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JewishJournal.com

June 3, 2009

Obama says U.S. could be considered a Muslim country

http://www.jewishjournal.com/blog/item/obama_says_us_could_be_considered_a_muslim_country_20090603/

Remember all the trouble President Obama got in when he said in April that the United States is “not a Christian nation or Jewish nation or Muslim nation?” Well, yesterday morning I heard Obama, speaking with the Washington reporter for the BBC about bringing peace to the Mideast, playing up the Muslim members of his own family and the United States’ large Muslim population. You can watch that interview above. (Thanks for the link, Alice.) Obama reiterated the Muslim population angel in another interview with a French television station.

From The Caucus blog:

In an interview with Laura Haim on Canal Plus, a French television station, Mr. Obama noted that the United States also could be considered as “one of the largest Muslim countries in the world.” He sought to downplay the expectations of the speech, but he said he hoped the address would raise awareness about Muslims.

“Now, I think it’s very important to understand that one speech is not going to solve all the problems in the Middle East,” Mr. Obama said. “And so I think expectations should be somewhat modest.”

He previewed several themes and objectives for the speech, which aides said the president intended to tinker with — and rewrite — aboard Air Force One during his 12-hour flight to Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

“What I want to do is to create a better dialogue so that the Muslim world understands more effectively how the United States, but also how the West thinks about many of these difficult issues like terrorism, like democracy, to discuss the framework for what’s happened in Iraq and Afghanistan and our outreach to Iran, and also how we view the prospects for peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians,” Mr. Obama said.

The president said the United States and other parts of the Western world “have to educate ourselves more effectively on Islam.”

“And one of the points I want to make is, is that if you actually took the number of Muslim Americans, we’d be one of the largest Muslim countries in the world,” Mr. Obama said. “And so there’s got to be a better dialogue and a better understanding between the two peoples.”

By that token, I think we’d also have more members of the Baha’i faith than anywhere but Iran and India. And, until recently, the United States was more a Jewish country than Israel. Though, I guess, that one’s still up for debate.

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