Friday, January 1, 2010

One of the Biggest Religious News Stories of 2009

According to the Religious News Service one of the biggest religious news stories of the past year was President Obama's address to the Muslim world at Cairo University on June 4th. The entire speech is located here on the White House site. Overall I see the address more as a policy presentation than as a religious statement. In short the president sought common ground between practitioners of Islam and the west, and to dispel stereotypes.

One statement in his speech needs further study and clarification, however: "Islam has a proud tradition of tolerance." Now certainly the examples he gave were indicative of the point. However, unexplored in this statement and speech is the entire history of Islam, starting with its genesis as a movement of dominance by force. Also, his selective quotes from the Koran (sorry, Mr. President, I'm not ready to preface this book with "holy" since I reserve that for the Bible) fail as well to adequately explore the statements calling for violence against unbelievers (of Islam.) It stands to reason that exploring these topics would not have engendered the applause he received that day. Still, they need to be discussed before we will have any real understanding of the impact of Islam on the west and before we can truly talk about complete coexistence and peace.

Recently I had the opportunity to view the 2006 documentary "Obsession" that was aired in the past on both CNN and FOX. Very chilling. Naturally the presentation focused, as did the President's, on "radical Islam." However, are we facing up to just how extensive the "radical" expression of this faith is? Is it really the very small minority so often claimed? Questions continue.....

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