WASHINGTON // On the one-year anniversary of Barack Obama’s Cairo speech, several prominent Muslim-American groups offered their “mixed reviews” of the president’s outreach to the Muslim world.
Coming together for a joint press conference in Washington, representatives from the groups applauded the president for setting a new “tone” in government’s relationship with Muslims, marking a vast improvement, they said, over the antagonism many perceived during the Bush years. They also praised other positive gestures, such as April’s summit for Muslim entrepreneurs and Mr Obama’s decision to appoint two Muslims to serve in his administration.
But they took issue with the White House for not doing enough to engage the American-Muslim community and reverse Bush-era counterterrorism laws that have alienated many Muslims here.
Nihad Awad, the national executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, said at the press conference while Mr Obama has taken several positive “first steps”, his outreach to Muslims “is lacking on serious issues.”
The White House, he said, must clarify laws that empower the Treasury Department to shut down charities suspected of ties to terrorist groups. The laws have had a disproportionate effect on Muslim charities and continue to fuel government distrust in American-Muslim communities. (More)