SACRAMENTO, CA - Local Muslims have some definite opinions about President Obama's speech in Egypt Thursday morning.
News10 spoke with Adel Syed of the Council on American-Islamic Relations-Sacramento Valley Office (CAIR-SV), who says he felt empowered by the presentation.
"We feel this is a new era of discussion, a new level of mutual respect, where American Muslims can begin to bridge the gap between America and the greater Middle East," said Syed.
He believes the speech was well-received in the Middle East, where young people are struggling with issues of education, women's rights and bringing democratic ideals.
"We feel that the speech is bringing bridges," said Syed. "Opening better doors of understanding for the greater Muslim world."
He says CAIR-SV believes that mutual respect and justice need to be the underlying tones in all foreign policy, and that Obama's speech has opened the door for that.
"We feel we all have the responsibility to make sure that Islam is being portrayed in the correct light and that extremists are taken out of the limelight and more moderate Muslims are kept in the limelight," Syed said.
CAIR-SV is often called upon to help its members deal with cases of discrimination. Syed said they stem largely from misunderstanding or mistrust. He feels Obama's speech will help people come closer to understanding Islam as part of the fabric of American life.
"American Muslims have been part of the solution in trying to cure ills here and abroad and we hope that the President's outreach to the Muslim world abroad will garner some support here locally to get the Muslim community more active in local politics," Syed said.
Obama's speech shows how justice may one day transcend all faiths. believes Syed.
"CAIR works very closely with American Jewish groups, Christian groups and all faiths in trying to promote peace with justice and understanding," he said.