In a much-hyped visit to a mosque, the first in his presidency, President Obama was at his best in Baltimore yesterday. He made an important stand against anti-Muslim bigotry, as he has done on many significant occasions in the past, but he also took on substantive concerns the Arab American and American Muslim communities have over "engagement" programs targeting our communities. We couldn't have written the speech any better ourselves, well actually - we noticed that some of the best parts weren’t written at all, but when the President was speaking freely and directly inspired by the roundtable discussion he had with American Muslims before his remarks. He said, "engagement with Muslim American communities must never be a cover for surveillance...We can't securitize our entire relationship with Muslim Americans." Bingo, Mr. President - we're relieved to hear you say that, and to hear you say it with empathy and force. We just want to point out that many of the actions of your administration have indeed been clumsy and mishandled - as you said they might be. Now that the President has clarified his directives, we want to see how these securitized engagement programs will change. Because they must.

comments powered by Disqus