[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/POLITICS/06/02/obama.trip/art.presidentobama.gi.jpg caption="President Obama will give a crucial speech in Cairo, Egypt, on Thursday."]
Fawaz A. Gerges
Special to CNN
In his speech Thursday to the Muslim world from Egypt, President Obama must seize the moment to stress that the U.S. is not at war with Islam, to appeal to millions of young men and women burdened by economic hardship and political oppression, and to help broker an Arab-Israeli peace settlement.
To be effective, the president must simultaneously address not only thorny regional conflicts but also the fears, hopes and aspirations of young Muslims for a better life.
The challenge facing Obama is to strike a balance between foreign policy concerns and bread-and-butter issues and to convince the youth, by far the largest constituency, that America feels their pain, supports their participation and inclusion in political and social life, and opposes the violation of their human rights, period.
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