The Islamic Post Blog


President Obama: ‘No Enmity With Muslims’ by Khalida
February 2, 2009, 10:15 am
Filed under: February Volume I- 2009, World

U.S. President Barack Obama sat down with Hisham Melhaem of Al-Arabiya TV, a Dubai-based cable network, on January 26 to discuss topics pertinent to the Muslim world. The following are excerpts from the interview:
On the Palestinian – Israeli Conflict
“Well, I think the most important thing is for the United States to get engaged right away. Ultimately, we cannot tell either the Israelis or the Palestinians what’s best for them. They’re going to have to make some decisions. The moment is ripe for both sides to realize that the path that they are on is one that is not going to result in prosperity and security for their people. I think it is possible for us to see a Palestinian state…that allows freedom of movement for its people, that allows for trade with other countries, that allows the creation of businesses and commerce so that people have a better life.
“And the bottom line in all these talks…is a child in the Palestinian Territories going to be better off? Do they have a future for themselves? And is the child in Israel going to feel confident about his or her safety and security? And if we can keep our focus on making their lives better and look forward, and not simply think about all the conflicts and tragedies of the past, then I think that we have an opportunity to make real progress.
“…I’m absolutely confident that the United States — working in tandem with the European Union, with Russia, with all the Arab states in the region — I’m absolutely certain that we can make significant progress.”
On his Muslim family, travels and common dreams:
“Now, my job is to communicate the fact that the United States has a stake in the well-being of the Muslim world…I have Muslim members of my family. I have lived in Muslim countries… The largest one, Indonesia. …In all my travels throughout the Muslim world, what I’ve come to understand is that regardless of your faith — and America is a country of Muslims, Jews, Christians, non-believers — regardless of your faith, people all have certain common hopes and common dreams.
“I do think that it is impossible for us to think only in terms of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict and not think in terms of what’s happening with Syria or Iran or Lebanon or Afghanistan and Pakistan. These things are interrelated. And what I’ve said, and I think Hillary Clinton has expressed this in her confirmation, is that if we are looking at the region as a whole and communicating a message to the Arab world and the Muslim world, that we are ready to initiate a new partnership based on mutual respect and mutual interest, then I think that we can make significant progress.
On the War on Terror
“…There are extremist organizations — whether Muslim or any other faith in the past — that will use faith as a justification for violence. We cannot paint with a broad brush a faith as a consequence of the violence that is done in that faith’s name.”
On relations with Iran:
“…Now, the Iranian people are a great people, and Persian civilization is a great civilization. Iran has acted in ways that’s not conducive to peace and prosperity in the region…But I do think that it is important for us to be willing to talk to Iran, to express very clearly where our differences are…And as I said during my inauguration speech, if countries like Iran are willing to unclench their fist, they will find an extended hand from us.”
On communicating to the Muslim world:
“We’re going to follow through on our commitment for me to address the Muslim world from a Muslim capital (within 100 days of taking office). We are going to follow through on many of my commitments to do a more effective job of reaching out, listening, as well as speaking to the Muslim world.
“And my job is to communicate to the American people that the Muslim world is filled with extraordinary people who simply want to live their lives and see their children live better lives. My job to the Muslim world is to communicate that the Americans are not your enemy. We sometimes make mistakes. We have not been perfect.
“But ultimately, people are going to judge me not by my words but by my actions and my administration’s actions. And I think that what you will see over the next several years is that I’m not going to agree with everything that some Muslim leader may say…but I think that what you’ll see is somebody who is listening, who is respectful, and who is trying to promote the interests not just of the United States, but also ordinary people who right now are suffering from poverty and a lack of opportunity.”
-Excerpts from interview compiled by Yasmin A. Atheem

Advertisements

Leave a Comment so far
Leave a comment



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s



%d bloggers like this: