Obama's Remarks On Women's Rights Could Start Debate

President Obama's speech in Cairo today is likely to generate new debate in the Muslim world over issues like women's rights -- though he may not have spoken freely enough about promoting democratic governments, according to Reza Aslan, a CBS News analyst on the Middle East.

Aslan spoke with Harry Smith on The Early Show this morning to explain what messages delivered by the president will resonate with the Muslim world and where the president's speech fell short.

The president's approach to issues like the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the fight against Al Qaeda and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict was very frank, Aslan said.

"There were some words that Obama used that had never been used before by any American president, including the word 'occupation,' and the word 'Palestine,'" he said. "I think this is going to be really remarkable the way that the Muslim world reacts."

The crowd's reaction to Mr. Obama's words about women's rights was mixed, he said, and is likely to keep people talking, "which is precisely what Obama wanted."

"I reject the view of some in the West that a woman who chooses to cover her hair is somehow less equal, but I do believe that a woman who is denied an education is denied equality," the president said (read the full text here). "And it is no coincidence that countries where women are well educated are far more likely to be prosperous."

He added that women's equality is still an issue in many aspects of American life and that the U.S. will partner with any Muslim country to expand the literacy rate and economic opportunities for women and girls.

Still, in a country that has been under the rule of the same man since 1981, Mr. Obama could have spoken more forcefully on promoting political development, Alsan said.

"This was something that Egyptians especially wanted to hear some more from the Obama administration," he said.

Watch the whole video below:



Obama's Trip: Complete Coverage

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