Obama’s speech to the Muslim world tries to rebuild a fractured relationship

June 4, 2009

(chattahBox) — Barack Obama’s long-awaited speech to the Muslim world at Cairo’s Al-Azhar University, entitled “A New Beginning,” focused on repositioning America in the Muslim and Arab worlds. The 50-minute speech which revolved around ‘the need for global cooperation in the advancement of peace’ was mostly well received. Not unexpectedly A joint statement by eight Damascus, Syria-based radical Palestinian factions, including Hamas thought otherwise: “Obama’s speech is an attempt to mislead people and create more illusions to improve America’s aggressive image in the Arab and Islamic world.” The speech was streamed live over the Internet on the White House Website and on TV networks worldwide. Major Arab networks carried Obama’s address to the Muslim the world live with simultaneous translation.

The speech at times had the feel of a history lesson siting the contributions Islamic culture has made to civilization over the centuries. Obama also reviewed the troubled historical between Islam and the rest of the world, from colonialism through the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Some see this as an attempt to rebuild a fractured relationship, while others are critical that Obama is basically apologizing for the Bush administrations actions. While he really said most the same things other US presidents have said in the past, there was one clear departure that certainly made Israel cringe. He talked about the “occupation” of Palestinian lands, in terms of 60 years of Palestinian pain and dislocation, thus dating that suffering to 1948, the birth of Israel, not just to 1967 and the beginning of the West Bank’s occupation.


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