Publications & Statements by Imam

03/03/09: Obama's outreach to Muslims improves U.S. image

A brief message by Imam Elahi in today's Detroit News reflecting on the recent State of the Nation Address by President Barak Hussein Obama. Please share it with your friends and send your thoughts!

Obama's  outreach to Muslims  improves U.S. image

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Detroit News: By Imam Mohammad Ali Elahi 

After years of disastrous wars, dishonesty and deception in America, the intelligence, integrity and determination in President Barack Hussein Obama's recent address was the right message from the right person at the right time. But the hard work of creating the reality of a hopeful future remains.

Obama let a little girl, Sheoma Bethea, sit next to the first lady and read her letter describing the conditions in her impoverished school. He listened to the emotional plea of a homeless lady, Henrietta Hughes.

How refreshing to have a president who treats his fellow citizens with respect and works hard to lift them up. Obama has promised to repair the educational and health care systems. His vision for prosperity and rule of law rejects torture and government surveillance, while it presumes government accountability as well as personal responsibility and civic participation.

Obama has promised to change the tone that the U.S. government uses in dealing with Muslim countries and American Muslims. We already see signs of promoting face-to-face dialogue.

Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright asked the American Muslim community to help heal the rift between America and the Muslim world, to promote a positive U.S. image. We can begin by telling the Islamic world that America is blessed with a beautiful Constitution, a system of checks and balances and great freedom of opportunity.

We also have many positive qualities and values to share with our American neighbors. As the bridge between the U.S. and the Muslim world, the American Muslim community is critical to the success of Obama's program for change. The 7 million Muslims in this country include theological scholars and experts on Islam as well as academic researchers contributing to America's wealth of knowledge.

Although the president reaches out to the Muslim world, others work against him to marginalize American Muslims and exclude our voices.

U.S. Sen. Jon Kyl, R-Ariz., with the International Free Press Society and the Center for Security Policy, brought the Dutch politician Geert Wilders to Washington to defame Islam and Muslimsby showing his 15-minute anti-Quran film in the U.S. Senate building. This man was banned from entering England in mid-February because British Foreign Secretary David Miliband said Wilders is guilty of "extreme anti-Muslim hate."

Yet Kyl invited Wilders to display his propaganda flick in front of Congress, disrespecting our new administration under the cover of freedom of speech.

Muslim Americans condemn terrorism and the tyranny of Arab rulers like Egypt's Hosni Mubarak of Egypt for disgracing American friendship. But we need the help of our friends in the Jewish community to tell Israel to end its occupation.

Obama's message of hope is inspiring and energizing the world, but the integrity of the USA is based on our commitment to fairness and ethical responsibility in foreign and domestic policy. America needs Obama's success.

The so-called conservatives who wish for Obama's failure are undermining the image and economic interests of America.

Imam Mohammad Ali Elahi heads the Islamic House of Wisdom in Dearborn Heights. Send letters to The News at 615 W. Lafayette, Detroit, MI 48226 or &