On June 4, 2009, U.S. President Barack Obama delivereda major speech addressing the relationship between the United States and theMuslim World at Cairo University in Cairo, Egypt. The text of the speech appears below.
Thank you very much. Good afternoon. I am honored to be inthe timeless city of Cairo,and to be hosted by two remarkable institutions. For over a thousand years,Al-Azhar has stood as a beacon of Islamic learning; and for over a century, Cairo Universityhas been a source of Egyptsadvancement. And together, you represent the harmony between tradition andprogress. Im grateful for your hospitality, and the hospitality of the peopleof Egypt.And Im also proud to carry with me the goodwill of the American people, and agreeting of peace from Muslim communities in my country: Assalaamu alaykum.
We meet at a time of great tension between the United Statesand Muslims around the world - tension rooted in historical forces that gobeyond any current policy debate. The relationship between Islam and the Westincludes centuries of coexistence and cooperation, but also conflict andreligious wars. More recently, tension has been fed by colonialism that deniedrights and opportunities to many Muslims, and a Cold War in whichMuslim-majority countries were too often treated as proxies without regard totheir own aspirations. Moreover, the sweeping change brought by modernity andglobalization led many Muslims to view the West as hostile to the traditions ofIslam.
Violent extremists have exploited these tensions in a smallbut potent minority of Muslims. The attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, and thecontinued efforts of these extremists to engage in violence against civilianshas led some in my country to view Islam as inevitably hostile not only toAmerica and Western countries, but also to human rights. All this has bred morefear and more mistrust.
So long as our relationship is defined by our differences,we will empower those who sow hatred rather than peace, those who promoteconflict rather than the cooperation that can