The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, 202-488-8787 or 202-744-7726, E-Mail:

U.S. Muslims Seek Policy Initiatives in President's Cairo Address

CAIR: ‘This decisive moment in history requires clarity of purpose and a commitment to practical action’


A prominent national Islamic civil rights and advocacy organization
today released an open letter to President Obama and to the Muslim
world offering specific policy recommendations for the president's
historic address in Cairo on June 4th.

In the open letter, Nihad Awad, national executive director of the Washington-based Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) wrote in part: (For an Arabic translation of the open letter, click here.)

"As you prepare for your historic address to the
Muslim world in Cairo on June 4th, I would like to offer an American
Muslim perspective on what governments, leaders and individuals can do
to improve the prospects for international peace and prosperity.

an American, I will first focus on what you can do to help repair
relations with the Muslim world that have suffered such damage in
recent years. Your statements since the inauguration have raised the
level of hope for real change in our nation's foreign and domestic

"It is imperative that your positive statements
now be backed up with concrete policy initiatives that will help move
us all toward a more peaceful and prosperous future. Otherwise, we as a
nation risk wasting the good will that has been garnered by your
ongoing outreach to Muslims.

"First, America must champion
political and religious freedom, human rights, the growth and
stabilization of democratic institutions, and respect for the rule of
law for everyone, not just those we favor. For too long, we have
claimed to be champions of freedom and democracy, while turning a blind
eye to repression, occupation and authoritarian rule. We must hold
every nation, even those we regard as allies, to a uniform standard of
justice and equality. No other action will do more to restore America's
international reputation...

"As an American Muslim, I ask
leaders, governments and individuals in the Islamic world to make
similar changes and to implement similar reforms.

government, civic and religious leaders must foster a culture of
respect for human and minority rights, political and religious dissent,
freedom of expression, and the rule of law.

"Governments in
the Muslim world must encourage full political participation in systems
of government that abide by the separation of powers and are held in
check by independent judiciaries. Leaders and individuals in Muslim
nations must also respect the results of free and fair elections.

entities in the Muslim world must seek partnership with elected
officials and other leaders in each society exclusively through
peaceful means...

"True peace and understanding will only come
when we all - Muslims, Christians, Jews, and people of other faiths and
philosophies - cast off the prejudices and preconceptions of the past
to engage each other based on what we have in common, not on what has
separated us for so long.

"I ask you to accept this advice
in the sincere spirit it is given and I hope your address in Cairo will
help change the direction of our world from the path to conflict to
that of peace and reconciliation.

"As you stated in your
inaugural address, a new way forward in partnership with the Muslim
world must be based on 'mutual interest and mutual respect.'

decisive moment in history requires clarity of purpose and a commitment
to practical action that will lead to real change."

The full text of the open letter,
including other specific suggested policy initiatives for America and
for the Muslim world, is available online. (For an Arabic translation
of the open letter, click here.)

The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) is a grassroots civil rights and advocacy group. CAIR is America's largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to enhance understanding of Islam, protect civil rights, promote justice, and empower American Muslims.

(202) 488-8787