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Gibbs called Egypt "a country that in many ways represents the heart of the Arab world" and said the speech won't be aimed at Muslim leaders so much as it will be at the populace.
It represents "a continuing effort by this president and this White House to demonstrate how we can work together to ensure the safety and security and the future well-being through hope and opportunity of the children of this country and of the Muslim world."
The State Department's most recent human rights report said that Mubarak's regime routinely abuses human and political rights, employing torture, detaining hundreds of people without charges or trial, including political opponents, restricting freedom of speech and the press, and rigging elections.
"The government's respect for human rights remained poor, and serious abuses continued in many areas," said the report for 2008.
Gibbs acknowledged that "the issues of democracy and human rights . . . are on the president's mind," and said "we'll have a chance to discuss those in more depth on the trip."
Former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice famously angered the Egyptian government when she gave a speech in Egypt in 2005 in which she targeted its human rights record.
Obama administration officials said Obama would not hesitate to raise "civil society and democracy issues" in talks with Mubarak, while his speech would address the "full range of issues" such as the importance of prosperity and freedom.
While US President Barack Obama's decision to send his much-awaited message to the Muslim world from Cairo is a testimony of Egypt's position as a key Arab/Muslim heavyweight, many of the country's political activists and pro-democracy groups are dispirited.
"By his plan to come here, the American President is sending freedom fighters and political activists the world over many signals that are all frustrating," Abdel Halim Qandil, an Egyptian political activist, told IslamOnline.
"It stifles all illusions about American support for democracy in this region."
Originally posted by jam321
reply to post by Petchy29
What they do is there business.
So with your line of reasoning, what we do here is our business. So if it is our business, why the hell are we apologizing?
As I recall, he was originally to deliver it in Indonesia, where he lived--but his handlers thought it would be too far way from the Mid-East Muslims.
What do you think Obama's goal is via this speech?
I believe his goal is to convince the Muslims that we are not at war with them, but rather the terrorists that are trying to give Islam a bad name. He will also state that the US knows it did wrong and will do everything in his power to treat Muslims with respect.
He will tie it in to the Palestinian-Israeli two state solution. This is his ultimate goal. He wants to be the first one to bring peace to this area.
This is a good thing, yes?
What Arab nations would really welcome a US president to deliver a speech to Muslims?
8 years of Cheney's stubborn stone walling and off the bat action has brought us to the brink of a dangerous world, I think everyone needs someone who wants to talk and reason first, and act later.
Obama, the White House press office told reporters last week, will address among other issues the Arab-Israeli issue. What does it imply to raise this issue in a speech to the "Muslim world"? Nearly 700 million of the world's 1.4 billion Muslims live in Indonesia, Pakistan, India and Bangladesh, countries which share no linguistic or cultural affinities with the Arabs, and have only religion in common.