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Rev. Jesse Jackson weighs in on President Obama's speech on Muslim/U.S. relations

June 4, 2009

"President Barack Obama's speech today in Cairo is a global classic. It was profound, bold, courageous, timely, enlightening and substantive. He asserted bold leadership and a new direction, a shift from battleground to common ground.

Just as Reagan spoke to the world about the need for reconciliation when he said, "tear down that wall," President Obama spoke in Egypt saying, "build that bridge." He spoke candidly about the prevalence of international tensions, pains and fears, and he challenged them, and challenged us to challenge them as well.

Champions risk vulnerability and expose themselves to critics, supporters and cynics. Cowards speak behind walls and hide their hands.

President Obama's Indonesian and Hawaiian upbringing is a factor in shaping his worldview. He is the son of a Kenyan father and white American mother. He grew up in diverse environments and cultures in Indonesia, Hawaii, Columbia, New York, Boston and Chicago. His background gives him a global view. He sees the world through a door, not through a keyhole.

The fact is that many Muslims are already pro United States and have been locked behind the stereotype of being viewed as terrorists. The President's call for respect, common ground, reconciliation and coexistence over co-annihilation is good for the world. Peoples and nations must work with him. President Obama indeed has set a new international frame and approach to build new bridges of peace based on diplomacy and mutual cooperation. His profound message is a refreshing and needed commitment to move beyond fears and violence, and go forward by hopes and dreams."

The Rainbow PUSH Coalition is a progressive organization protecting, defending and expanding civil rights to improve economic and educational opportunity. The organization is headquartered at 930 E. 50th St. in Chicago. For more information about the Rainbow PUSH Coalition, please visit www.rainbowpush.org or call (773) 373-3366. To interview Rev. Jackson please call Lauren Love (773) -256-2714.