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Obama's Cairo speech from June 4, 2009 analyzed - Bill Koenig

Inside the White House

The president of the United States, Barack Obama, went to Cairo, Egypt, on June 4, 2009, to deliver a message to the Muslim world.

The day before his speech, he went to Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, to meet with King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia, the world's most influential Muslim. Two of Islam's holy cities are in Mecca and Medina, Saudi Arabia.

Obama's speech was filled with major distortions of the truth about Islam, its history, the Koran and Israel.

He offered positive rhetoric to appeal to young and moderate Muslims; but reading between the lines, it's clear he has opened the border of America to Islam; and in his speech, he further legitimized Islam and the Koran to the world.

Obama's Cairo speech distortions:

Distortion of U.S.-Muslim history during the times of John Adams and Thomas Jefferson

He stated that Congressman Keith Ellison (D-Minn.), the first American Muslim representative, was sworn in using the Koran from former President Thomas Jefferson's library. However, he neglected to say Thomas Jefferson fought wars with Muslim pirates who lived by the Koran. That is why he kept a copy of it (more below).

He connected the Muslims to Jerusalem.

He called himself a Christian while honoring Islam and the Koran and speaking as though Islam shares the same God with Christianity and Judaism.

He neglected to mention that Sunni Muslims are fighting Shiite Muslims in many of the countries of the Middle East.

He neglected to say that the reason there is a Palestinian refugee issue (former Arabs of Palestine) was because the five Arab countries that attacked Israel the day after it became a state told them to leave and not come back until they had destroyed the Zionists.

He equated the Holocaust to the Palestinians' plight.

He didn't mention the corrupt Palestinian leaders.

He didn't speak of the many times that the United States has defended Muslims from other Muslims.

How did Muslims hear Obama's speech?

Obama came to them and complimented them and their religion.

Obama said Islam is a part of America.

Both moderates and radicals heard Obama's speech through the lens of Islam, and they will use it for their benefit and to further their religion throughout the world.

The most influential political leader in the world acknowledged that his father and family members were Muslims.

He spoke at one of the oldest Muslim universities in the world in order to reach out to Islam.


One-billion Muslims or more worldwide heard Obama's speech, heard about it, or read about it.

Over 1 billion people around the world heard or watched Obama reaching out to Islam and legitimizing the faith and the Koran.

There was no mention that the Saudis are funding many of the new mosques in the U.S. and funding the Middle Eastern studies departments in U.S. universities — many of which are spawning hatred of Israel.


Obama's opening statement at Al-Azhar — a Muslim University:

PRESIDENT OBAMA: Thank you very much. Good afternoon. I am honored to be in the timeless city of Cairo and to be hosted by two remarkable institutions. For over a thousand years, Al-Azhar has stood as a beacon of Islamic learning; and for over a century, Cairo University has been a source of Egypt's advancement. And together, you represent the harmony between tradition and progress.

I'm grateful for your hospitality, and the hospitality of the people of Egypt. And I'm also proud to carry with me the goodwill of the American people, and a greeting of peace from Muslim communities in my country: Assalaamu alaykum. (Applause)

Note from Wikipedia: The speech was given at Al-Azhar University in Egypt, which was founded in 975 and is the chief center of Arabic literature and Sunni Islamic learning in the world. It also is the world's second oldest surviving, degree-granting university. It is associated with Al-Azhar mosque in Islamic Cairo. The university's mission includes the propagation of Islamic religion and culture. To this end, its Islamic scholars (ulemas) render edicts (fatwas) on disputes submitted to them from all over the Sunni Islamic world regarding proper conduct for Muslim individuals or societies. Al-Azhar also trains Egyptian government appointed preachers in proselytization (da'wa).

Al-Azhar to launch Islamic TV channel dedicated to giving "the world a better understanding of Islam"

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Egypt's seat of Islamic learning, Al Azhar, will launch a satellite channel to give the world a better understanding of Islam and to counter some Islamic outlets preaching "extremist dialogue," its architects said yesterday.

