January 27th, 2009
06:48 PM ET

Mr. Obama goes to Al-Arabiya

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/POLITICS/01/27/obama.arabia/art.obama1.gi.jpg caption="President Obama has taken an early interest in the Middle East peace process."]

Arsalan Iftikhar | BIO
Founder, TheMuslimGuy.com

Echoing a key theme of his inauguration speech, President Barack Obama, during his first interview with an Arab news channel, told the Muslim world that he holds a world view based on the following principle:

…You will be judged on what you've built, not what you've destroyed….

After viewing the Al-Arabiya interview several times, some key quotes (fittingly) in bold:

On sending (former Senator) George Mitchell as Middle East Special Envoy: “Sending George Mitchell to the Middle East is fulfilling my campaign promise that we're not going to wait until the end of my administration to deal with Palestinian and Israeli peace, we're going to start now. It may take a long time to do, but we're going to do it now…

“…And so what I told him is start by listening, because all too often the United States starts by dictating…

Well, isn’t that a nice departure from the foreign policy disasters and garbled rhetoric of George W. Bush? Although there was little substantive ‘policy’ discussed in the Al-Arabiya interview, the ‘tone’ and message marked a stark departure from our previous president.

On communications with the Muslim world: “…Now, my job is to communicate the fact that the United States has a stake in the well-being of the Muslim world, that the language we use has to be a language of respect. I have Muslim members of my family. I have lived in Muslim countries…

…to the broader Muslim world what we are going to be offering is a hand of friendship…

Wow. During the presidential campaign, when certain nasty (and xenophobic) right-wing elements tried to paint President Obama as some kind of crypto-Muslim Manchurian Candidate, we Americans did not see candidate Obama go even once within 12 feet of an American mosque entrance or Muslim campaign event.

During the election, the ‘Muslim’ insinuation became so radioactive that two American Muslim women in Michigan were removed from an Obama event in Detroit by campaign volunteers last June simply because the two women wore hijab (headscarf).

Now that he has won the election, President Obama is now humbly flexing his Muslim world ‘street cred’ by highlighting the fact that his multi-ethnic (and multi-religious) family includes Christians and Muslims and that he has lived in the world’s largest Muslim country, Indonesia.

On Al-Qaeda’s ideology: “…Their ideas are bankrupt. There's no actions that they've taken that say a child in the Muslim world is getting a better education because of them, or has better health care because of them…

...In my inauguration speech, I spoke about: You will be judged on what you've built, not what you've destroyed. And what they've been doing is destroying things. And over time, I think the Muslim world has recognized that that path is leading no place, except more death and destruction…

Amen, brother.

As President Obama said in the interview, as Muslims worldwide continue to condemn and neutralize the hateful ideology of Al-Qaeda, this sort of nuanced clarity from President Obama shows that his rhetoric with the Muslim world will not include previous bone-headed presidential terms like ‘Crusade’ or ‘Islamo-Facism’.

On Islam-West reconciliation: “…And my job is to communicate to the American people that the Muslim world is filled with extraordinary people who simply want to live their lives and see their children live better lives. 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…

…But ultimately, people are going to judge me not by my words but by my actions and my administration's actions…

Wow, again. Once more, the humble, conciliatory and nuanced words our President used during the interview offer an olive branch to over 1.2 billion Muslims worldwide.

And President Obama is absolutely correct when he says the world will judge his legacy on his actions, not his words.

On ‘War on Terror’ slogan: “…I think that you're making a very important point. And that is that the language we use matters. And what we need to understand is, is that there are extremist organizations - whether Muslim or any other faith in the past - that will use faith as a justification for violence. We cannot paint with a broad brush a faith as a consequence of the violence that is done in that faith's name…

A truth that is 'self-evident,' but not said nearly often enough.

And one thought about his promise to make a major speech in an Islamic Capital: “…We're going to follow through on our commitment for me to address the Muslim world from a Muslim capital…

My prediction: Jakarta, Indonesia. (Amman, Jordan running a close second…)

Editor’s Note: Arsalan Iftikhar is an international human rights lawyer, founder of www.TheMuslimGuy.com and contributing editor for Islamica Magazine in Washington.

soundoff (200 Responses)
  1. Elina

    This is a President every American should be proud of. Intelligent, with a deep understanding of the world around. Thank you for this great interview, Mr. President!

