Tariq Ramadan at his website:
A powerful speech which was not only ” a speech”: it embodies a vision both positive and demanding. Something has surely changed. As Barack went from personal to universal principles, we are waiting for him to go from ideal to practical. He is young, he is new, he is intelligent and smart: has he the means of being courageous? For it is all about presidential courage as one wonders if it is possible for the United States to be simply consistent with its own values. Could one man tackles and reforms this extraordinary tension that inhabits the contemporary American mindset: on the one hand, promoting universal values and diversity while on the other nurturing a spirit that still has some features of imperial attitude (intellectually, politically and economically). He will not be able to achieve it alone and maybe his greatest challengers so far are more Indian and Chinese than the Muslims. Yet, it remains critical to acknowledge the positive sides of a speech announcing “a new beginning”: it is imperative for the Muslims to take Obama at his word and, instead of adopting either a passive attitude or a victim mentality to contribute to a better world by being self–critical and critical, humble and ambitious, consistent and open. The best way to push Barack Obama to face up to his responsibility in America, in the Middle East or elsewhere is for the Muslims to start by facing up to their own without blindly demonising America or the West or naively idealising a charismatic African-American US President.