Home
In this issue
April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review June 2, 2009 / 10 Sivan 5769

Innocent or ‘Infidel’ Abroad?

By Cal Thomas


Printer Friendly Version
Email this article

http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | President Obama faces numerous challenges as he heads to Cairo this week for a much-anticipated speech to the Muslim world.


At best there are mixed feelings in the region. Mohammed Habib, deputy leader of the radical Muslim Brotherhood, said the president's trip "will be useless unless it is preceded by real change in the policies of the U.S. administration toward the Arab and Islamic world," while Egypt's opposition party, Al-Wafd, says the visit constitutes reconciliation with Cairo.


While the president will arrive in Egypt with the usual trappings of American power — big jet, motorcade, entourage and security — it is possible he could emerge looking weak to those he most wants to impress. European leaders, especially French President Nicolas Sarkozy, have tried winning Muslim friends and their efforts have gotten them nowhere. When the French government put its foot down over head scarves in public schools, many Muslims withdrew, placing their children in Islamic schools. Muslims remain mostly segregated — physically and culturally — from French society despite government efforts to integrate them.


For insights on President Obama's journey and Muslim thinking, I turned to Dr. Ergun Caner, president of Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary in Lynchburg, Va. Dr. Caner, the son of a Turkish Muslim leader, became a Christian shortly before entering college, an experience that has produced numerous death threats.


FREE SUBSCRIPTION TO INFLUENTIAL NEWSLETTER

Every weekday NewsAndOpinion.com publishes what many in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". HUNDREDS of columnists and cartoonists regularly appear. Sign up for the daily update. It's free. Just click here.

What advice would he give Obama? He replies, "When you're trying to address the Muslim world, they want you to acquiesce to them. They don't want to make any kind of overtures to our culture because that would be a sign of weakness on their part."


What can the president say that would produce a response in the best interests of the United States? "He should call on Muslim nations to recognize Israel," he says.


They'll find oil in Israel first. The secretary-general of the Arab League, Amr Moussa, said last week that full diplomatic recognition of Israel "is not on the table" and talk about it (presumably including talk by Jordan's King Abdullah who recently mentioned a "57-state solution" to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict) is "inaccurate."


There is an uneven approach to Middle East politics. Arab states think the United States tilts unfairly toward Israel, but it is Israel that is on the receiving end of pressure to do more and relinquish more land, though it gets nothing in return each time it has done so. President Obama recently called on Israel to stop building new "settlements." In Cairo, what will he ask radical Muslims to stop doing? How about ending suicide bombings and other violent acts against civilians? Would he ask groups like Hezbollah and Hamas to revoke charters calling for Israel's destruction as the will of G-d?


"There have only been three times in history when Muslims have been united," says Dr. Caner. "One was 100 years after the death of Mohammed; the second was during the Crusades and they're united now. It's the reason Iran has become more dangerous…"


The president has said he can identify with Muslims because he grew up in Indonesia, the world's largest Muslim nation. Does that cut him any slack with Muslims? Dr. Caner says it depends. "The question is: was he raised a Christian in the Muslim world, or was he a Muslim? In Islam, if your father is a Muslim, you are, too. If Muslims see him as a convert, that hurts him. I think he should not mention being raised as a Muslim. From the U.S. perspective, it doesn't help us at all. The ultimate question is: do Muslims recognize him as having been raised Muslim and, if so, that could actually work in his favor. But if he is seen as a professing Christian, it doesn't help us."


The president is entitled to make the case he promoted during the campaign that talking is better than isolation and fighting and if talking can prevent fighting, it is worth trying. But, as Dr. Caner told me, the president will have to demand concessions from Muslim nations, or the trip is unlikely to bear any fruit.


The real question is: will President Obama be viewed as an innocent abroad, or as an infidel? For some groups within Islam, leaving the faith is considered a capital crime punishable by death. The president will have a Herculean task to overcome a perception many Muslims will hold no matter how smoothly he talks and no matter what he says.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.


BUY THE BOOK
Click HERE to purchase it at a discount. (Sales help fund JWR.).

Cal Thomas Archives

JWR contributor Cal Thomas is co-author with Bob Beckel, a liberal Democratic Party strategist, of "Common Ground: How to Stop the Partisan War That is Destroying America". Comment by clicking here.

© 2006, Tribune Media Services, Inc.

Columnists

Toons

Lifestyles