Sheikh Khaled al-Guindy, a scholar at Al Azhar mosque and university, said the new channel will reach out to the world's 1.5 billion Muslims and non-Muslims alike.

"In the Age of Obama we realized it was time to look at new ways to deliver our message," Guindy said, four days before U.S. President Barack Obama visited Egypt to address the Muslim world. The launch is planned for the start of Ramadan in mid-August.

Koenig's Perspective: This announcement was given on May 31, a few days before Obama's speech. In other words, Obama's speech helped launch the new Arab TV network.


Obama has called for new beginning between the United States and Muslims:

I've come here to Cairo to seek a new beginning between the United States and Muslims around the world, one based on 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.

Koenig's Perspective: This overlap of principles is a complete distortion — pure rhetoric.


Obama spoke of moving forward, while quoting the Koran:

But I am convinced that in order to move forward, we must say openly to each other the things we hold in our hearts and that too often are said only behind closed doors. There must be a sustained effort to listen to each other; to learn from each other; to respect one another; and to seek common ground. As the Holy Koran tells us, "Be conscious of God and speak always the truth." (Applause)

That is what I will try to do today — to speak the truth as best I can, humbled by the task before us, and firm in my belief that the interests we share as human beings are far more powerful than the forces that drive us apart.

Koenig's perspective: A plug for the Koran.


Obama's Muslim experience:

Now, part of this conviction is rooted in my own experience. I'm a Christian, but my father came from a Kenyan family that includes generations of Muslims. As a boy, I spent several years in Indonesia and heard the call of the azaan at the break of dawn and at the fall of dusk. As a young man, I worked in Chicago communities where many found dignity and peace in their Muslim faith.

As a student of history, I also know civilization's debt to Islam. It was Islam — at places like Al-Azhar — that carried the light of learning through so many centuries, paving the way for Europe's Renaissance and Enlightenment.

It was innovation in Muslim communities — (applause) — it was innovation in Muslim communities that developed the order of algebra; our magnetic compass and tools of navigation; our mastery of pens and printing; our understanding of how disease spreads and how it can be healed.

Islamic culture has given us majestic arches and soaring spires; timeless poetry and cherished music; elegant calligraphy and places of peaceful contemplation.

And throughout history, Islam has demonstrated through words and deeds the possibilities of religious tolerance and racial equality. (Applause)

Koenig's Perspective: Obama distorted history in order to engage his audience.


Obama on Islam as part of America's story:

I also know that Islam has always been a part of America's story. The first nation to recognize my country was Morocco. In signing the Treaty of Tripoli in 1796, our second president, John Adams, wrote, "The United States has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion or tranquility of Muslims."

And since our founding, American Muslims have enriched the United States. They have fought in our wars, they have served in our government, they have stood for civil rights, they have started businesses, they have taught at our universities, they've excelled in our sports arenas, they've won Nobel Prizes, built our tallest building, and lit the Olympic Torch.

And when the first Muslim American was recently elected to Congress, he took the oath to defend our Constitution using the same Holy Koran that one of our Founding Fathers — Thomas Jefferson — kept in his personal library. (Applause)

Koenig's Perspective: He should have given some names and specifics. Once again, he delivered more distortions.

From the article, "Thomas Jefferson, Ben Franklin, John Adams and James Madison: Young America's Fight with Islamism," by Andrew Walden:

In light of the reference to the 1796 "Treaty of Tripoli" in Obama's Cairo speech:

Obama stated: "In signing the Treaty of Tripoli in 1796, our second President John Adams wrote, 'The United States has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion or tranquility of Muslims.'" (Obama took the words out of context; they are underlined.)

Articles 10 and 11 from the 1796 "Treaty of Tripoli":

"Art. 10. The money and presents demanded by the Dey of Tripoli, as a full and satisfactory consideration on his part, and on the part of his subjects, for this treaty of perpetual peace and friendship, are acknowledged to have been received by him previous to his signing the same, according to a receipt which is hereto annexed, except such as part as is promised, on the part of the United States, to be delivered and paid by them on the arrival of their Consul in Tripoli; of which part a note is likewise hereto annexed. And no pretense of any periodical tribute of further payments is ever to be made by either party.

