By TwoCircles.net News Desk
New Delhi: Muslims have welcomed US President Barack Obama’s overtures to the Muslim World in his Cairo speech today wherein he raised various issues from peace in Middle East, Israel-Palestine relations, Muslim democracies and education of Muslim women.
The All India Muslim Majlis-e Mushawarat, the umbrella body of Indian Muslim organisations, welcomed Obama’s overtures to the Muslim World. The AIMMM President Dr Zafarul-Islam Khan said in a statement here that President Obama has “opened a new leaf with the Muslim World after eight long and agonising years of Bush presidency which sought a totally unnecessary clash with the World of Islam which shares with the United States of America many of its cherished ideals like freedom, brotherhood and equality.”
Dr Khan said: “President Obama’s plans for a new engagement with the Muslim World, especially through investment in education and healthcare, is welcome but one has to wait and watch what will be possible for a tottering American economy.” President Obama’s announcement of a timetable for withdrawal in the near future from Iraq and Afghanistan too is welcome but we will believe it only when we see it happen, Dr Khan said.
Dr Khan, however, said that President Obama failed to acknowledge that while Iran has signed the NPT, Israel has not done so while keeping a huge stockpile of nuclear warheads. Dr Khan added that President Obama was rather mild on Israel and did not tell us what he proposes to do if Israel rejects peace with its neighbours and continues to subjugate Palestinians and occupy their land.
Rasheed Ahmed, President, Indian Muslim Council -USA (IMC-USA) has also welcomed Obama’s approach to dealing with issues that directly concern Muslims and Americans.
“I have heard president Obama's speech in its entirety; I welcome his candid approach to dealing with tough issues, specially issues that directly concern Muslims and Americans. I hope he takes some concrete steps to reinforce what he stated,” said Rasheed Ahmed.
Indian Muslim Council-USA is reaching out to Obama administration to impress the importance of including over 15% of the Muslims that live in India in this discourse and a possible engagement, Ahmed said.
“15% is a large portion of Muslims to leave out. Indian Muslims have great expereince of living in a multi-cultural, democratic nation and a long standing relationship with rest of the Muslim world that will contribute positively towards what the president says he is trying to accomplish,” he added.
Talking to TwoCircles.net BBC Delhi correspondent Iqbal Ahmed and IBN7 TV Channel reporter Ehtesham Khan said they are much impressed with Obama’s candid and positive approach to the Muslim World.
“He was talking from the heart and he was more or less balanced on various issues including Iran, Iraq and Israel-Palestine relations,” says Iqbal referring to Obama’s speech. He got much applause very much in the beginning when he started his speech saying Assalamu Alaikum.
“I appreciate his approach to Islam and America when he says “there is no competition between Islam and America, there is no rivalry between the two,” says Iqbal adding that Obama counted the contributions of Islam to human civilization. Obama acknowledged that Morocco was the first country to recognize America after it got liberation from the British Empire.
On Palestine issue his approach was also positive, says Iqbal. “He compared the conditions of Palestinians with the slaves in America in the past.” He said and while accepting the humiliations of Palestine he also said Israel has right to exist. In the entire speech, Obama didn’t use the word terrorism.
Young IBN7 TV Channel reporter Ehtasham Khan also welcomes Obama’s speech. Ehtesham appreciates Obama’s stress on the need of genuine democracy in the Muslim World.
“He raised various issues like human rights, women rights and democracy in his speech. Though sometimes one might be feeling that he was lecturing the Islamic World, his speech should be taken in positive spirit,” says Ehtesham.