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Obama reaches out to Muslims

world Updated: Jan 27, 2009 23:46 IST

Agencies
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US President Barack Obama on Monday told the Muslim world that “Americans are not your enemy” and renewed his pledge to travel to make an address in the capital of a major Muslim nation.

Obama noted that he had lived in Indonesia for several years while growing up, and said his travels through Muslim nations had convinced him that regardless of faith, people had certain common hopes and dreams.

“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,” Obama said in an interview with the Al-Arabiya satellite television network.

“But if you look at the track record, America was not born as a colonial power, and that the same respect and partnership that America had with the Muslim world as recently as 20 or 30 years ago, there’s no reason why we can’t restore that.”

During the 2008 election campaign, Obama vowed to improve US ties with the Muslim world and said he would travel to a major Islamic forum abroad to send that message. “We’re going to follow through on our commitment for me to address the Muslim world from a Muslim capital,” Obama said in the interview with the Dubai-based channel.

“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,” he said.

Obama did not give a time, or a venue for his visit to a major Muslim capital.

He was also asked about the highly personal tone of recent Al Qaeda messages released since he was elected president in November. He agreed with his interviewer that the tone of recent videos seemed “nervous.” “What that tells me is that their ideas are bankrupt.”

Series of initiatives

Having dispatched a special envoy to the Middle East, the US President Barack Obama has said that his administration would be making a series of initiatives to reach out to the Muslim world. “Addressing the Muslim world directly from the capital of an Islamic country would be the next move,” he said.