"Art. 11. As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion; as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion, or tranquility, of Mussulmen [Muslims]; and, as the said States never entered into any war, or act of hostility against any Mahometan nation, it is declared by the parties, that no pretext arising from religious opinions, shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries." (Section read by Obama in italics. Sections violated by Barbary States underlined.)

Koenig's perspective: These articles in the treaty speak of ransom money paid to the Muslim pirates, and the appeasement statement is not the way Obama used the example. This is gross distortion and a bad reflection on the U.S. when the Muslims were the culprits and the thieves.

Andrew Walden further wrote:

America has been fighting Islamists for longer than many people realize. Even before independence was declared, American ships were pirated, and their Christian crews enslaved, by Muslim pirates operating under the control of "Dey of Algiers" — an Ottoman Islamist warlord ruling Algeria.

When the colonists rebelled against British rule in 1776, American ships lost Royal Navy protection. A Revolutionary War-era alliance with France offered French protection to U.S. ships, but it expired in 1783. Immediately, U.S. ships came under attack; and in October 1784, the American trader "Betsey" was taken by Moroccan forces. This was followed with Algerians and Libyans (Tripolitans) capturing two more U.S. ships in 1785.

Lacking the ability to project U.S. naval force in the Mediterranean, America tried appeasement. In 1784, Congress agreed to fund tributes and ransoms in order to rescue U.S. ships and buy the freedom of enslaved American sailors.

In 1786, Thomas Jefferson, then U.S. ambassador to France, and John Adams, then American ambassador to Britain, met in London with Sidi Haji Abdul Rahman Adja, the Dey's ambassador to Britain, in an attempt to negotiate a peace treaty based on Congress' vote of funding. To Congress, these two future presidents later reported the reasons for the Muslims' hostility towards America, a nation with which they had no previous contacts.

"… that it was founded on the Laws of their Prophet, that it was written in their Koran, that all nations who should not have acknowledged their authority were sinners, that it was their right and duty to make war upon them wherever they could be found, and to make slaves of all they could take as Prisoners, and that every Musselman (Muslim) who should be slain in Battle was sure to go to Paradise."

By 1800, the annual tribute and ransom payments first agreed in the mid-1780s (and supposedly ended under the 1796 Treaty of Tripoli) amounted to about $1 million — 20 percent of the federal budget. (For fiscal year 2007, 20 percent of U.S. revenues would equal $560 billion.)

In May, 1801, Yussif Karamanli, the Pasha of Tripoli, declared war on America by chopping down the flagpole in front of the U.S. Consulate. Seventeen years after appeasement and tribute payments had begun, President Thomas Jefferson led America into the First Barbary War.

Note: John Quincy Adams, "Christianity—Islamism: Unsigned essays dealing with the Russo-Turkish War, and on Greece," originally published in The American Annual Register for 1827-1829 (New York, 1830), Chs. X-XIV: 267—402.

You would think that the evidence of knowledge from the past would mean that Islam was a known enemy, but it has not been taught so. Thomas Jefferson fought wars with Muslim pirates who lived by the Koran. That is why he kept a copy of it. The wars he fought were called the Barbary Wars, from 1801-1805. They were to free Americans taken as slaves from American merchant ships.

The government spent millions of dollars to get them back at a time when private citizens were financing much of the government from their own pockets, with little or no reimbursements! AND it was the first time a president (Jefferson) initiated a war without Congress approval, so it was very controversial. He did it while they were adjourned. But the Americans were freed in the end. Jefferson knew from 1801-1805, and Adams knew in 1827, the same thing!


