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June 2nd, 2009
01:29 PM ET

Obama must speak to young Muslims

[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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soundoff (3 Responses)
  1. JIM S CALIFORNIA

    It won;t do any good trying to speak with young muslims. It is a historical fact that you can't win hearts and minds or negotiate with muslims. It is like talking to a brick wall. Since I believe Obama is a muslim, he should know it. The only things muslims understand is brute force. How do you think Saddam Hussein stayed inpower for over 40 years. I don't recall hearing about any terrorists attacks on him during that period. It is a historical fact that muslims were attacking Christian countries for the past 1300 years and prior to that when they were Persians. Everybody knows about the war monger Xerxes who attacked Greec at Thermopylae

    June 2, 2009 at 7:14 pm |
  2. DawnL,CA

    "Feels their pain?" How about our pain. Sept.11,2001;US Cole;Daniel Pearl; US Embassys; the first world trade center bombing. Have I left anything out?Oh yes. Plus I voted for Obama. Please let the Muslims know all the good the US has done over the years-not only our mistakes.

    June 2, 2009 at 4:38 pm |
  3. lam0nt Austin

    Finally a pro-active president. You repubs are the party of "no" you wouldve never tried or thought of doing what Obama is about to do on thursday. Im sure Obama will get some muslims to understand a new way and relationship with us here that will be more productive than just the continuation of breeding hate against the U.S.

    I cant wait to hear the idiotic criticism's of the right-wing when this happens.

    Lamont Austin
    Tucson AZ

    June 2, 2009 at 2:51 pm |