In July, advisers to Morsi, a leading member of the Islamist organization known as the Muslim Brotherhood, claimed that Obama had invited Morsi to a meeting when he visits the United States. The White House, the U.S. State Department, and the Egyptian embassies in Washington and New York, however, did not confirm such a meeting is planned for next week.
But after the violent protests, a meeting is warranted more than ever, say many Muslim Americans. Obama and Morsi have a lot to talk about, Muslim Americans say, from Islamophobia and human rights for religious minorities to Islamic extremism and cooperation.
Many Muslim Americans said Obama should ask Morsi to guarantee the rights of religious minorities in Egypt, where Coptic Christians and others face both official and informal discrimination.
Eboo Patel, president of the Interfaith Youth Core in Chicago, said Obama should ask Morsi how he would ensure that all Egyptians’ rights are respected.
Asma Afsaruddin, chair of the Department of Near Eastern Studies and Cultures at Indiana University, said Obama should ask Morsi how he will curtail sectarian violence and promote understanding between Muslims and Copts.
“Peaceful co-existence of religious communities is after all recognized and celebrated within Islam — how can you help to better realize this objective in contemporary Egypt?” Afsaruddin said.
“I would like to see Obama express his hopes that the new Egyptian constitution will grant Christians and others in Egypt the same freedom to practice religion and participate in civil society as is granted to Americans under the First Amendment,” said Imad-ad-Dean Ahmad of the Minaret of Freedom Institute in Bethesda, Md.
Not surprisingly, many observers said Obama should press Morsi to fight Islamic extremism.
Alaa Badr of the Muslim Association of Puget Sound in Redmond, Wash., said he hoped Obama would ask Morsi about Egypt’s commitment to fight terrorism, especially in North Africa.
Ahmed Ahmed, an Egyptian-American comedian, wants Obama to ask Morsi if Egypt will ever be a country with freedom of speech.
Wajahat Ali, a Muslim-American activist and playwright, suggested Obama be short and direct, but acknowledge America’s problem with Islamophobia. “You reign in your extremists, and I’ll reign in ours,” Ali said.
Many Muslims and non-Muslims said Obama should tell Morsi that most Americans are not anti-Muslim, but that he would speak more forcefully against Islamophobia.