Washington D.C. - Looks like President Barack Obama is trying to follow up on his promise to bring peace between the United States and the Muslim World. The President choose Arabic satellite TV network Al-Arabiya Channel for his first formal interview since taking the oath.
Speaking with unprecedented candor and respect, the President stressed the importance of repairing the once friendly relationship that eroded significantly during by the Bush administration. Obama said 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."
Obama mentioned that his Muslim family connections were often brought up in a divisive way during the U.S. Presidential Election, but he would make it his mission to communicate to the Muslim world "that the Americans are not your enemy."
Although Obama is making the effort, some Muslims can’t help but to feel skeptical. Ills done by the Bush Administration are still fresh in the minds of many. But the old adage that actions speak louder than words applies in this case. As apart of the concerted effort to repair Middle East relations with the US, Obama sent newly appointed special envoy George Mitchell to the region. Mitchell arrived in Israel on Wednesday, to begin the peace making process between the war wrought countries, Israel and Gaza.
Obama also made good on his promise to close controversial Guantanamo Bay, or ‘Gitmo’. His first executive order was to have the holding camp closed within a year of the declaration. The US came under scrutiny for the interrogation methods used at the camp; which housed mainly Muslim terrorism suspects.
US sworn enemy Osama Bin Laden has taken notice of the new President. Earlier in the month, the al-Qaida leader released his latest message; pointedly addressing President Obama, and the “heavy inheritance” that Bush left him, the Iraq war. But Obama dismissed the terrorist network, saying that "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…”
Obama’s got a reason to worry. His January 14th message suggests that al-Qaida fears Obama will undermine their effort to show the US as an enemy to the Muslim world. An effort that the new President is making his mission.
Was this a good move or is the President stoking dangerous flames? Comment below.