from the founder of the Jerusalem Prayer Team
President Barack Obama addressed the world’s Muslim population Wednesday at a joint session of Al-Azhar University and Cairo University in Cairo, Egypt. He greeted the assembly by saying, “assalaamu alaykum.” The question now becomes: Did the President know exactly what he was saying, or did he like John Kennedy in Berlin commit a linguistic faux pas? Did Mr. Obama understand the veiled meaning behind the words of his greeting or did ignorance of the Muslim language prevail?
One Muslim website explains the greeting this way: “When Islam came, Allaah prescribed that the manner of greeting among Muslims should be “Assalaamu alaykum” and that this greeting should only be used among Muslims and not for other nations...do not single out anybody out of arrogance or to impress them, but do it to honour the symbols of Islam and to foster Islamic brotherhood.”
The president then set out to deliver a speech that would, according to the White House, foment “A New Beginning” in relations between the Muslim world and the U.S. I feel a little like I’ve just bought a new car from a now-defunct dealership: I know I’ve been had, but I’m not yet sure how.
Mr. Obama touched on many issues in his speech and although he had said he would not, he proffered veiled apologies for U.S. actions in Iraq and Afghanistan. He singled out the attackers on 9/11, but failed to target the extremists who continue both to attack Israel and to resist any peace efforts. He said the Palestinians "have endured the pain of dislocation. 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." He did not bother to add that the majority of the so-called peace treaties had been broken by calls for jihad and the resulting terrorist attacks.
The president failed to take the opportunity to recount the good that Americans have done worldwide – in Bosnia, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, etc. He failed to remind the Muslim people that Israel was not a last-minute idea of some government official who felt the survivors of the Holocaust needed a place to go. Indeed, it was the Jews who had been exiled from the land. It was the only land in which the children of Israel had ever been sovereign; and the land to which they prayed fervently to return. That would not have played well to the house in Cairo.
The president called upon his ancestry to prove his sincerity before the students from the two universities. He talked of his life in Indonesia as a child: “Much has been made of the fact that an African-American with the name Barack Hussein Obama could be elected President.” In deference to his worldview that “there are many paths to the same place” Mr. Obama quoted four times from the Koran and once from the Holy Bible, and once from the Talmud.
Obama gave advance notice to U.S. enemies in the Middle East when he said, “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.” He added that it is his plan to withdraw all American troops by 2012, an open invitation to Iran to plan the subjugation of its neighbor.
We must continue to call on President Obama to stand with Israel and not to abandon our long-time ally to the terrorist regimes surrounding it.
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Your ambassador to Jerusalem,