Local Muslims React to President's Speech

Many Muslims in the Louisville area paid close attention to the speech President Obama delivered in Cairo today . WFPL’s Elizabeth Kramer has more.

Aly Farag is a University of Louisville professor who grew up in Cairo and became an American citizen about 15 years ago. He was most impressed by the President’s call for more transparency in diplomatic relations between the United States and the Muslim world.

“He says the United States basically would be an open book,” Farag says. “To me this is the cornerstone of making business with people; there is no hidden agenda. And to me I really appreciate that very much as a Muslim, as an American, as an Arab, as a human being.”

Farag says the speech was reassuring to many Muslims, but it also created high expectations for the U.S. in dealing with disputes between Israel and the Palestinians.

“The expectations are enormous in the sense that they expect economical help; they expect dialogue; they expect peaceful interactions,” Farag says. “But (what) they expect the most is solving the Palestinian problem.”

He says the speech will go down in history and could mark a warming of relations between the United States and the Muslim world.

“For a long time to come people will read that letter,” he says, “because it’s a letter of the President of the United States telling the Muslim world one major thing, one fundamental thing: that the United States is not an enemy of Islam.”