    January 28, 2009 at 11:57 am |
  2. Nick

    Wow. Watch out Jim Fallbrook, CA. You *can* be sued for what you say.

    January 28, 2009 at 9:28 am |
  3. Karim

    Way to go Mr. President.
    I noticed some of the people here do not know the fact of why this conflict exists in the Middle East and accusing the Muslim world of being terrorists. My simple answer to them is to search for the 1948 Israel map in google, see the approved boundaries by the United Nations in 1948 and compare it with the current Israel map. You will realize that the Muslim world was trying to get back their occupied land for the last 60 years or so.

    January 28, 2009 at 2:58 am |
  4. Jim Lawrence

    There are those who think we can and those who thind we cannot and they are both correct

    January 28, 2009 at 2:00 am |
  5. Amel from Bahrain

    thank you Obama for making us human again. To people who have hateful white supremecist messages, there are many american-educated people in the middle east. There is no reason why you should think of yoruself more evolved than the likes of hitler for your rhetoric but Obama knows. Because he traveled and he has seen. The most wonderful, humble and truely true people are those uncorrupted livong paycheck to paycheck in Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand. So Veronica, get yoruself a passport and travel. There is a world outside America and we all just want to raise our kids, send them to college, and shelter them like you do.

    January 28, 2009 at 2:00 am |
  6. Aaron

    @Veronica since when does talking to regular people on a network of Arabs add up to giving away the keys to the Pentagon? Are you a Christian? If you support war then you are a murderer and thus, Jesus probably hates for you it.

    People like Veronica are the people trying to make this world worse. She and her ilk of hatred, ignorance and self-absorption will kill us all if left unchecked. They're not taking a day off. They are working hard every day to spread their hatred and xenophobia. We can't take a day off either.

    We must not stop spreading peace, love and tolerance. Keep it up, President Obama. These vile, disgusting people that call themselves "Christians" have nothing on you.

    January 28, 2009 at 1:57 am |
  7. Art

    I'm embarrased by our new President. Once again he is apologizing for being an American. (I, for one, have always been proud to be an American.) He wants to "strenghten the Muslim leaders"? You can't be serious. Those people hate us, and want to destroy us. The latest is the round trip of Islamic students attending US universities, then returning to their native lands to join the jihad. Close Gitmo? And return those terrorists to kill Americans again? He doesn't even have an alternative place to put them. I wouldn't be surprised if he declares Iran to be American's great friend and ally. I'm agnostic and do not belong to either political party. But I do not trust our new President with America's security.

    January 28, 2009 at 1:57 am |
  8. RSC

    Well done, Mr. President. Finally, someone with some intelligence.

    January 28, 2009 at 1:42 am |
  9. Tony

    I love president Bush, I think he was surrounded by a bunch of bad people giving him bad advice and with their own interests at the forefront. (Dick Cheney + Haliburton + War = Retirement for Cheney, Family and Friends)

    Some may not agree with Deepak Chopra (spiritualist/philosopher), or may think he's a nut.
    Think about the words we used : "War On Terror"

    He pointed out how that in itself was an oxymoron, and he is right. Besides being an oxymoron, i wonder how this translated into other languages. Probably did'nt translate too well either

    Obama inherited a monumental task that could make or break us with the next decision he makes. I think he is an intelligent man, a deep thinker, one who does'nt mind thinking outside the box and welcomes new ideas. I am behind our president.

    January 28, 2009 at 1:40 am |
  10. nick

    great and smart man. our president. i am proud of him. war is not the answer

    January 28, 2009 at 1:37 am |
  11. Elina

    President Obama is someone Americans should really be proud of! His understanding of the world, including the Arab world, is so deep and intelligent, it certainly gives us hope for the better future. Thank you, President Obama!

    January 28, 2009 at 1:35 am |
  12. John

    @ Veronica and the neo poops (neo cons)

    Obama said he wants to reach out to the muslim world and let them
    know we aren't their enemies. But he has said we will defend this country against radicals like Al Quada,Hamas and Iran. We can do this in the framework of our laws and values. He hasn't given the keys to the radicals Veronica!!!! He didn't invade a country that had nothing to do with 9-11 and destabilize it which was a buffer to Iran.. He didn't
    violate possibly international treaty's that ban torture!!! This isn't a episode of 24!!! This reality and thank God Smart people that read is in Charge!!!!

