President Barack Obama called for a new beginning between the United States and Muslims Thursday, and called on both societies to start a new relationship bringing an end to the cycle of suspicion and discord.”
Obama in his speech urged Islamic nations to embrace democracy, women's rights, religious tolerance and touched on sources of tension including the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, as he spoke from Cairo University.
While he called the U.S. bond with Israel “unbreakable” and insisted all Hamas violence come to an end, Obama said Israel must abandon its West bank settlements and recognize Palestinian as an independent state.
The president says change cannot take place overnight and that no single speech can eradicate years of mistrust.
During his speech, Mr. Obama noted his own background with Muslims in his family heritage and the contributions of Muslims in the U.S.
Speaking from one of the largest Muslim nations, Obama pledged to fight the negative stereotyping of Islam, but said Muslims should also not stereotype the U.S.
And I consider it part of my responsibility as president of the United States to fight against negative stereotypes of Islam wherever they appear, he said.
The President noted just as Muslims do not fit a crude stereotype, America is not the crude stereotype of a self-interested empire.
Obama said Islam was important in promoting peace and cited the Koran as saying: Be conscious of God and speak always the truth.
The president delivered his speech after meeting with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak on the second stop of a four-nation trip to the Middle East and Europe. Both men reported that they had discussed a range of issues of concern in the Middle East.
Obama's speech was broadcast live by many networks around the world, and marks his latest outreach to Islam since taking office on a pledge to reach out more directly to the Muslim world.