Obama’s message to the Muslims

In interviews last week, Barack Obama advertised his desire to travel to the capital of a Muslim country and give a big speech that would “reboot America’s image” in the Muslim world. Amir Taheri takes up the question of what Obama would say in the speech. It’s an intriguing question and Taheri’s column is worth reading.

My guess is that that the structure of such a speech would follow the one Obama adopted in his March 18 “More Perfect Union” speech in which he sought to dispose of the difficulties Jeremiah Wright had created for him. Obama himself had proclaimed the importance of his pastor to his life over the past twenty years in books and interviews. Both circumstantial and direct evidence demonstrated Obama’s knowledge of Reverend Wright’s twisted views.

Rather than forthrightly condemn them in his Philadelphia speech, Obama chose to give the appearance of transcending them. Obama reviewed American history going back to the founding, provided autobiographical reflections, and presented himself as the man come to redeem racial relations in the United States. Obama denied familiarity with the statements whose revelation gave rise to his speech and suggested that they unfairly represented the man.

Obama’s speech provided the larger context for understanding Wright. Substitute the Muslim world for Wright and make a few other necessary adjustments and I think you have the message Obama would convey to a Muslim audience, with roughly the same effectiveness as his “More Perfect Union” speech.

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