tv [untitled] CSPAN June 4, 2009 11:30pm-12:00am EDT
thank you very much. thank you very much. thank you very much. thank you. thank you so much. good afternoon. i am honored to be in the timeless city of cairo and to be hosted by two remarkable institutions. for over 1000 years, it tested as a beacon of islamic learning. for over a century, cairo university has been a source of egypt advancement. together you represent a harmony between tradition and progress. i am grateful for your hospitality and the hospitality of the people of egypt. i am also proud to carry with me
the goodwill of the american people and bringing a piece of middle eastern countries and our country. assalaamu alaykum [applause] we meet at a time of great tension. this is between the united states and muslims around the world. tension rooted in historical forces that go beyond any current policy today. the relationship between islam and the rest includes centuries of coexistence and cooperation and also conflict and religious wars. more recently, tension has been fed by colonialism that denied
rights and opportunities to many muslims. there was a cold war in which muslim majority countries were too often treated as proxies' without regard to their own aspirations. moreover, the sweeping change brought by globalization led many muslims to view the west as hostile to the traditions of islam. violent extremists have exploited these tensions in a small but potent minority of muslims. the attacks of september 11, 2001 and the continued efforts of these extremists to engage in violence against civilians has led some in my country to the view islam as hostile not only to america and western questions, but to human rights. all this is -- has bred more fear and distress.
so long as our relationship is defined by differences, we will empower those who sought hatred rather than peace, those who promote conflict rather than the cooperation that can help all of our people achieve justice and prosperity. this cycle of suspicion and discord must end. i have come here to cairo to seek a new beginning between the united states and muslims around the world, one based on mutual interest and mutual respect, and one based upon the truth that america and islam are not exclusive and in need not be in competition. instead, they overlap and share common principles, principles of justice and progress, tolerance
and the dignity of all human beings. i do so recognizing -- recognize that change cannot happen overnight. i know there has been a lot of publicity about the speech. no single speech can eradicate years of mistrust. nor can i answer the time that i have this afternoon all the complex questions that brought this to this point. i am convinced that in order to move forward we must say openly to each other the things we hold in our hearts and that too often are said only behind closed doors. there must be a sustained effort to listen to each other, to learn from each other, to respect one another, and to seek common ground. as the holy koran tells us, "be conscious of god and speak always the truth."
[applause] that is what i will try to do today. i will try to speak the truth as best i can, humbled by the task before us, and firm in my belief that the interest we share as human beings are a far more powerful thing than the forces that drive us apart. part of this conviction is rooted in my own experience. i am a christian. when my father came from a kenyan family that includes generations of muslims. as a boy, i spent several years in indonesia and heard the call of the azaan at the break of dawn and fall of dusk. as a young man, i worked in chicago in communities where many found dignity and peace and
their muslim faith. as a student of history, i also knows ablations debt to islam. it was islam that carried the light of learning through so many centuries, paving the way for europe is resolved and in light demand -- enlightenment. [applause] it was innovation in muslim communities that developed the order, our magnetic compass and tools of navigation, our mastery of pens and printing, our understanding of how disease spreads. islamic culture has given us soaring spires, timeless poetry and cherished music, elegant
calligraphy and places of peaceful contemplation. throughout history, islam has demonstrated through words and deeds the possibilities of religious tolerance and racial equality. [applause] i also know that islam has always been a part of america's story. the first nation to recognize my country was morocco. in signing the treaty of tripoli in 1796, our second president, john adams, wrote "the united states has, in itself, no character of enmity against the laws, religion, or tranquility of muslims." since our founding, american muslims have been -- have
enriched the united states. they have fought in our wars. they have certain our government. the exit for civil rights. it started businesses. but they have taught it universities. they have one noble prices. they built our tallest building and lit the olympic torch. when the first muslim american was recently elected to congress, he took the oath using the same holy koran that one of our founding, funders -- founders, thomas jefferson, kept in his personal library. [applause] i have known islam on three continents before coming to the region where it was first reviewed. that experience guides my conviction that partnership between america and islam must be based on what islam is and not what it is not.
i consider it part of my responsibility as president of the united states to fight it and negative stereotypes of islam wherever they appear. [applause] but that same principle must apply to muslim perceptions of america -- [applause] just as muslims do not think and stereotypes, america is not the crude stereotype of a self interested empire. the united states has been one of the greatest sources of progress that the world has ever known. we were born out of revolution against an empire.