    January 28, 2009 at 1:32 am |
  13. mwongela samuel(kenya)

    Obama is the first American and world leader to ever have the best policies which can unite all countries in world based on mutual respect for one another

    January 28, 2009 at 1:32 am |
  14. Shei

    This is so awesome for a president of the most powerful country in the world. This has a good impact among all the Muslims in the world, having lived here in the Middle East. Americans will now slowly but surely be viewed as friendly and peace-loving people. This is what the world needs at this present time amidts the economic downturn and the climate change. I feel elated to know that our world has a great chance of peace and prosperity. But he is still human and he can make mistakes. But the most refreshing fact is that he is reaching out to the people who are wrongly considered as the villains in our conquest for peace. I hope he gets interviewed by Al Jazeera next time.

    January 28, 2009 at 1:27 am |
  15. Jim St Louis

    I applaud President Obama's efforts and I have worked in the Arab World Mid-East and Africa for the best part of 20 years. Like any people they are very proud and energetic as any people of the world. The Arab and Muslims within have a lot of differences all over world. There are many ways to deal with Arabs and especially the sects of Muslims based on there traditional value systems one mass discussion of all may not work so well. But trying is a very good thing but remember that many US Presidents have made inroads in the Arab/Muslim worlds. So you can't always say a past President was not successful. What all Presidents do is important and keeps the US engaged in the Arab/Muslim world.

    Now when it come to groups of Arab/Muslim's like Hamas, Hezbollah, Al-Qaeda and any Arab/Muslim that want to destroy Israel these would be considered Terrorists who also want to destroy country that affiliates with Israel and call them infidels; in addition these Terrorists do not have any goals financially, economically, nationally for a specific Arab/Muslim country.

    I wish the President the best I have for all prior Presidents it is a necessary work to try to help ones neighbors.

    January 28, 2009 at 1:25 am |
  16. Shaun

    jim Fallbrook CA

    Your display of ignorance is appalling. Go educate yourself to the world and the come back and form an opinion based on actual real information.

    Making up statistics. Seesh.

    January 28, 2009 at 1:24 am |
  17. John in Italy

    While I am very pleased in general with our new president, I am disappointed at the neutral/pro Israel stance being taken by him and most other World leaders regarding the attack by Israel on Gaza.. Something like 400 children murdered, Red Cross workers shot, I saw the video, a grandmother and children as young as two shot while in plane sight holding a white flag. Those things have to be talked about before the Arab World will really take our President's words seriously.

    January 28, 2009 at 1:23 am |
  18. Manfred Wallner

    Jim Fallbrook, from CA, said in a comment on top that Obama is a socialist and a muslim. While this is a lie, he omits the truth, which is that the previous republican administration was saturated with morons and thiefs who brought our economy to its knees., while at the same time undermining our credibility throughout the world. All I have to say to Jim is: Grow a brain, dude.

    January 28, 2009 at 1:23 am |
  19. latha

    it was a brilliant step taken by the president by reaching out to the arab and the muslim world.
    having read and listenied to both sides of the responses for Obama's interview made me think objectively.
    may be the radicals do not want to make peace with any one.
    may be obama is being too optimistic,
    but what has hostility and close mindedness achieve so far?
    it only created several bin ladens.
    things are so bad now another strategy is warrented and what obama has done has at least removed tne fear and the belief that america is a bully.
    obama has now taken the road taken by gandhi, martin luther king and other great leaders of the world who have achieved the impossible by reaching out and being non violent.
    let us keep an open mind – wait and see

    January 28, 2009 at 1:20 am |
  20. Sue, Virginia

    Right on, Mr. President. We all know you make more friends with honey than with vinegar. People are people –all over the world. The need for the same principles of peace and honor and respect exist everywhere. You are approaching foreign matters in the right vein and have good people in place to accomplish your goals.

