"I believe we can have a dialogue that's open, honest, vibrant, and grounded in respect. And I want you to know that I'm personally committed to a new chapter of American engagement. We can't afford to talk past one another, to focus only on our differences, or to let the walls of mistrust go up around us. Instead we have to listen carefully to each other. We have to focus on places where we can find common ground and respect each other's views, even when we disagree. And if we do so I believe we can bridge some of our differences and divisions that we've had in the past. A part of that process involves giving you a better sense of America. I know that the stereotypes of the United States are out there, and I know that many of them are informed not by direct exchange or dialogue, but by television shows and movies and misinformation. Sometimes it suggests that America has become selfish and crass, or that we don't care about the world beyond us. And I'm here to tell you that that's not the country that I know and it's not the country that I love. America, like every other nation, has made mistakes and has its flaws. But for more than two centuries we have strived at great cost and sacrifice to form a more perfect union, to seek with other nations a more hopeful world. We remain committed to a greater good, and we have citizens in countless countries who are serving in wonderful capacities as doctors and as agricultural specialists, people -- teachers -- people who are committed to making the world a better place." Read more.
To Rebuild U.S.-Muslim World Relations, Obama Is Not Enough
President Obama has demonstrated a strong personal commitment to strengthening relations between the United States and the Muslim world, in support of common security, political, economic, and social interests. He needs an army, of civilians, behind him. President Obama has a vital role to play in forging this new relationship, but he needs to harness the energies of U.S. businesses, universities, charitable institutions, non-governmental organizations, faith groups, and private citizens if he is to sustain it. We will need to see more educational and professional exchanges, sister cities programs, jointly produced media products, co-developed cultural activities, joint scientific research projects, co-developed social networking sites, co-produced fundraisers for humanitarian causes, co-written textbooks. Such engagement contributes to mutual trust and tangible partnerships that solve real problems concerning education, employment, energy, and commerce. President Obama's political instincts are right: a change in America's approach toward the Muslim world -- one that seeks to build common ground with faithful majorities while marginalizing fanatics -- will ultimately be the most successful strategy to diminish support for Al Qaeda and likeminded terrorist networks, find solutions to persistent conflicts, and enhance global prosperity. The president has bipartisan Congressional backing. His commitment was echoed by both Senator Kerry and Senator Lugar in recent Senate hearings on U.S.-Muslim World engagement, Read more
Caption: President Barack Obama addresses his remarks at a town hall meeting Tuesday, April 7, 2009, at the Tophane Cultural Center in Istanbul. White House Photo/Chuck Kennedy