By Julia Bruck
CARBONDALE, IL (KFVS) – A speech from President Obama drew much attention on Thursday. It came from both Muslims and non-Muslims. The president spoke Thursday morning at Cairo University in Egypt saying Americans and Muslims must work together to confront violent extremism across the globe and advance the search for peace in the Middle East.
Many Muslims say they feel the president’s words were genuine. Others say they want the president to turn his words into action.
From the Middle East to the Heartland, the president’s speech caught the eyes and ears of many. For some in southern Illinois it also brought new hope of peace.
At the Islamic Center of Carbondale, a call to prayer is heard five times a day. A traditional greeting is also heard, the same one President Obama used to start his speech in Cairo.
“Assalaamu alaykum,” President Obama said.
It is a Muslim greeting of peace and immediately caught the ear of Mostafa Morsy, who leads the Islamic center. Morsy says he is very excited about the president’s words, especially those of peace and understanding.
“Just as Muslims do not fit a crude stereotype, America is not the crude stereotype of a self-interested empire,” President Obama said.
“This is a new beginning not to fight, but to come to understand each other,” Morsy said.
The president also used words from the Koran. For Muslims it is the holy book, just as the Bible is for Christians.
“He quoted four verses from the Koran and he said that Muslims they offered to civilizations so many things,” Morsy said.
While respect echoed throughout the president’s 55 minute speech, he also condemned Palestinian violence.
“It is a sign of neither courage nor power to shoot rockets at sleeping children, or to blow up old women on a bus. That is not how moral authority is claimed,” President Obama said.
Those words caught Dr. Muhammad Kamran’s eye, along with the president’s theme of a new beginning.
“He has the capability of changing relations between America and the Muslim world,” Kamran said.