    Keep up your good work. You are an honest smart President and we applaud you. Nothing will be easy but nothing worth anything ever is. From what I see/hear, you are nipping problems in the bud or at least not sweeping them under a rug or burying your head in the sand. You have a full plate of problems before you but I trust you have the know how to make America and the world a better place in which to live. As you often say, it is not about me but about YOU. But we need a leader. YOU!!!

    January 28, 2009 at 1:19 am |
  21. Derrick in the middle of the USA

    Interesting that almost all those against Pres. Obama's olive branch chant "You can't make peace with 'them' – they all just want to kill us". Well, you had your 8 years of leadership. Those of us that believe the majority of the Muslim world would be content to live in peace are about to get at least 4 years of our kind of leadership. Obama wasted no time calling out the radical violent faction of the Muslim world: 'You have done nothing to improve the lives of your people.' Our new president is a brilliant strategist; we'll see what happens.

    January 28, 2009 at 1:19 am |
  22. Sarah

    I want to know this – all you liberals are sooo happy to make nicey-nice with Muslims, but Muslims by their very definition are: anti-abortion, anti-women, anti-gays (not just anti-gay marraige, but "if-you-are-gay-we-will-stone-you-to-death"), anti-drugs, anti-LIBERAL! Oh, and because of YOUR beliefs (the liberal ones) many of them want to kill you. Really kill you.

    Now tell me that Obama's capitulation to these people is good for America and our values, this time with a straight face.

    January 28, 2009 at 1:18 am |
  23. CC

    I am proud of our new President. About time we extend a balanced hand – jews, muslims and Christians all share Abrahamic roots. We are all from the same family. Way to go Mr. President.

    January 28, 2009 at 1:18 am |
  24. Hank

    Some good language, but still not neutral enough. He doesn't have to say they don't have the right to exist, but at least he should say that Israel needs to use some restraint as well, instead of placing all the blame on Hamas.

    As well as engaging Muslims worldwide, he should also reach out to Muslim Americans in his speeches. But I applaud his early effort to get engaged in the Mid East. The "hands off" approach of the previous eight years did not work!

    January 28, 2009 at 1:17 am |
  25. S Mohanakrishnan

    Bravo, President Obama
    You have said all the right things in the right tone and manner
    Now you have taken the issue to the Muslim world and it is transparent that you want friendship and peace with all the peace-loving Muslims. I am sure there will be positive reactions to this. America under your leadership seems to be putting the correct step forward. Please make sure all your administration embraces these sentiments and style. You will win hearts and minds. I am also impressed by Robert Gates when he talked about the limited goal of the world community in Afganisthan. The focus should be to 'get the limited job done quickly and get out'. If you follow through on your promise to get out of Iraq within a short time-table you would show your sincerity to the world. But remember USA also has a commitment to rebuild the countries ravaged by it. May be the present economic circumstances in USA do not permit you to start a Marshall Plan for Iraq but you have the responsibility and liability to start some rebuilding going there.I wish you all the best.

    January 28, 2009 at 1:17 am |
  26. anoob hakim

    somehow i feel his talk is not going to do the walk. his blind support for israel will be his undoing. Mr. President, balance is what we need. We can survive without your support but when you support governments like Israel to do whtever they please to do, the balance tips. He never got the balancing act during his campaign and will never get it during his presidency.

    January 28, 2009 at 1:14 am |
  27. Jamie

    Jim! Great comments! I see that many of the people who are disagreeing with you don't even respect America enough to capitalize the first letter. For those of you who missed English 101, America is a proper name and should be capitalized.

    If you seriously think that Obama is the answer to the problems of the world, then you missed more that English 101. Go read a history book. Those who don't study history are doomed to repeat it and I am very afraid for the safety of our country. You'll need to do your own research to determine what part of history I refer to.

    One of the posts here said that Obama is not a Muslim. However, he has on few occasions referred to his Muslim faith and then had to correct it. I have nothing against the peace-loving Muslims in the world. But you have to be cautious. This article only highlights a few points from his interview. But once again, the liberals are responding without getting all of the information. Not one comment here discusses the points he made on Iran's nuclear weapons. Why? Because you are looking for a savior and, folks, he's not it. Open your eyes. Do the research. Go find the whole interview. Get your news from more than just a headline and learn to think for yourself instead of what the liberal media tells you to think.

