obama-in-cairo-wh.jpg President Obama today delivered an unprecedented speech calling for a new beginning in relations between the United States and Muslim communities around the world.

Amidst tension between the United States and some Muslim communities the President said, if all sides face the sources of tension squarely and focus on mutual interests, we can find a new way forward.

He outlined some big goals for the future in this highly-anticipated speech, including disrupting, dismantling, and defeating violent extremism. But, first he detailed what our nations have in common.

(Watch the video, or read more, below)

“Islam has always been part of America’s story,” began Obama. “The first nation to recognize my country was Morocco. In signing the Treaty of Tripoli in 1796, our second President, John Adams, wrote, “The United States has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion or tranquility of Muslims.” And since our founding, American Muslims have enriched the United States. They have fought in our wars, they have served in our government, they have stood for civil rights, they have started businesses, they have taught at our universities, they’ve excelled in our sports arenas, they’ve won Nobel Prizes, and built our tallest building.”

muslims-listening-speech-wh.jpg He talked about Minnesota Congressman Keith Ellison the first Muslim American to be elected to the U.S. Congress who took the oath of office using the same Holy Koran that Thomas Jefferson kept in his personal library.

“I have known Islam on three continents. That experience guides my conviction that partnership between America and Islam must be based on what Islam is, not what it isn’t.  And I consider it part of my responsibility as President of the United States to fight against negative stereotypes of Islam wherever they appear.”

“But that same principle must apply to Muslim perceptions of America. Just as Muslims do not fit a crude stereotype, America is not the crude stereotype of a self-interested empire… We were founded upon the ideal that all are created equal, and we have shed blood and struggled for centuries to give meaning to those words — within our borders, and around the world.  We are shaped by every culture, drawn from every end of the Earth, and dedicated to a simple concept:  E pluribus unum — ‘Out of many, one’.”

(Click to read the full speech transcript, or watch the video below)

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