Local Muslim Group Praises Obama

The San Jose-based educational association ING responded favorably to President Obama’s speech in Cairo today. In a press release, ING stated:

ING welcomes a new course for relations between U.S. and Muslim communities as set out in President Obama’s landmark speech in Cairo today. The tone and focus of the visit and speech is a breath of fresh air and gives promise to the vision and mission of ING’s work for the last 16 years, a world where people of all faiths and none are understood and respected and their contributions valued.

ING hails President Obama’s emphasis on freedom of religion that has made this country from its founding a beacon of hope for the religiously oppressed. It is important to remember that it is that very principle as preserved in the First Amendment that guarantees the religious freedom of all the diverse religious groups in this country. We welcome his emphasis that it is part of this religious freedom that guarantees a Muslim woman’s right to wear the religious dress of her choice in this country: Likewise, it is important for Western countries to avoid impeding Muslim citizens from practicing religion as they see fit, for instance, by dictating what clothes a Muslim woman should wear. We cannot disguise hostility towards any religion behind the pretence of liberalism. He is right in pointing out that at the same time it is incumbent upon Muslims to practice this same religious freedom and respect which is foundational in ING’s interfaith work as based on the Qur’an’s principles or religious pluralism.

ING is a San Jose-based group that has worked for over sixteen years to educate students, governmental agencies, law enforcement personnel, health care workers and local faith communities about Islam and about what it means to live in a society that honors and respects diverse religious traditions. They recently started an Interfaith Speakers Bureau with volunteers from Buddhist, Christian, Hindu, Jewish, and Muslim communities to help develop understanding and appreciation among religions.

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