Metro Detroiters Praise Obama's Speech On Islam

June 4, 2009

Author: Gregg Krupa

Source: The Detroit News

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Across Metro Detroit and elsewhere people responded positively to what President Obama said in Cairo today, in a major speech on Islam and resolving problems in the Middle East and South Asia.

But, also with unanimity, those who heard the speech said the most important thing is what happens next.

"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," Obama said, setting the tone for moving forward. "Instead, they overlap, and share common principles -- principles of justice and progress; tolerance and the dignity of all human beings."

"I think it was a very good speech and a step in the right direction -- a giant step, actually," said Osama Siblani, chairman of the Congress of Arab American Organizations, which held a press conference in Dearborn this morning to discuss the speech..

"However, we are dealing with a technical crowd that has seen administrations come and go, make promises, speak on issues and not deliver," said Siblani, referring to Arab and Muslim Americans, and Arabs and Muslims overseas. "Things did not happen, and now we are at the point in the region where we are very far from seeing a Palestinian state and the conditions in the region are deteriorating and the Palestinians are suffering the most because of it."

Israeli officials also praised the speech, but said the results of America's best intentions will be determined as part of a process that is likely to take some time.