Obama for New Beginning with Muslim World, Cites Koran

US President Barack Obama, in his much awaited Cairo speech, has said that the “cycle of suspicion and discord” between the United States and the Muslim world must come to an end.

“This cycle of suspicion and discord must end,” Obama said in a widely anticipated speech in one of the world’s largest Muslim countries, an address designed to reframe relations after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, and the US-led war in Iraq.

Calling for a “new beginning” in ties, the US President said: “I have come here to seek a new beginning between the United States and Muslims around the world; one based upon mutual interest and mutual respect.”

Admitting that there has been “years of distrust” between the two sides, Obama said that both sides needed to make a “sustained effort… to respect one another and seek common ground”.

Accepting that “no single speech can eradicate years of mistrust”, Obama urged that both sides must “say openly the things we hold in our hearts and that too often are said only behind closed doors”.

The White House said Obama’s speech contained no new policy proposals on the Middle East. He said American ties with Israel are unbreakable, yet issued a firm, evenhanded call to the Jewish state and Palestinians alike to live up to their international obligations.

In a gesture to the Islamic world, Obama conceded at the beginning of his remarks that tension “has been fed by colonialism that denied rights and opportunities to many Muslims, and a Cold War in which Muslim-majority countries were often treated as proxies without regard to their own aspirations.”

“And I consider it part of my responsibility as president of the United States to fight against negative stereotypes of Islam wherever they appear,” said the president, who recalled hearing prayer calls of “azaan” at dawn and dusk while living in Indonesia as a boy.

Making a number of reference to the Koran in his speech, he called on people belonging to all faiths to live together in peace.

“Be conscious of God and speak always the truth,” he said while citing Koran.

At the end of the speech, he received a standing ovation.

Obama spoke at Cairo University after meeting with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak on the second stop of a four-nation trip to the Middle East and Europe

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