we were founded upon the ideal that all accretive people. we have shed blood and struggled for centuries to give meaning to those words. within our borders and around our world. we are shaped by every culture, drawn from every end of the earth and dedicated to a simple concept, out of many, one. much as been made of the fact that in america, an african- american with the name barack hussein obama could be elected president. [applause] but my personal story is not so unique. the dream of opportunity for all people has not come true for everyone in america, but its
promise exists for all who come to our shores. that includes nearly 7 million american muslims in our country today who, by the way, i enjoy incomes and education levels that are higher than the american average. moreover, freedom in america is indivisible from the freedom to practice one religion. that is why there is a mosque in every state in our union and over 1200 mosques within our borders. that is why united states government has gone to court to protect the right of women and girls to wear the hijab. -- to where the his job and punish those who would deny it. -- to wear the hijab and punish those who would deny it. let there be no doubt, islam is
a part of america. i believe that america holds within her the truth that regardless of race religion or station in life all of us share common aspirations. this is to live in peace and security, to get an education and work with dignity, to love our families, our communities, and our god. these are things we share. this is the hope of all humanity. of course, recognizing our common humanity is only the beginning of our task. words alone cannot meet the needs of our people. these needs will be met only if we act boldly in the years ahead. if we understand the challenges we face are shared and our failure to meet them will hurt us all. we have learned from recent experience that when a financial
system weakens in one country prosperity is hurt everywhere. when a new flu infects one human being, and all are at risk. when one nation pursues a nuclear weapon, the risk of nuclear attack rises for all nations. when violent extremists operate in one stretch of mountains, people are endangered across the ocean. when innocents in bosnia and darfur are slaughtered, that is a stain on our collective conscience. [applause] that is what it means to share this world in the 21st century. that is irresponsibility we have to one another as human beings -- that is the responsibility we have to one another as human beings.
human history has often been a record of nations and tribes and, yes, religions, subjugating one another and pursuing their own interests. in this new age, such attitudes are self-defeating. given our interdependence -- interdependence, any world order that governs over one another will inevitably fail. whenever we think of the past, we must not be prisoners to it. our problems must be dealt with through partnership. our progress must be shared. [applause] that does not mean that we should ignore sources of
tension. indeed, it suggests the opposite. we must face these tensions squarely and in that spirit, let me speak as clearly and as plainly as i can about some specific issues that i believe we must finally confront together. the first issue that we have to confront is violent extremism in all of its forms. america will never be at war with islam, as i have made clear. [applause] we will, however, relentlessly confront violent extremists who pose a grave threat to our security, because we reject the same thing of all faiths reject,
the killing of innocent men, women -- women come and children. it is my first duty as president to protect the american people. the situation in afghanistan demonstrates america is a goals and our need to work together. over seven years ago, the united states pursued al qaeda and the taliban with broad international support. we did not go by choice. we went because of necessity. i am aware that there are still some who question or justify the offensive 9/11. let's be clear. al qaeda killed nearly 3000 people on that day. the victims were innocent men, women, and children from america and many other nations who had done nothing to harm anybody.
yet, al qaeda chose to ruthlessly murder these people and claim credit -- credit for the attack and it states their determination to still kill on a massive scale. they have affiliates in many countries that are trying to expand their reach. these are not opinions to be debated. these are facts to be dealt wit h. we do not want to keep our troops in afghanistan. we see no military bases there. it is agonizing for america to lose our young men and women. it is costly and politically difficult to continue this conflict. we would gladly bring every single one of our troops home if we could be confident that there were not violent extremists in afghanistan and pakistan determined to kill as many
americans as they possibly can. that is not yet the case. that is why we are partnering with a coalition of 46 countries. despite the costs involved, america is commitment -- america pose a commitment will not weaken. none of us should tolerate these extremists. they have killed in many countries. they have killed people of different faiths. more than any other, and they have killed muslims. their actions are irreconcilable with the rights of human beings, the progress of nations. the holy koran teaches that whoever kills an innocent it is as if he has killed all mankind. [applause] the holy koran also says, " whoever saves a person, it is as
if he has saved all mankind." [applause] the enduring faith of over 1 billion people is so much bigger than the narrow hatred of a few. islam is not part of the problem in combating violent extremism. is an important part of promoting peace. we also know that military power alone is not going to solve the problems in afghanistan by itself. that is why we plan to invest $1.5 billion each year over the next five years to partner with pakistanis to build schools and hospitals, roads and businesses , and hundreds of millions to help those lead in this place. that is why we providing more than $2.8 billion to help afghans develop their economy
