These are exactly the types of actions we should be engaged in and exactly the message that we should be sending to the Islamic world. The denomination of the Islamic religion by some of those on the fringes not only exhibits their ignorance of the facts, but also delivers to the extremists exactly what they want to see – a polarisation of peoples based on rhetoric. In this well written article by Sheryl Gay Stolberg in the NY Times, she reports on the President’s current trip to Asia.
President Obama, renewing his call for better relations between the United States and the Muslim world, used a long-awaited homecoming trip to this island nation to make a symbolic visit on Wednesday morning to the largest mosque in southeast Asia — even as he declared that “much more work needs to be done” to fulfill the promise he made 17 months ago in Cairo of a “new beginning.”
Indonesia is the world’s largest majority Muslim nation, and Mr. Obama, on a 10-day, four-country trip through Asia, used his brief stay here to hold it up as an example of diversity, tolerance and democracy.
He closed his remarks at a news conference on Tuesday evening with the Muslim greeting “salaam aleikum” and said he intended to reshape American relations with Muslim nations so they were not “focused solely on security issues,” but rather on expanded cooperation across a broad range of areas, from science to education.
In a speech on Wednesday morning to an enthusiastic audience of 6,500 people at the University of Indonesia, he also harked back to his Cairo message.
“I said then, and I will repeat now, that no single speech can eradicate years of mistrust,” Mr. Obama said. “But I believed then, and I believe today, that we do have a choice. We can choose to be defined by our differences, and give in to a future of suspicion and mistrust. Or we can choose to do the hard work of forging common ground, and commit ourselves to the steady pursuit of progress.”
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