US will never be at war with Islam, says Obama

By Xinhua,

Ankara : US President Barack Obama said Monday in the Turkish parliament that the US would never be at war with the Islamic world.

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“Let me say this as clearly as I can: The United States is not, and will never be, at war with Islam,” Obama said in a firm tone. “In fact, our partnership with the Muslim world is critical in rolling back a fringe ideology that people of all faiths reject,” he added.

Obama is adopting a new policy of reaching out to the Islamic world to improve the US’ sagging image in the Muslim world.

He had promised to give a major speech in a Muslim nation in the first 100 days of his presidency. Turkey, the only Muslim ally in the Western alliance, is an ideal place to send his message of reaching out.

“We seek broad engagement based upon mutual interests and mutual respect. We will listen carefully, bridge misunderstanding, and seek common ground. We will be respectful, even when we do not agree,” Obama said in his speech.

“And we will convey our deep appreciation for the Islamic faith, which has done so much over so many centuries to shape the world for the better, including my own country,” he added.

He said the US has been enriched by Muslim Americans and 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 noted.

Obama arrived in Ankara Sunday evening for his first state visit to a Muslim nation.

Obama’s visit to Turkey, the last stop of his first European trip early in his term, was seen as a move to mend ties and seek its only Muslim ally’s help with the Iraqi and Afghan issues, and importantly, with his reaching-out to the Muslim world.