Wednesday, December 1, 2010



Dear President Barack Hussein Obama,
I used the Arabic word risaalah (letter) to christen this correspondence in the spirit of the mood with which you delivered your speech, ‘Remarks on a New Beginning’ at the Cairo University to the Muslim world; a speech replete with, among others, Islamic dictums and copious quotations from the Glorious Qur’an. The first of such references you made in the Qur’an, Mr. President, was ‘Be conscious of God and speak the truth’; in Al-Ahzaab, 33:70. To my mind, you were conscious of this verse throughout the speech so you spoke the truth.
Your ambassador in Nigeria, Robin Renee Sanders, invited me (together with some religious leaders, members of civil society organisations and journalists) to participate in the viewing and roundtable discussion of the speech at the American Embassy, Abuja. I must state on the outset that I was deeply impressed at your composure, delivery and command of language with which one could not compare your predecessor’s. Also, the phraseology was different. Your speech was devoid of Mr. Bush’s polarising phrases of us-against-them or ‘war on terror’. You are worthy of the mandate you got from the American people in as much as you recognise the fact that America, like each one of us, is not perfect. Whenever a nation derails from its values, its leaders are duty bound to bring the ship of State back on its intended course. Since you have acknowledged past mistakes in US foreign policy, you should be bold enough to change and correct them. Doing that will guarantee America’s security and defeat those you called ‘extremists’... Uneven and unconditional support of Israel, invasion of Iraq/Afghanistan, establishing military bases in all parts of a so-called free world to police sovereign nations, applying multiple standards in administering justice and the Palestinian debacle are legitimate grievances oft-repeated by Usama Bin Laden and people of that ilk to recruit new mujahids who relish in hampering America’s security and interests around the world. A viable Palestinian State, as you have rightly pointed out, is in the interest of the USA, Israel and the world at large. Unless this problem is properly addressed by concrete action all these fine words about democracy, human rights and peace will be meaningless!

Many analysts faulted the choice of politically repressive Egypt as a venue for the speech. I did not. I saw your visit to Saudi Arabia on your way to Egypt, and delivering the speech at Cairo University as subtle a message to Usama Bin Laden and his able deputy Sheikh Zawahiri who are nationals of Saudia and Egypt respectively. But two things in your speech blurred the message you laboured to send Al-Qaeda (if such an organisation does in fact exist). One; you conveniently avoided the mention of Israel’s massacre and savagery during their latest invasion of Gaza in December 2008 and January 2009 when hundreds of unarmed civilians, women and children were killed. Two; the inferred conclusion in your speech, referring to Hamas, that an occupying force is never repelled by resistance. You know, Mr. President that freedom fighters throughout history used resistance against their occupiers including the United States of America who fought gallantly against the occupying Britons.
Mr. President, your long treatise on the Holocaust, killing and torture of the Jews was rendered to the wrong audience. That part of your speech should have served a better purpose in Germany, not Cairo. Jewish suffering at the hands of a sadist white supremacist regime in Germany does not justify the killing of Palestinians by the Israeli army; it is the more reason not to repeat that kind of history. Many Muslims thought you were trying to appease Israel in a speech directed to the Muslim World. Muslims do not need to be educated on the strong and unbreakable bond between Israel and the United States. Nobody is asking the duo to set such ties asunder. But it is high time America realised that Israel is not an asset but an overburdening liability! What the Muslims are saying is that if there is going to be any genuine road map for peace, America must be a neutral and even arbiter in such engagements.
My advice to you is to find ways to minimise the spreading of Islamophobia in the Western media.  A greater percentage of Americans, like many people around the world, has not travelled outside the USA. Such people do not know anything about Islam other than what the media feed them with. The American people need to know that Muslims do not hate them and they are not their enemy. The real enemies are the right-wing American Jewish Lobby in the Congress forcing the government into blind support of Israel’s state terrorism against the Palestinian people and their opposite side in the Muslim world who think it is justified to protest the killing of innocent Muslims by killing innocent non-Muslims. If the Israeli response to your Cairo speech is anything to go by, I don’t see this foe in the Congress allowing you the chance of a second term as America’s President. I’m only praying Allah to grant you the will to defy nay-sayers and match your words with action.
May Allah help you,

1.       Assalamu Alaikum Ustaz Abubakar, I compose this sms to thank you very much for educating Obama, Muslims and the human race in Leadership’s Islamic Perspective column dated 26th June ‘09. Honestly, it is a good work, may God give you wisdom and courage to contribute more for the development of Islam. Once again, thank you and God bless you and all your family Amen. From Abdullahi N. Damare Adamawa Television Yola.(08036180899)

2.       The problem is globalisation of war on terror without defining terror. Remember America said there are 64 countries with terrorists. These are of course Muslim countries that they have started attacking recklessly e.g. Somalia. America and indeed U N must define terror else such kind of attacks may continue.(08065549990)

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