U.S. President Barack Obama will address Muslims worldwide today, at a university in Cairo. The speech is seen by many to be a necessary and long-awaited exercise in reconciliation, and also a daunting challenge. The policies and wars of Obama’s predecessor, George Bush, are still a source of much resentment to many in Muslim communities worldwide.
Obama’s speech will emphasise the need to maintain political stability, but this has left him vulnerable to criticism. His critics will argue that he could do more to further democracy in states where it is yet a realistic possibility.
This is already Mr Obama’s second high-profile appointment with the Muslim world, following a two-day tour of Turkey and Iraq in April; he has also visited Saudi Arabia this week. He has adopted a less forgiving stance while dealing with Israel hitherto: when speaking about the Israeli-Palestinian problem on Monday as a prelude to his tour, he described negotiations as, “still early in the conversation”. What Mr Obama says next, and his balance of political and religious demands, will be of great worldwide interest.
Click here for an interview with Barack Obama by the BBC’s Justin Webb.
Shiism in the Modern Context: From Religious Quietism to Political Activism
By Rainer Brunner , Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique
(Vol. 3, December 2008)
Translations of the Qur’ān into Western Languages
By Ziad Elmarsafy , University of York
(Vol. 4, March 2009)