama "is a black Bush," Rios, a 50-year-old former city worker, said. . . .
In Gaza City's Daraj quarter, Abdel Karim Saleh, 48, struggled to listen to the inauguration over the clanking noise from a generator chained to a wall outside his home. He lost power as a result of the three-week war with Israel that was halted by a cease-fire this week.
Saleh sat in a living room adorned with posters of Sheikh Ahmed Yassin and Abdel Aziz Rantisi, leaders of the Hamas movement--considered a terrorist organization by the U.S.--who were assassinated by Israel in 2004. Jews, he said, control America, and Obama won't change its alliance with Israel.
"America has to understand that Islam is the solution and the world sooner or later is going to turn into an Islamic world," Saleh said.

Sorry, Saleh, we are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus--and nonbelievers.
And we like it that way.

If you want to convert the world to Islam, why not start with Venezuela?

Jan. 21 2009 05:36 PM
Hope from ny ny

marc, that's so sad for you. maybe next time he'll mention sci fi fans.

Jan. 21 2009 12:28 PM
samir from Bay Ridge

in Iran, Islamist protesters burn flags, photos and.....and they still stone women.

If I were Obama, I'd see being burned by Iranian Islamists as a badge of pride.

(When Maryam Ayoobi a 32-year old Iranian woman was told of the high court’s final decision on her sentence, she fainted. The magistrate court had sentenced her to death by stoning for adultery. Mrs Ayoobi had appealed against the decision and waited with hope for the outcome. On the beginning of March 2001, The high court approved the previous sentence adding that her body should be burned after her death. This means the most extreme form of punishment in the Islamic law.)

This notwithstanding, many in Iran are anti the Mullahs and pro-American.

Unfortunately, they're not in power.

Jan. 21 2009 12:26 PM
Cheryl from ny ny

Thanks "Barry"!

Jan. 21 2009 12:25 PM
Allison Keys from Ho Ho Kus, NJ

Obama is good, but he's slightly off the mark, just enough to make you not want to canonize him just yet -- for instance, Rick Warren, chose to Recite 3 different names for his personal savior. Did the maudlin quality of his admission even outdo the inappropriate nature of his specifically detailing his own idol worship? Yet, worse than that, it was Obama who picked this car wreck. And we had to listen to it. I don't think that any other presidents would have allowed it. The fact that Obama can overlook it, or miss it when approving such saccharine, evolving into nausea inducing inappropriately offensive dogma, shows perhaps what will be one of his biggest upcoming flaws: either a colossally poor lack of judgment, or more surprising, not being plugged in enough to subtleties, and therefore betraying his own better kept unpublished private sentiments and allegiances.

Jan. 21 2009 12:25 PM
DB from Hoboken, NJ

Brian mentioned photos of Obama being burned in Iran. I saw this on CNN and they pointed out that this occurred at a protest of the war in Gaza (and probably against Israel and the U.S.); it had nothing to do with Obama and his inauguration. I think CNN said that Bush's photo was burned too.

Jan. 21 2009 12:03 PM
marc from brooklyn

i love obama. but why are those who don't embrace religion labelled non-believers? i believe in lots of things, like science, just not myths like the bible.

Jan. 21 2009 11:58 AM
barry from Manhattan

"The frist time in History we haven't been referred to as Muslim Terrorists"
Thanks for the outreach!

Jan. 21 2009 11:56 AM
Marco from New York

I lived in Indonesia - as did young Obama. The problem in the Muslim world can largely be traced in Indonesia as well as elsewhere to the pernicious effect of the Wahabbists who finance their intolerant brand of Islam through their madrassas and mosques.

Jan. 21 2009 11:51 AM
barry from Manhattan

I think there will be a difference between approaches.
I fear Obama will be pulling back, the problem is that 5th Gen warfare (terrorism) is on the rise. It's prime users are radical Muslim fundamentalist who have a long view of this war.
If Obama doesn't continue the Long War (COIN) we will be back in the ME in force in 8 or 10 years.
Hopefully Obama can get China, India and other rising powers involved in pushing back against the 15 century lovers.

Jan. 21 2009 11:48 AM
samir from Bay Ridge

#1 -- exact quote is:

"To those who cling to power through corruption and deceit and the silencing of dissent, know that you are on the wrong side of history; but that we will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist."

Obama's "new era of peace" is not all that different from Bush's "ultimate goal of ending tyranny in this world."

Both presidents proclaimed the universality of America's ideals: Just as Bush said that "every man and woman on this earth has rights, and dignity, and matchless value," so Obama asserts that "we cannot help but believe that the old hatreds shall someday pass; that the lines of tribe shall soon dissolve"--as they have in America, a nation that once enslaved blacks and has now inaugurated a black president.

Jan. 21 2009 11:41 AM
barry from Manhattan

Obama's comment about building was central to continuing the "march of freedom" in hte Middle East.
I mean, when will Saudi Arabia help Gaza build it's own power station? (For starters)

There is a new Democracy call Iraq that will be central to the continued transformation of the Middle East

Jan. 21 2009 11:36 AM

The fist line was great, and I also liked:

"To those leaders around the globe who seek to sow conflict, or blame their society's ills on the West — know that your people will judge you on what you can build, not what you destroy."

Which is a positive appeal not just to the leaders, but to the people themselves, to give them a positive ideal to look towards.

Jan. 21 2009 11:19 AM
Peter Richards from West Village NYC

This speech was what we needed for this day, at this time. Not florid rhetoric, a but down-to-earth 'lets get to work and clean up this mess' directive and call to action. The phrase,(paraphrased?) "we will extend a hand if you will open your fist" is memorable, poetic, and a brilliant symbol of how this administration will be different from the last.

Jan. 21 2009 11:13 AM

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