There's plenty of anticipation of what President Barack Obama will say tomorrow in his highly promoted speech to the Muslim world from Cairo. A leading American Muslim voice is challenging the President to take on the region's warts.
M. Zuhdi Jasser, founder of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy, issued a statement Wednesday in which he urged Obama to stand up for human rights in authoritarian states - including his host country of Egypt - and for reformers who challenge radical Islamists. Failure to do so, the statement said, would be irresponsible:
"We must marginalize and defeat the ideas of political Islam which ultimately drive the dreams of militant Islamists. Egypt is the birthplace of the Muslim Brotherhood and thus modern day political Islam which gave rise to hundreds of splinter groups of radical Islam throughout the world. Egypt is one of the primary frontlines in this global contest of ideas. To speak in Egypt and avoid the topics of political Islam, radical Islamism, and the Muslim Brotherhood, will be like visiting Moscow in the height of the Cold War and avoiding any mention of the inhumanities of communism and its incompatibility with liberty."
If Obama chooses to challenge the Brotherhood, the message will be heard. Brotherhood officials have been invited to attend the talk. Jasser's statement also called on the President to demand freedom for dissidents in Egypt and other Muslim nations, to advocate equality for women and religious minorities.
In January, Jasser drafted the speech he would like to see President Obama delivered. It can be read here. The AIFD's home page is here.