It is a common refrain about this president: He’s too friendly toward Islam. You’ll be hard-pressed to hear him say anything negative.
Yesterday, the usual suspect overlooked the fact Obama is just now–seven years into his presidency–visiting an American mosque, to criticize the mosque’s former imam. It is the normal guilt-by-association nonsense.
What follows is a transcript of the president’s remarks at the opening of a new Islamic Center. “Mr. Ambassador” refers to His Excellency, the Ambassador of Saudi Arabia, Sheikh Abdullah Al-Khayyal, President of the Islamic Center’s Board of Governors. “Dr. Bisar” is Dr. Mohamed Bisar, Director of the Center.
I encourage you to read this entire post very carefully.
Mr. Ambassador, Dr. Bisar, Governors of the Islamic Center, and distinguished guests:
It is a privilege to take part in this ceremony of dedication. Meeting with you now, in front of one of the newest and most beautiful buildings in Washington, it is fitting that we re-dedicate ourselves to the peaceful progress of all men under one God.
And I should like to assure you, my Islamic friends, that under the American Constitution, under American tradition, and in American hearts, this Center, this place of worship, is just as welcome as could be a similar edifice of any other religion. Indeed, America would fight with her whole strength for your right to have here your own church and worship according to your own conscience.
This concept is indeed a part of America, and without that concept we would be something else than what we are.
The countries which have sponsored and built this Islamic Center have for centuries contributed to the building of civilization. With their traditions of learning and rich culture, the countries of Islam have added much to the advancement of mankind. Inspired by a sense of brotherhood, common to our innermost beliefs, we can here together reaffirm our determination to secure the foundation of a just and lasting peace.
Our country has long enjoyed a strong bond of friendship with the Islamic nations and, like all healthy relationships, this relationship must be mutually beneficial.
Civilization owes to the Islamic world some of its most important tools and achievements. From fundamental discoveries in medicine to the highest planes of astronomy, the Muslim genius has added much to the culture of all peoples. That genius has been a wellspring of science, commerce and the arts, and has provided for all of us many lessons in courage and in hospitality.
This fruitful relationship between peoples, going far back into history, becomes more important each year. Today, thousands of Americans, both private individuals and governmental officials, live and work–and grow in understanding–among the peoples of Islam.
At the same time, in our country, many from the Muslim lands–students, businessmen and representatives of states–are enjoying the benefits of experience among the people of this country. From these many personal contacts, here and abroad, I firmly believe that there will be a broader understanding and a deeper respect for the worth of all men; and a stronger resolution to work together for the good of mankind.
As I stand beneath these graceful arches, surrounded on every side by friends from far and near, I am convinced that our common goals are both right and promising. Faithful to the demands of justice and of brotherhood, each working according to the lights of his own conscience, our world must advance along the paths of peace.
Guided by this hope, I consider it a great personal and official honor to open the Islamic Center, and I offer my congratulations to its sponsors and my best wishes to all who enter into its use.
Thank you very much.
Talk about your basic pandering to Islam! Man.
But, “this president” was not Barack Obama. It was Dwight D. Eisenhower. The address above was given June 28, 1957. Notice Ike’s belief in a single God for Muslims and Christians (a belief shared by Obama and George W. Bush), the comments on Islamic impact on civilization, and the “advancement of mankind.”
How many who criticize Obama for “pandering” to Islam would say the same thing about Eisenhower? How many who’ve questioned Obama’s praise of Islam’s historic contributions to civilization (as I saw from a pastor on Facebook recently) would question Eisenhower’s knowledge of history and his general agreement with Obama’s assessment?
Would Obama be criticized for taking the presidential seal into an Islamic Center, i.e., a mosque?
Eisenhower did it.
The Eisenhower’s shoes, removed as a sign of respect. I cannot even fathom the outrage if the Obamas were pictured at a mosque having removed his shoes.
What about the Muslim Brotherhood in the White House? See: Eisenhower.
There is almost no criticism made of Obama in relation to Islam that cannot also be made of multiple other presidents. My deliberate conflation of the two presidents is an examination of the limited knowledge or selective lack of memory some have about our history.
The full text of Obama’s remarks are at the White House website. It’s a speech, by the way, in which Obama draws distinctions between his Christian faith and Islam at least three times. It’s a speech in which Obama challenges Muslims to address extremism. It’s a speech that calls for personal responsibility, and freedom of worship. In other words, it’s a speech Conservatives ought to commend.