Notes

This printable supports Common Core ELA Standards ELA-Literacy.RI.9-10.2, ELA-Literacy.RI.9-10.3, ELA-Literacy.RI.9-10.4, ELA-Literacy.RI.9-10.6, and ELA-Literacy.RI.9-10.9

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Analyzing a Speech (Grade 10)

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Analyzing a Speech

An excerpt from President Obama's Address at Cairo University - June 4, 2009
Good afternoon. I am honored to be in the timeless city of Cairo, and to be hosted by two remarkable institutions. For over a thousand years, Al-Azhar has stood as a beacon of Islamic learning; and for over a century, Cairo University has been a source of Egypt's advancement. And together, you represent the harmony between tradition and progress. I'm grateful for your hospitality, and the hospitality of the people of Egypt. And I'm also proud to carry with me the goodwill of the American people, and a greeting of peace from Muslim communities in my country: Assalaamu alaykum. (Applause.)

We meet at a time of great tension between the United States and Muslims around the world, tension rooted in historical forces that go beyond any current policy debate. The relationship between Islam and the West includes centuries of coexistence and cooperation, but also conflict and religious wars. More recently, tension has been fed by colonialism that denied rights and opportunities to many Muslims and a cold war in which Muslim-majority countries were too often treated as proxies without regard to their own aspirations. Moreover, the sweeping change brought by modernity and globalization led many Muslims to view the West as hostile to the traditions of Islam.

Violent extremists have exploited these tensions in a small, but potent minority of Muslims. The attacks of September 11, 2001, and the continued efforts of these extremists to engage in violence against civilians has led some in my country to view Islam as inevitably hostile not only to America and Western countries, but also to human rights. All this has bred more fear and more mistrust.

So long as our relationship is defined by our differences, we will empower those who sow hatred rather than peace, those who promote conflict rather than the cooperation that can help all of our people achieve justice and prosperity. And this cycle of suspicion and discord must end.

I've come here to Cairo to seek a new beginning between the United States and Muslims around the world, one based on mutual interest and mutual respect and one based upon the truth that America and Islam are not exclusive and need not be in competition. Instead, they overlap and share common principles, principles of justice and progress, tolerance and the dignity of all human beings.

I do so recognizing that change cannot happen overnight. I know there's been a lot of publicity about this speech, but no single speech can eradicate years of mistrust, nor can I answer in the time that I have this afternoon all the complex questions that brought us to this point. But I am convinced that in order to move forward, we must say openly to each other the things we hold in our hearts and that too often are said only behind closed doors. 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."
1. 
What purpose does Obama hope to accomplish through this speech?
  1. To instantly solve the tensions between the U.S. and Muslims.
  2. To open the dialogue and begin to improve relations between the U.S. and Muslims.
  3. To remind Muslims of the attacks that took place on September 11, 2001.
  4. To justify the treatment of Muslims since September 11, 2001.
2. 
This speech has also been called "Remarks by the President on a New Beginning."
How does this title reflect the speech as a whole?



3. 
Why does Obama bring up past wars, colonialism, and attacks by Muslim extremists?
  1. To remind the Muslims of their negative role in history
  2. To anger the Muslims and encourage them to take action
  3. To help explain what has lead to the tensions between the United States, the West, and Muslims
  4. To provide a bit of a history lesson for the students at the university
4. 
How does Obama use the line "So long as our relationship is defined by our differences, we will empower those who sow hatred rather than peace,those who promote conflict rather than the cooperation that can help all of our people achieve justice and prosperity" to promote his agenda?



5. 
President Obama ends his first paragraph with the greeting "Assalaamu alaykum" a common Muslim greeting that means "Peace be with you." Why does he use this greeting?
  1. To help get the Muslims on his side
  2. To offer a friendly, non-threatening approach
  3. To make himself more knowledgeable of Muslim culture
  4. To show off his Muslim roots
6. 
Later on in the speech, President Obama adds the following lines...

"Moreover, freedom in America is indivisible from the freedom to practice one's religion. That is why there is a mosque in every state in our union, and over 1,200 mosques within our borders. That's why the United States government has gone to court to protect the right of women and girls to wear the hijab and to punish those who would deny it."

Why does he include these lines?
  1. To show how the United States has discriminated against Muslims
  2. To show the rights and freedoms available to Muslims in the United States
  3. To help change Muslims' views of the United States
  4. Both b and c
7. 
Which statement sums up one of the main messages of the speech?
  1. Americans have misconceptions about Muslims
  2. Muslims have misconceptions about Americans
  3. Americans and Muslims have common goals
  4. Americans and Muslims have little in common
8. 
President Obama ends his speech with the following lines:

"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."

The Talmud tells us: "The whole of the Torah is for the purpose of promoting peace."

The Holy Bible tells us: "Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God."

The people of the world can live together in peace. We know that is God's vision. Now that must be our work here on Earth."

Which line from earlier in the speech do these lines most support?
  1. So long as our relationship is defined by our differences, we will empower those who sow hatred rather than peace, those who promote conflict rather than the cooperation that can help all of our people achieve justice and prosperity.
  2. And this cycle of suspicion and discord must end.
  3. Instead, they overlap, and share common principles -- principles of justice and progress; tolerance and the dignity of all human beings.
  4. All this has bred more fear and more mistrust.
9. 
According to President Obama's speech, both Americans and Muslims have played a role in the tensions that separate the two groups.
  1. True
  2. False
10. 
Throughout his speech, Obama regularly quotes the Koran. Why does he do this?



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