Obama on a partnership with Islam:

"So I have known Islam on three continents before coming to the region where it was first revealed. That experience guides my conviction that partnership between America and Islam must be based on what Islam is, not what it isn't. And I consider it part of my responsibility as president of the United States to fight against negative stereotypes of Islam wherever they appear." (Applause)

Koenig's perspective: What is Islam? Look at the Koran which guides this religion — and look at its history of relationships not only with others but with various internal factions. Why should the president of the United States be responsible to fight against negative stereotypes of Islam wherever they appear?


Obama on his name, Barack Hussein Obama:

"Now, much has been made of the fact that an African American with the name Barack Hussein Obama could be elected president. (Applause) But my personal story is not so unique. The dream of opportunity for all people has not come true for everyone in America, but its promise exists for all who come to our shores — and that includes nearly 7 million American Muslims in our country today who, by the way, enjoy incomes and educational levels that are higher than the American average. (Applause)

Moreover, freedom in America is indivisible from the freedom to practice one's religion. That is why there is a mosque in every state in our union and over 1,200 mosques within our borders. That's why the United States government has gone to court to protect the right of women and girls to wear the hijab and to punish those who would deny it. (Applause)

Koenig's perspective: Obama never uses Hussein in the U.S., but he does when he speaks to Muslim audiences.

Also, 7 million U.S. Muslims is a gross exaggeration. Daniel Pipes wrote: "A good round estimate is that Muslims make up just under 1 percent of the U.S. population or in the neighborhood of 3 million people." (April 22, 2003)


Obama said Islam is a part of America:

"So let there be no doubt: Islam is a part of America. And I believe that America holds within her the truth that regardless of race, religion, or station in life, all of us share common aspirations — to live in peace and security; to get an education and to work with dignity; to love our families, our communities and our God."

Koenig's perspective: This is Obama's unofficial opening of the door of America to a greater involvement of Islam. Can you imagine Adams, Jefferson, Franklin, other founding fathers or previous presidents stating that Islam is part of America?


Obama on the Koran:

And that's why we're partnering with a coalition of 46 countries. And despite the costs involved, America's commitment will not weaken. Indeed, none of us should tolerate these extremists. They have killed in many countries. They have killed people of different faiths — but more than any other, they have killed Muslims. Their actions are irreconcilable with the rights of human beings, the progress of nations, and with Islam. The Holy Koran teaches that whoever kills an innocent is as — it is as if he has killed all mankind. (Applause)

And the Holy Koran also says whoever saves a person, it is as if he has saved all mankind. (Applause) The enduring faith of over a billion people is so much bigger than the narrow hatred of a few. Islam is not part of the problem in combating violent extremism — it is an important part of promoting peace.

Former President John Quincy Adams on the Koran

As Andrew Boston wrote in Front Page Magazine: John Quincy Adams possessed a remarkably clear, uncompromised understanding of the permanent Islamic institutions of jihad war and dhimmitude. Regarding jihad, Adams stated in his essay series:

"… he [Muhammad] declared undistinguishing and exterminating war, as a part of his religion, against all the rest of mankind …

The precept of the Koran is, perpetual war against all who deny, that Mahomet is the prophet of God."


Obama on America's strong bonds with Israel:

The second major source of tension that we need to discuss is the situation between Israelis, Palestinians and the Arab world.

America's strong bonds with Israel are well known. This bond is unbreakable. It is based upon cultural and historical ties, and the recognition that the aspiration for a Jewish homeland is rooted in a tragic history that cannot be denied.

Around the world, the Jewish people were persecuted for centuries, and anti-Semitism in Europe culminated in an unprecedented Holocaust. Tomorrow, I will visit Buchenwald, which was part of a network of camps where Jews were enslaved, tortured, shot and gassed to death by the Third Reich. Six million Jews were killed — more than the entire Jewish population of Israel today. Denying that fact is baseless, it is ignorant and it is hateful.

Threatening Israel with destruction — or repeating vile stereotypes about Jews — is deeply wrong, and only serves to evoke in the minds of Israelis this most painful of memories while preventing the peace that the people of this region deserve.