Editions : November-December 2011

JOURNAL | INDONESIA 360 By: Nasaruddin Umar

Among the numerous speeches by heads of state and leaders of government during the past few years that can be rightly labelled as “spectacular,” two in particular stand out. The first was by US President Barack Obama, who delivered a speech before academics and guests at Cairo University on June 4, 2009. The second was by Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, who delivered an address at Harvard University in the United States three months later, on September 29, 2009.

Both speeches are spectacular because, in addition to Obama and Yudhoyono representing large communities, they both raised the issue of the Islamic world, which had been under scrutiny due to the terrible actions of a small minority of terrorists pretending to represent the Islamic movement.

Obama opened his speech with an interesting statement: “I have come here to Cairo to seek a new beginning between the United States and Muslims around the world, one based on mutual interest and mutual respect, and one based upon the truth that America and Islam are not exclusive and need not be in competition. Instead, they overlap, and share common principles: principles of justice and progress; tolerance and the dignity of all human beings.”

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