By Dan Gilgoff, God & Country
Lots of folks analyzing President Obama's Cairo speech to the Muslim world today are expressing surprise about the lines that did and didn't draw applause from his immediate audience at Cairo University.
What surprised me was that three of the biggest applause lines came in response to the president's invocations of Koranic verses. Some of these lines came from a recent session between Obama's speechwriter and American religious figures and experts, which included a handful of Muslims.
Here are Obama's three references to the Koran, which he refers to the Holy Koran each time:
There must be a sustained effort to listen to each other; to learn from each other; to respect one another; and to seek common ground. As the Holy Koran tells us, "Be conscious of God and speak always the truth." That is what I will try to do—to speak the truth as best I can, humbled by the task before us, and firm in my belief that the interests we share as human beings are far more powerful than the forces that drive us apart.
The Holy Koran teaches that whoever kills an innocent, it is as if he has killed all mankind; and whoever saves a person, it is as if he has saved all mankind.
We have the power to make the world we seek, but only if we have the courage to make a new beginning, keeping in mind what has been written. The Holy Koran tells us, "O mankind! We have created you male and a female; and we have made you into nations and tribes so that you may know one another."
A lot of analysts from the Muslim world have recently stressed that the Obama administration's policies toward Muslim nations matter a whole lot more than any kind of messaging from the White House. Watching the rousing responses to those lines from the Koran, though, it seems like messaging matters, too.