Marc Lynch zeros in on a comment Obama made to NPR about Islamists:
Obama's comment seems to signal a recognition of...important distinctions among Islamists and that the use of violence, not Islamist ideology per se, should be what matters. Most Arabs already understand those distinctions --- for instance, an interesting new public opinion survey by Steve Kull's PIPA found that "64% of Egyptians express positive views [of the Muslim Brotherhood], 19% say they have mixed views and just 16% express negative views... only 22% think that it is still too extreme and not genuinely democratic." Any push for democratic progress in Arab countries will have to deal with the reality that such non-violent mainstream Islamist groups are generally the most popular and well-organized political opposition forces.
(Photo: An Egyptian father and son watch US President Barack Obama's key Middle East speech on TV in a small carpet weaving workshop in the Islamic old city June 4, 2009 in Cairo, Egypt. In his speech, President Obama called for a 'new beginning between the United States and Muslims', declaring that 'this cycle of suspicion and discord must end'. By David Silverman/Getty Images.)
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