Obama reaches out to Muslims

Obama reaches out to Muslims

 He dwelled on Iran, Iraq, and Afghanistan but reserved some of his sharpest words for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. He offered no major initiatives on the Middle East peace process although he put Israelis and Palestinians on notice that he intends to deal directly with what he sees as intransigence on key issues.

Obama offered few details for how to solve myriad problems and conflicts around the globe, but he offered up his own biography as a credible connection to his audience.
While the message touched upon a litany of challenges, it boiled down to simply this: Barack Hussein Obama was standing at the podium as the American president.

“I am 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,” Obama said, delivering a common greeting signifying peaceful intent.

Riskiest speech

The speech by Obama was the culmination of promise he made nearly two years ago while running for president. It was, perhaps, the riskiest speech of his young presidency, and Obama readily conceded that not every goal would be easily or quickly achieved.
“I consider it part of my responsibility, as president of the United States to fight against negative stereotypes of Islam wherever they appear,” he said.

“But that same principle must apply to Muslim perceptions of America. Just as Muslims do not fit a crude stereotype, America is not the crude stereotype of a self-interested empire.”

He strode onto the stage to loud applause and a standing ovation in the conference hall. He conceded that his speech came at “a time of great tension between the US and Muslims around the world.”

But he sought to explain that he represented the new face of American leadership.
“America is not and never will be at war with Islam. We will, however, relentlessly confront violent extremists who pose a grave threat to our security,” Obama said. “Because we reject the same thing that people of all faiths reject: the killing of innocent people,” he added.

“We love you!” one man yelled from the audience halfway through the speech.
“Thank you,” Obama replied.

The president divided his speech into seven sections, often sounding like the university professor he was before he sought political office. He touched on “sources of tension” from wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, democracy, religious freedom, women’s rights and economic development and opportunity.

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