Obama Deftly Makes Pitch for Muslim Women's Rights

By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 4, 2009 7:04 PM CDT
U.S. President Barack Obama tours the Sphinx and pyramids outside Cairo.   (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
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(Newser) – President Obama skillfully made the case for women's rights in the Muslim world during his Cairo speech today with the help of the hijab, or head scarf, writes Tracy Clark-Flory in Salon. "I reject the view of some in the West that a woman who chooses to cover her hair is somehow less equal," he said, demonstrating tolerance and respect before reaching his main points: that women must have the right to education and the right to reject "traditional roles."

"This wee little section on women's rights followed the overall model of his expansive speech," writes Clark-Flory. "He deftly wove his Western, democratic views together with sensitivity, respect, and tolerance for Islamic culture. Some will inevitably call this cowardice; others, like me, call it diplomacy."