American Islamic Congress Attends President Obama’s Talk in Cairo, Praises His Elegant Call for Respect, Reform, and Individual Freedom
Organization’s Egypt Office Director Meets Privately with Senior Advisor
June 4th, 2009
Washington, DC – The American Islamic Congress (AIC) today attended President Barack Obama’s Cairo address and praised his call for respect, reform, and individual freedom. AIC’s Egypt office director Dalia Ziada attended the speech at the Administration’s invitation and met privately after the speech with the President’s Senior Advisor, Valerie Jarrett. Zainab Al-Suwaij, the organization’s Executive Director, issued the following statement:
“President Obama’s Cairo speech outlined an agenda Muslim-Americans can adopt and share with pride. As the director of a Muslim-American civil rights group, I was delighted that the President’s speech reflected our organization’s core values and validated our responsible leadership philosophy.
“The President’s speech echoed AIC’s key themes of unequivocal rejection of terrorism, the importance of women’s equality, and a respect for intellectual freedom. We were also encouraged to hear Mr. Obama insist on reform via nonviolent activism and respect individual rights, values we are advancing through training workshops and advocacy campaigns on the ground in the Muslim world.
“President Obama’s vision also resonated because he cited Muslim-Americans’ contributions to America and the world – made possible by the opportunities America offers. As the Administration’s meeting with our own Egypt office director, Dalia Ziada, indicates, the President’s agenda needs the active participation of Muslim-American organizations to succeed.
“Dalia’s presence was also a reminder of the challenges young Muslim reformers face, as she has helped drive the campaign for fellow Egyptian blogger Kareem Amer, an Al-Azhar student jailed for expressing his opinions. Protecting liberty on the individual level – and on a societal level, as in the case of Darfur – must be an action priority.
“The President’s remarks about internal Muslim divisions – in cases like Darfur – points to the success story of the Muslim-American community, itself a unique melting pot of the multiple and complex Muslim cultural identities. As the US continues to reach out to Muslims worldwide, we cannot not forget our internal diversity, which should be a source of strength rather than division.”
As the only Muslim-American organization with offices in the Middle East, the American Islamic Congress is a civil-rights organization promoting tolerance and the exchange of ideas among Muslims and between other peoples.