What Barack Obama Had To Say To Muslim Women

This week, Barack Obama headed to Egypt with a pretty big mission in mind: smoothing over relations between the United States and the Muslim World. The pinnacle of his trip—a speech at Cairo University yesterday afternoon. In his speech, he emphasized the need for tolerance, not confrontation, between peoples, genders and religions in our increasingly interdependent world and called out for global cooperation as the only way to solve the problems we all currently face. But we were especially interested in what he had to say about Muslim women. After the jump, the words straight from Obama’s mouth.On the American freedom to practice one’s own religion:

“That’s why the United States government has gone to court to protect the right of women and girls to wear the hijab and to punish those who would deny it.”

On equality:

“I reject the view of some in the West that a woman who chooses to cover her hair is somehow less equal, but I do believe that a woman who is denied an education is denied equality.”

On the pursuit of international equality:

“Issues of women’s equality are by no means simply an issue for Islam. In Turkey, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Indonesia, we’ve seen Muslim-majority countries elect a woman to lead. Meanwhile, the struggle for women’s equality continues in many aspects of American life, and in countries around the world.”


On making different choices:

“I do not believe that women must make the same choices as men in order to be equal, and I respect those women who choose to live their lives in traditional roles. But it should be their choice.”

On the reality of opportunity:

“It is no coincidence that countries where women are well educated are far more likely to be prosperous.”

On the future:

“The United States will partner with any Muslim-majority country to support expanded literacy for girls, and to help young women pursue employment through micro-financing that helps people live their dreams.”

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