Obama: Freedom or Islam?

White House panders to Muslims instead of pushing American values

The Washington Times

PRAYERS: Members of the hard-line group Islam Defenders Front gather by portraits of Osama bin Laden and President Obama in Jakarta, Indonesia, during prayers Wednesday for the al Qaeda leader killed by U.S. forces in Pakistan. Mr. Obama is scheduled to meet Thursday with Sept. 11 families in New York. (Associated Press)

President Obama is trying to hit the reset button on his outreach efforts to the world’s Muslims. He would do better to focus on aggressively promoting freedom rather than pandering to Islam.

The first round of outreach – kicked off by Mr. Obama’s June 2009 speech in Cairo – was a spectacular failure. Opinion polling on sentiment towards the United States in countries with Muslim majorities showed an initial burst of enthusiasm, followed in 2010 by a collapse. In some cases, Muslim approval of America fell to levels lower than during the waning days of the George W. Bush administration.

Now the White House is using the timing of Osama bin Laden’s death to argue that al Qaeda’s violent approach to political change is passe, and that the popular uprisings sweeping the Middle East represent the wave of the future. However, al Qaeda already has answered this argument. In the Spring 2011 edition of the terror group’s English-language magazine Inspire, the lead editorial by Yahya Ibrahim notes that a “line that is being pushed by Western leaders is that because the protests in Egypt and Tunisia were peaceful, they proved al Qaeda – which calls for armed struggle – to be wrong. That is another fallacy. Al Qaeda is not against regime changes through protests but it is against the idea that the change should be only through peaceful means to the exclusion of the use of force.”

The editorial continues at The Washington Times.

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