By Colin Rule on April 6, 2009 at 11:22 pm
From President Obama's remarks to the Turkish Parliament yesterday: "I know there have been difficulties these last few years. I know that the trust that binds the United States and Turkey has been strained, and I know that strain is shared in many places where the Muslim faith is practiced. So let me say this as clearly as I can: The United States is not, and will never be, at war with Islam. (Applause.) In fact, our partnership with the Muslim world is critical not just in rolling back the violent ideologies that people of all faiths reject, but also to strengthen opportunity for all its people.
I also want to be clear that America's relationship with the Muslim community, the Muslim world, cannot, and will not, just be based upon opposition to terrorism. We seek broader engagement based on mutual interest and mutual respect. We will listen carefully, we will bridge misunderstandings, and we will seek common ground. We will be respectful, even when we do not agree. We will convey our deep appreciation for the Islamic faith, which has done so much over the centuries to shape the world -- including in my own country. The United States has been enriched by Muslim Americans. Many other Americans have Muslims in their families or have lived in a Muslim-majority country -- I know, because I am one of them. (Applause.)
Above all, above all we will demonstrate through actions our commitment to a better future. I want to help more children get the education that they need to succeed. We want to promote health care in places where people are vulnerable. We want to expand the trade and investment that can bring prosperity for all people. In the months ahead, I will present specific programs to advance these goals. Our focus will be on what we can do, in partnership with people across the Muslim world, to advance our common hopes and our common dreams. And when people look back on this time, let it be said of America that we extended the hand of friendship to all people.
There's an old Turkish proverb: "You cannot put out fire with flames." America knows this. Turkey knows this. There's some who must be met by force, they will not compromise. But force alone cannot solve our problems, and it is no alternative to extremism. The future must belong to those who create, not those who destroy. That is the future we must work for, and we must work for it together.
I know there are those who like to debate Turkey's future. They see your country at the crossroads of continents, and touched by the currents of history. They know that this has been a place where civilizations meet, and different peoples come together. They wonder whether you will be pulled in one direction or another.
But I believe here is what they don't understand: Turkey's greatness lies in your ability to be at the center of things. This is not where East and West divide -- this is where they come together. (Applause.) In the beauty of your culture. In the richness of your history. In the strength of your democracy. In your hopes for tomorrow.
I am honored to stand here with you -- to look forward to the future that we must reach for together -- and to reaffirm America's commitment to our strong and enduring friendship. Thank you very much. (Applause.) Thank you. Thank you."
Can you imagine having the leader of the U.S. making statements like these in a Muslim country? I have never been prouder of an American President.
nadine April 28, 2009 at 10:58 pmPermalink
I think you should ponder the connection between President Obama's comments anywhere and your next blog entry on the promotion of organizational sociopaths in complex organizations. No organization more complex than the Federal Government, and getting more so all the time.
Mr Sikander Hayat April 7, 2009 at 2:05 amPermalink
Mr Obama has made a good start in the Muslim World. Turkey, Iran & Pakistan are the most important non Arab Muslim countries and must be treated by the West as Allies.
I am the first one to understand the difficulty of dealing with Iran and the awful state of affairs in Pakistan but for students of history it will not be a surprise to hear that these three countries were part of a block against the Soviet influence in the Muslims world. These three countries were the members of an economic alliance called RCD and were thinking upon the lines of EU to have free trade and movement of labour. But then Iran went theocratic under the Mullahs and Pakistan was consumed by the Afghan Jihad. Out of the three most secular societies in the Muslim World, only Turkey survived as a bastion of secularism as Iran & Pakistan succumbed to Shia & Sunni Islam respectively. In this historical backdrop it is vital for the EU and the US to court Turkey and keep it on their side, otherwise history may eventually find Turkey on the other side as well.
By Sikander Hayat
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