Barack Obama addressed the Turkish Parliament today.
From FOX News:
President Obama declared Monday that his country "is not and will never be at war with Islam," as he sought to bridge divides between East and West during his first visit as president to a Muslim country.
Obama addressed the Turkish parliament on his final day of an overseas trip in which he has sought foreign support to confront the global economic crisis as well as the war in Afghanistan.
He stressed that Turkey and the United States share a "common goal" of flushing out Al Qaeda from Afghanistan and Pakistan, and said their countries, along with Iraq, face a "common threat from terrorism."
But he acknowledged that the "trust" between the United States and Turkey has been strained, particularly in Muslim communities.
"So let me say this as clearly as I can -- the United States is not and will never be at war with Islam," Obama said, to a round of applause.
The U.S. president is trying to mend fences with a Muslim world that felt it had been blamed by America for the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.
Obama, who spent part of his childhood in Indonesia, underscored his personal connection Monday with Muslim culture and said the United States seeks "broader engagement" with the Muslim world than just the fight against Al Qaeda.
"We will listen carefully, we will bridge misunderstanding, and we will seek common ground. We will be respectful, even when we do not agree. And we will convey our deep appreciation for the Islamic faith, which has done so much over centuries to shape the world -- including in my own country," Obama said. "The United States has been enriched by Muslim Americans. Many other Americans have Muslims in their family, or have lived in a Muslim-majority country -- I know, because I am one of them."
He added: "This is not where East and West divide -- this is where they come together."
Obama is highlighting his Muslim heritage.
Does this mean we can use his middle name now?
Clearly, Obama is suggesting that he is the embodiment of the bridge between East and West.
The American president has Muslim relatives. Obama has one foot in the U.S. and one foot in the Muslim world.
Obama IS the coming together of the East and West. He IS the common ground.
HE is the peacemaker.
I guess what constitutes the politics of fear during a presidential campaign on U.S. soil doesn't apply when a president with Muslim relatives is in a Muslim country.
Interesting that what Obama called the politics of fear has morphed into the politics of respect and peace.
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