I listened to Barack Obama with rapt attention as he addressed an international audience in Cairo University on Thursday. Speaking with flamboyance, he effectively highlighted the sensitive, critical issues confronting the world, particularly Muslims. His dispassionate views and clarity of expression left a deep impact on me. America is lucky to have a good leader who believes in sanity and wisdom.
President Obama’s address starting with the conventional assalamu alaykum won the hearts of all those present in Cairo University and was indeed historic. It was also heartening to note Mr. Obama supporting the Palestinians’ right to independent statehood. One hopes he will not stop with sympathetic words but will strive hard to make the Palestinian state a reality.
The two-state solution to end the Israel-Palestine conflict advocated by Mr. Obama in his landmark Cairo University address is a step in the right direction. It is heartening to note that under his leadership, the U.S. is envisioning inter-faith reconciliation, which will go a long way in ending the wars that have for long resulted in destruction, loss of human dignity and opportunities. Mr. Obama’s speech will send a strong signal to Muslims around the world that a new beginning has been made.
Mr. Obama’s initiative to reach out to the Muslim world is commendable. We will have to wait and watch whether he can translate his words into action. While beginning a speech with assalamu alaykum by itself is not an assurance of a change in policy, this is perhaps the first time that an American President has taken a bold stand on a contentious issue.
Mohammad Maqsood Ali,
By rejecting the theory of inevitability of the “clash of civilisations,” Mr. Obama has shown that Samuel Huntington’s theory, taught in American universities and followed by the Bush administration, is wrong. History cannot be rewritten. Although we know that the two-nation theory is the cause of all the ills plaguing the Indian subcontinent, we cannot wish away Pakistan. Similarly, Israel and Palestine must coexist. The U.S. stand on Iraq and Afghanistan — no territorial ambitions, no intention of setting up military bases — is welcome. So is the offer of a dialogue with Iran without preconditions.
President Obama’s act of unveiling a vision of inter-faith reconciliation is apparently a valiant damage control exercise to bridge the gap between the West and the Muslim world, created by his predecessor George W. Bush. Given the monumental complexity of the issue, only time will tell whether Mr. Obama’s balancing act of pleasing the Israelis and Muslims will work.
The Cairo address will certainly help in building strong relationship between the U.S. and the Muslim community around the world. Mr. Obama was right in rejecting the theory of inevitability of the “clash of civilisations.” Israel and the Arab states should consider the two-state solution advocated by him seriously.
Mr. Obama’s efforts, although only a beginning, will pave the way for reduced tensions in South West Asia. He has sent the strong signal that he is an architect of peace. His authoritative declaration that the U.S. is not for military bases in Iraq and Afghanistan will go a long way in fostering mutual trust and confidence.
The need of the hour is to impress upon Muslims that the U.S. is not an enemy of Islam. President Obama has taken steps in that direction. In Ankara, he clarified that America is not, and will never be, at war with Islam. However, one speech cannot do wonders. Action should follow words.
A. Abbas Manthiri,
Mr. Obama has made a path-breaking effort in reaching out to Muslims demonised by the actions of his predecessor. Though bridging the gap between his sincere-sounding intentions and his action on the ground may be a Herculean task, he deserves to be lauded for taking steps to deliver on his promise. Another promising feature was his advocacy of universal disarmament in contrast to the stand of earlier dispensations.