    January 28, 2009 at 1:12 am |
  28. Barbara

    From the sound of Obama's latest speech, we women need to start buying scarfs. After all, when he lets the muslims take over, we'll be required to hide our faces, pretty or ugly.

    Only God can help America. I hope all of you that voted for Obama are happy that you are starting the end of a great nation.

    I will take George Bush anytime. At least he isn't two faced and demands his own way. Obama seems to think he is a might ruler that we are supposed to bow down to.

    There is only 1 God to bow down to and it isn't Obama.
    God help America.

    January 28, 2009 at 1:12 am |
  29. Steve

    I'm glad he's not going to try and force freedom into a religion whose name means 'submission (to god, or god's will)' as our former president tried to. They aren't very compatible.

    This, though, is just a beginning. A lot more will need to be done before things will start to go somewhere. I've hoped for a long time that the so violent portrayed Islamic world would look to the Qur'an's peaceful preachings before interpreting it for that of the violence seen so often. Almost an empty hope because violence has been so ingrained into the religion.

    Oh, and I find the fear of Socialist,/Communist, and Marxist idealsto be outdated and stupid. It doesn't take a genius to see that Communism just doesn't work as well as it was meant to.

    January 28, 2009 at 1:12 am |
  30. Jo

    Does no one remember the planes crashing into the World Trade Centers, the Pentagon, and headed for the Capital? That was an act of war perpetrated on the citizens of the United States. What Obama is doing is appeasement. Americans don't hate Muslims. Muslims hate Americans. Making "nicey-nice" with them will not change that.

    January 28, 2009 at 1:12 am |
  31. Sal Dean

    It's about time someone shows a genuine interest in tackling the never ending Middleast crisis.

    Resolving the Middleast problem will provide Israel with a much needed true peace , provide the Palestinian with a country to call their own and nip at the bud all of the excuses and justifications given by extremists in the Arab world and around the world.

    Good luck Mr President!

    January 28, 2009 at 1:12 am |
  32. ana

    Jim in Fallbrook-
    You are one of the most uninformed and ignorant persons I have ever had to share this planet with. If you don't bother to learn anything and maybe travel a bit, you will live a small and hateful life! I hope you take this opportunity to be open to the world, including muslims, and then you can appreciate the diversity this world has to offer.

    January 28, 2009 at 1:10 am |
  33. Ali Hassan

    This is just politics and the president is playing his role in it. It is very disappointing to see that now we have to negotiate with Arabs!

    Someone said here that 85% of them are uncivilized. I lived in many Arab countries and I must admit it is the case. Lets look at the facts: who has been blowing up the things around? was not it moslem terrorists?

    I wish we would get someone like Bush who would continue our policies against arab world. Hopefully Obama will not get re-elected after his term and we will be back to punishing Arabs again.

    January 28, 2009 at 1:09 am |
  34. Lukas

    The commentators who regard the interview as some sort of capitulation before the Islamic fundamentalists completely miss the point. I can't judge whether it is out of malice or genuine ignorance.

    The point is that by reaching out to the Muslim world, he is calling the radicals' bluff. Radicals were always able to justify their terrorism by referring to the previous administration's aggressive rhetoric and actions. If you torture people, you won't get very good press. Before anyone starts talking about the need to torture terrorists: that argument could be made, but it is an indisputable fact that many, many obviously innocent people were incarcerated and tortured as well – how can you possibly justify that?

    Now the fanatics are in trouble: the new president is reaching out to peaceful Muslims and he is abolishing torture. Hard to demonise Obama and increase hatred against America. You can tell that Al-Qaeda is panicking – their anti-Obama rhetoric has been more vicious than their anti-Bush rhetoric. Obama is much more of a danger to them than Bush was, because his stances are more likely to put ordinary Muslims off becoming terrorists.

    Obama has reached out. That does not mean he capitulated. He has strongly defended America's enduring friedship with Israel. He has made very clear that peace would only be made with those who themselves want peace. And if the Middle East does not accept his overtures? Then it was still a brilliant step to take, because if they don't accept, the world will see who is really responsible for the lack of peace, and might stop blaming America for everything. He reached out without in any way diminishing or weakening America. What is so wrong about seeking alliances or not being hated around the world?

