Obama Cairo Speech Calls for New Chapter in USA-Muslim World RelationsWorld | June 4, 2009, Thursday // 14:38| views
The US President Obama delivered a milestone at Cairo University Thursday. Photo by EPA/BGNES
US President Barack Obama has called for a new chapter in the relations between the USA and the Muslim world in what is seen as a milestone speech delivered Thursday at Cairo University, Egypt.
Obama pointed out that America and the Muslim were not at war, and urged the Muslim nations to adopt democracy and religious tolerance while reviewing the historical legacy between Islam and the Western world.
"So long as our relationship is defined by our differences, we will empower those who sow hatred rather than peace, and who promote conflict rather than the cooperation that can help all of our people achieve justice and prosperity. This cycle of suspicion and discord must end", the US President declared as cited by The Washington Post.
In his speech, Obama drew on his father's Islamic heritage and his own childhood in Indonesia, and warned that "a small but potent minority of Muslims" have used those tensions to promote religious violence.
One of Obama's main points was on the decades-long Israeli-Palestinian Conflict. While the US President urged the Muslim world to recognize and be at peace with Israel, he also emphasized the Palestinians' right to an independent state.
"America's strong bonds with Israel are well known. This bond is unbreakable. It is based upon cultural and historical ties, and the recognition that the aspiration for a Jewish homeland is rooted in a tragic history that cannot be denied... On the other hand, it is also undeniable that the Palestinian people -- Muslims and Christians -- have suffered in pursuit of a homeland," Obama pointed out making it clear his Administration threw its weight behind the forming of an independent Palestinian state.
"So let there be no doubt: the situation for the Palestinian people is intolerable. America will not turn our backs on the legitimate Palestinian aspiration for dignity, opportunity, and a state of their own", he said criticizing Israeli construction of settlements in the occupied lands as it threatened efforts to achieve peace. At the same time the US President explicitly urged Palestinians to give up using violence.
President Obama made it clear the US sought no permanent military presence in Afghanistan, and would be glad to leave if there were no violent extremists who destabilize both Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Obama used quotes from the Koran several time, and pointed out that Thomas Jefferson kept a copy of the book in his personal library. "As the Holy Koran tells us, be conscious of God and speak always the truth", President Obama said.
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