He greeted the Cairo audience with an “as-salaam-u-alaykum”, said he was Barack Hussein Obama and quoted from the Quran. At some point, someone screamed: “We love you.”
“I would have said the same. He is not like Bush. I like him,” said 24-year-old Sumaiyah Ahmed, who wears a veil to class, speaking from Warangal. Ahmed is a student of JNU’s Centre for West Asian Studies.
Muslims have greeted the speech as a welcome shift.
Obama made it clear that “America is not — and will never be — at war with Islam”. But many said stirring speeches weren’t enough.
However, like elsewhere, Indian Muslims waited for the speech with baited breath.
Obama touched upon everything that is of Muslim concern: Israel, Iran, the Quran, the burqa and Obama’s own Muslim roots.
Obama is different, given the “history of Democrats and his own background”, said Omair Anas, who works with the UAE embassy in Delhi.
However, many Muslims reason that a crumbling economy may have to do a lot with this olive branch. “Contexts determine political stands. In the US, public opinion is against war. Obama is responding to that,” said Hilal Ahmed, fellow at the Delhi-based Centre for the Study of Developing Societies.