    January 28, 2009 at 1:08 am |
  35. SM Gordon

    Oh, and for the other Obama supporters. Please try to use proper grammar so we can understand what you are talking about.

    January 28, 2009 at 1:07 am |
  36. James Womack

    President Obama is simply a 21st century Neville Chamberlin. While America is NOT the enemy of Islam. Al Queda, Hamas, Hezbollah, have wide support in the greater Muslim population and those groups ARE our sworn enemy.They killed 3000 Americans before Iraq, before Afghanistan. I will never forgive the Palestians who danced in the streets. after 9/11. And while Americans aren't perfect, praying to ALLAH doesn't make you perfect either.

    They need to address the log in their own eye, so they can see clearly the speck in ours. Meanwhile, if they continue to kill American's indiscriminately, even a wuss like Obama, is going to kill ten for every one of ours.

    January 28, 2009 at 1:04 am |
  37. Jasons

    Finally America is Doomed. You bone headed American morons how can you ever think of making friends with the muslim world?? A true muslim can never be a friend of a non muslim. The media and muslims have eventually let you to your doom. The silent majority of the world population were great supporters of Pres Bush. America was look ed at in shock and awe, we all admired America.

    The muslims and the media have made fools out of you. They led you into believing that the world hated you. Name the countries that hate America? Pakistan, iran, iraq, Bangladesh, Syria , etc etc….. ha ha ha ha , the list goes on.

    Now the countries that will hate you are, India, china, countries in Europe. You danda heads are actually brain dead.

    Wait for a year, then the whole world will laugh at you, silly jokers.

    January 28, 2009 at 1:04 am |
  38. lauren smith

    I heard on your show today and I see on the main page items about Mr. Obama. He is the President now. Give him respect. It is Mr. President or President Obama. He is now the leader of our country! Not joe the plumber!!

    January 28, 2009 at 1:04 am |
  39. Kenneth

    President Obama just started his war on terror in the most effective way. He is reaching to the islamic and arab worlds to let them know that we are not their enemies. George Bush was wrong when he declared war on the muslims and arabs instead of terrorism. Bush action made the muslim world more fertile for new terrorism to grow. We could have won the war against terrorism long time ago if we did not alienate the muslim world. I am again proud to be an American. I do beleive that Barack Obama is Elija the messenger as time will reveal.

    January 28, 2009 at 1:03 am |
  40. Fran Haselsteiner

    A friend said last week that he could not remember a president before Obama who actually took the Constitution seriously and actually seemed to really believe in American ideals.

    Clearly our past policies in the Middle East have failed. Let's try winning hearts and minds for a change.

    January 28, 2009 at 12:59 am |
  41. Emily in Michigan

    Wow Jim Fallbrook you certainly do seem to be an expert on all things Muslim. You should show your patriotism by joining the armed forces so your fluent arabic and cultural expertise can be put to good use!

    I love that he gave this interview. It's about time that the world saw that our country does have its share of bigoted, ignorant losers, but we also have plenty of open-minded, educated, kind people, and thank the lord we voted in larger numbers than the rednecks this election. Keep up the good work President Obama!

    January 28, 2009 at 12:58 am |
  42. Aziz - Saudi Arabia

    Let me just say one thing, that since President Barack Obama had been elected, us here in the arab world were thrilled. We really do hope for some changes in the US's foreign policy. And for those who say that President Barack Obama went for an Arabic TV station before even holding an interview with an American one, just think about it for a second, he would only repeat his promises about the economy and tells you that he will try to fix America's picture world wide. Well guess what, he is already trying to help the economy, and he surely is fixing America's picture by picking Al-Arabiya as his first pick for an interview.

    If America continues holding goerge bush's ideas and actions towards the middle-east, then the Middle-East will have no other choice than going to China and Russia as a last resort, which is something we don't really want.. So I'm really glad that President Barack has done that move.

