Events in Muslim world bear on Obama’s speech at United Nations

Challenged president will address General Assembly

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Mr. Rubin also said Mr. Obama should take a more clear-eyed view of the Arab Spring revolutions.

“What we now see is the Islamist extremists making their push,” he said. “We are witnessing the Middle Eastern equivalent of the Reign of Terror supplanting the French Revolution, or the Bolsheviks defeating the Mensheviks. One thing is clear: The Muslim Brotherhood has seen its shadow leading to six more decades of violence.”

Mr. Obama, borrowing a line from Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, has said in the wake of the attack on the U.S. Consulate in Libya that “we cannot replace the tyranny of a dictator with the tyranny of a mob.” Mr. Vietor said the president will “put forward a vision of U.S. leadership” in the Middle East.

“I would certainly expect the president to address the recent unrest in the Muslim world, and the broader context of the democratic transitions in the Arab World,” Mr. Vietor said. “The president will make it clear that we reject the views in this video, while also underscoring that violence is never acceptable ­— a message that has been echoed by the leaders he has personally reached out to in places like Libya, Egypt and Yemen. He will also send a clear message that the United States will never retreat from the world, will bring justice to those who harm Americans and will stand strongly for our democratic values abroad.”

Mr. Patrick said the president also may need to explain to the Muslim world why the United States doesn’t simply arrest the movie producer, Nakouly Basseley Nakoula, who was taken in for questioning by authorities in Los Angeles and then released.

“There are limited things that the United States can do in the age of global information when some ass in the United States can put together a crude video attacking the prophet,” Mr. Patrick said. “Then suddenly, it’s beamed all over the world and taken advantage of by extremist groups to mobilize major protests. It’s very hard to know what any president could do in that situation to try to tamp down things.”

Emad Abdel Ghaffour, the head of Egypt’s Salafist Nour Party, told Reuters in an interview that the U.N. should pass a resolution to criminalize contempt of Islam and the Prophet Muhammad.

“The voice of reason in the West will prevail if there is mutual respect, dialogue and efficient lobbying for this critical resolution,” he said.

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