and deliver services that people depend on. but me also address the issue of iraq. unlike afghanistan, iraq was a war of choice that provoked strong differences in my country and around the world. although i believe the iraqi people are better off without the tyranny of saddam hussein, i also believe that events in iraq have them reminded america of the need to use diplomacy and build international consensus to resolve our problems whenever possible. [applause] indeed, we can recall the words of thomas jefferson who said, "i hope that our wisdom will grow with our power and teach us that the less we use our power, the
greater it will be." today america has a huge responsibility to help iraq forge a better future and to lead iraq to iraqis. i made clear to the iraqi people -- [applause] i have made it clear to the iraqi people that we pursue no bases and no claim on their territory or resources. iraq's sovereignty is its own. that is why i ordered the removal of our combat brigades by next august. that is why we will honor our agreement with iraq s democratically elected government to remove troops from iraqi cities by july and to remove all our troops from iraq by 2012. [applause]
we will help iraq train its security forces and develop its economy, but we will support a secure and united iraq as a partner and never as a patron. finally, just as america can never tolerate violence, we must never alter or forget our principles. 9/11 was an enormous trauma to our country. the fear and anger that was provoked was understandable, but in some cases, it led us to act contrary to our traditions and our ideals. we are taking concrete actions to change course. i have unequivocally prohibited the use of torture by the united states. i have ordered the president -- prison at guantanamo bay closed by early next year. [applause]
america will defend itself, respectful of the stock -- respect all the sovereignty of nations and rule of law. we will do so in partnership with muslim communities which are also threatened. the sooner the extremists are isolated and unwelcome in this community, the sooner we will all be safer. the second major source of tension that we needed to discuss -- we need to discuss, is the situation between israelis, pakistanis, and the arab world. america's strong bonds with israel are well known. this of bond is unbreakable. it is based upon cultural and historical ties.
-- historical ties and the aspiration for a jewish homeland is rooted in a tragic history that cannot be denied. around the world the jewish people were persecuted for centuries. anti-semitism in europe culminated in an unprecedented holocaust. tomorrow i will visit buchenwald, which is the network of camps where slavery jews were tortured, slaughtered, and gassed by the third reich. 6 million jews were killed. that is more than the entire jewish population of israel today. denying that fact is baseless, ignorant, and it is hateful. threatening israel with destruction or repeating vile stereotypes about jews is wrong.
it only serves to evoke the most painful memories. on the other hand, it is also undeniable that the palestinian people, muslims and christians, have suffered in pursuit of a homeland. for more than 60 years, they have endured the pain of dislocation. many wait in refugee camps in the west bank, gaza, and neighboring lands looking for peace and security. they endure the daily humiliations, large and small, that come with occupation. let there be no doubt, the situation for the palestinian people is intolerable america will not turn our backs on the legitimate palestinian
aspiration for dignity, opportunity, and a state of peace. [applause] for decades, there has been a stalemate, a two peoples with legitimate aspirations, each with a painful history that makes compromise elusive. it is easy to point fingers. it is easy for palestinians to point to the displacement brought about by israel's founding and for israelis to point to the constant hostility and attacks throughout its history. that is within its borders and with thought -- and beyond. if we see this conflict only four -- from one side or the other, then we will be blind to the truth.
the only resolution is for the aspirations of both sides to be met through two states, where israelis and palestinians each live in peace and security. [applause] that is in israel's interest, palestine interest, america's interests, and the world's interest. that is why i intend to personally pursue this outcome with all the patience and dedication that the task requires. the obligations that the parties have agreed to under the road map are key. -it is time for them and all of us to live up to our responsibilities. palestinians must abandon
violence. resistance to violence and killing is wrong and it does not succeed. for centuries, black people in america suffered the lash of the whip as slaves and the humiliation of segregation. it was not violence that won full legal rights. it was a peaceful and determined resistance upon the ideals at the center of america's boundaries. this same story can be told by people from south africa to south asia. this is from eastern europe to indonesia. it is a story with a simple truth. violence is a dead end. it is a sign neither courage or of power. -- or a power to throw rocks at the sleeping children. that is not how moral authority is claimed. that is how it is surrendered.
now is the time for palestinians to focus on what they can build. palestinian authorities must develop its government with institutions to serve the needs of its people. hamas does have support among some palestinians, but they also have to recognize their responsibilities, to play a role and a filling palestinian aspirations, and to unify the palestinian people. hamas has put an end to violence, recognize past agreements, recognized israel's right to exist. at the same time, israelis must acknowledge that just as their right cannot be denied, neither can palestine's. the united states is non -- does not accept the legitimacy of israeli settlements. [applause]