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Obama Strengthening Ties with The Muslim World
Obama Strengthening Ties with The Muslim World
During his first visit to a predominately Muslim country, President Barack Obama said that Turkey is a critical ally that the U.S. should work with to overcome the challenges of the 21st century in his historic speech at the Turkish parliament in Ankara on Monday April 6th.
Tuesday, April 7,2009 02:56
by Jenin Muhammad IkhwanWeb

During his first visit to a predominately Muslim country, President Barack Obama said that Turkey is a critical ally that the U.S. should work with to overcome the challenges of the 21st century in his historic speech at the Turkish parliament in Ankara on Monday April 6th.

Obama covered various issues in his speech including the global economic crisis, Turkey"s European Union bid, energy policies, Middle East conflicts, Iran and the ongoing normalization period between Turkey and Armenia. The U.S. President also used this opportunity to urge for better communication with the Muslim world.


The president declared that the U.S. is not at war with Islam and it will never be. "In fact, our partnership with the Muslim world is critical in rolling back a violent ideology that people of all faiths reject. We seek broad engagement based upon mutual interests and mutual respect," he added.


He pledged to be respectful, even when there are disagreements and to convey America"s deep appreciation for the Islamic faith, which has done so much over so many centuries to shape the world for the better.


"The United States has been enriched by Muslim Americans. Many other Americans have Muslims in their family, or have lived in a Muslim-majority country – I know, because I am one of them," he added.


During the opening speech at the 2nd Alliance of the Civilizations Forum hosted by Turkey in İstanbul, Erdoğan said as Turkey and Spain, they initiated the process with the belief that dialogue was possible.

"We sincerely believed that the Christian, Muslim and Jewish peoples, the East and the West, could understand and tolerate each other. We believed that prejudices in a globalizing world could only be dangerous," said Erdoğan.

He said the "Alliance of Civilizations" initiative which started under the auspices of UN in 2005 became an important platform creating concrete solutions and projects, adding that the second forum in İstanbul was a milestone for the initiative.

Undoubtedly, Obama"s visit to Turkey is important for the beginning of a new stage of U.S.-Turkey relations. Obama"s choice of visiting Turkey so early in his presidency highlighted the U.S. desire not to lose its only Muslim country ally that can help it ease troubles in the Middle East region at large.

It is worth noting the US President"s support for Turkey"s EU membership followed by the French President’s statement speaking to the TF1 Channel," This is something that only EU will decide on. Sarkozy once more pointed out that he opposed Turkey"s EU membership.

Turkey has long been seeking to join the 27-nation bloc, but meets a strong resistance from some heavyweights such as Germany and France.

Many Turks see Obama as a peace advocate, unlike his predecessor Bush. "I have a bad impression of America because they are so fond of making wars, but I think Obama can change that." Yurdagul Oguzman, 29, told the Washington Post.

However, critics say Obama should not try to engage the "Muslim world" because there is no such unified thing. They say this will play into Osama bin Laden"s narrative because he portrays himself as the protector of the "Muslim world."

To prove otherwise to them, one must understand the role that Islam plays in the Muslim world. In the United States, the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution with its Bill of Rights are at the core of what we believe. In the Muslim world, the law that a Muslim needs is in the Qur’an and the Sunnah.

Thomas Jefferson wrote that the Creator endowed man with these unalienable rights. The framers of the Constitution wrote that they were establishing justice, ensuring domestic tranquility, promoting the general welfare and securing the blessings of liberty.

In the same way, Islamic law believes that God has ordained political justice, economic justice, help for the weak and impoverished. These are very Islamic concepts. Many Muslims believe that what Americans receive from their government is in fact the very substance of what an Islamic state should provide. American beliefs in individual liberty and the dignity of the individual are Islamic principles as well.

Obama sent a shockwave through the Muslim World when at the National Prayer Breakfast on February 5th he quoted a hadith "None of you truly believes until he wishes for his brother what he wishes for himself." The president equated that tenet of Islam with Jesus" "Love thy neighbor as thyself," and the Jewish Torah commandment, "That which is hateful to you, do not do to your fellow."

For an American president to use the language of Islam to show the commonality with American and Judeo-Christian values amplifies his message 100 times among Muslims.

Posted in Activites , Islamic Issues , Obama , Islamic Movements  
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