President Obama calls for greater inter-faith harmony
Posted: Friday, June 5, 2009 7:08 pm
US President Barrack Obama used his first visit to Africa to call for religious harmony and an end to Islamic extremism often expressed violently. In his speech in Cairo yesterday, President Obama emphasized that “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.”People should come together regardless of religious and racial differences and root out extremists who threaten world peace, the President said.He declared that the US is interested in raising the economic, education scientific status of Muslim communities around the world through exchange programs.“I have come here to seek a new beginning between the United States and Muslims around the world; one based upon mutual interest and mutual respect; 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.
”His speech comes at a time that relations between the United States and the Muslim world are strained. After the September 9/11 continued efforts by extremists to engage in violence against civilians has led some Americans to view Islam as inevitably hostile.President Obama acknowledged the fact that there are nearly 7 million Muslims in America and was happy that today they enjoyed incomes and education that are higher than average.The US President called for religious tolerance, recalling his childhood experience 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.
”President Obama castigated the tendency among some Muslims 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.”The President also urged 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 pretence of liberalism.”
On the Arab-Israeli conflict in the Middle East, President Obama expressed his deep desire for lasting peace.“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; when the Holy Land of three great faiths is the place of peace that God intended it to be; 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 minglepeacefully together as in the story of Isra, when Moses, Jesus, and Mohammed (peace be upon them) joined in prayer.”Source: CISA
Francis C W Fung, Ph.D.
World Harmony Organization