Obama to Address Muslim World From Egypt
President Obama will make his promised speech to the Muslim world from Egypt, a White House official said on Friday, according to The Washington Post.
Obama pledged during the campaign to address the Muslim world from a Muslim capital within the first few months of taking office. Picking a site proved challenging for a range of reasons -- from diplomacy to security -- and the decision took longer than expected, with Obama commissioning options from a research team.
Having settled on Egypt, the White House will announce soon that he is adding a stop there to an upcoming overseas trip, presumably his early June visit to Normandy for the anniversary of D-Day.
Choosing Cairo will inevitably bring comparisons with a major speech that then-Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice gave there in 2005, urging democracy and reform in the Middle East.
In that speech, Rice specifically urged the Egyptian government to "put its faith in its own people," calling on Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak to end violent attacks on pro-democracy demonstrators, stop "arbitrary justice" and lift emergency decrees allowing the police to break up gatherings of more than five people. She also made similar demands on Saudi Arabia, another close U.S. ally. However, Rice tempered her comments by saying the United States had "every reason for humility" because of its history of slavery and racism.
Mubarak, who will meet with Obama at the White House later this month, was so angered by the democracy push that he did not make his annual spring visit to Washington for all of Bush's second term. The Obama administration, in its budget released this week, has already loosened restrictions imposed by Bush to ensure some U.S. aid went to democracy groups not approved by the Egyptian authorities.