    January 28, 2009 at 12:47 am |
  43. Steve Morrison

    As a Canadian, who enjoys sitting back and watching American politics, I had initial doubts about Mr.Obama's promise to deliver "change", so far he has spoken well, and made grand gestures, but little sustance, (albeit only a few days). However speaking to an Arab language network was pretty amazing. Firstly, if addresses an active interest and serious interest in the Middle East, which has directed limited American foreign policy for far to long. It also offers hope for the embattled citizens of Gaza, and a lesser extent israel to live in peace.

    By addressing the fact that being Islamic does not make one a terrorist, he may win the hearts and support of many in the Islamic world, thus able to scale back military spending in two very costly and ineffective wars and spend that money on helping America's ecomonic recovery, while keeping (1) a secure oil supply (2) isolating extremist nations like Iran (3) reassert American dominance in world affairs through diplomatic means.

    It was the right thing to do, Mr Obama said in the campaign he was willing to speak to America's foes, and he has as a true leader, has taken the first step tho both change and statemanship.

    January 28, 2009 at 12:47 am |
  44. SM Gordon

    To all of you who are fawning over Obama's olive branch approach to Muslims: It is not the devout, peace loving Muslim people we are worried about oh ignoramus ones. WE ARE friends of the every day muslims. If you can't separate the fact that GW Bush was trying to protect us from the purely evil zealots who have bastardized that beautiful religion, who are bent on destroying the USA (and will now have an opening to do so again) from liberal divisiveness, well, I'm afraid you spent too much money for your pseudo-intellectual, highly educa-maciated degree. Oh, I know, you can just toke another doob and forget about the real world.....rock on, but don't whine to me when the USA is attacked again, and above all, don't you ever,ever blame George Bush.

    January 28, 2009 at 12:46 am |
  45. Tom A

    Just as there are zionist jews, pentacostal Christians, an a dozen other religous extremists, radical islamist, there are radical orthodox Muslims. Pres. Obama is talking to the largest religion on earth which is spread around the world. When Muslims truly see the truth of these radical members and that the US recognizes their right for respect then they will turn against these radical element of their religon. Also, I am not sure what you mean about giving them all our security secrets, perhaps you are just talking from your own hate.

    January 28, 2009 at 12:45 am |
  46. Ayman Kurdi

    It is about time an American president takes a serious stand tacking the Middle East issues wisely and JUSTLY. At least one can say that this is a positive beginning.
    It is time for the world to realize that the Muslims or Arabs are not as Bush claims to be the "Axis of "Evil " distorting the image of Muslims or Arabs. Muslims or Arabs are not all cold blooded killers or terrorists.... after all look at who was behind the Oklahoma bombing.
    America must revive it's image in the world and President Obama is on the right track.

    January 28, 2009 at 12:42 am |
  47. Mark Stainbrook

    We are so blessed to have Barack as our President. Finally we have someone in the White House who believes in the golden rule instead of where is my golden parachute.

    January 28, 2009 at 12:42 am |
  48. Jerome

    Over 4 years ago when I heard Obama speak at the Democratic National convention I said to my wife and brother...one day that man will become the President of the USA.

    I figured maybe in 8 years that would happen and not in 4.

    All I can say is that I am glad my prediction came true but more so that it actually happened in 4 years and not 8.

    President Obama you will make a difference in the world and I hope everyone, everywhere will give you the support and encouragement to make it happen.

    Good luck and may the power of the Universe be with you !

    January 28, 2009 at 12:41 am |
  49. Ron

    The President understands that the way to deal with the Middle East is to Battle for the Hearts and Minds of the people. Whats wrong with that? I say nothing Wrong with that, somebody needs to do so because Big Ben has had his way to long. Who knows maybe even Big Ben mite open his Fist and reach out his hand.

    January 28, 2009 at 12:41 am |
  50. Adnan

    Despite, all his lofty speeches during the campaign. I have been very skeptical of America's ability to conduct its foreign affairs in a fair and just manner. America in the recent past has payed lip service to ideals of Human Rights, Freedom, Democracy and so on, but many would argue if America's conduct in the world arena really demonstrates this. I feel, America has in the past, by its actions, promoted Human Rights, Freedom and Democracy selectively and not for everyone.

    For me in the past, every american president ultimately ends up being the same what ever shape or colour. With his actions during this first week of presidency Mr. President has my attention. Maybe this one might be different after all.

    January 28, 2009 at 12:39 am |
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