US President Barack Obama has awoken hope for redress of grievances in the hearts of some of the more than a billion Muslims scattered in diverse communities across the globe, Reuters saysin a new analysis.
To win their minds, sceptical after a “war on terror” waged by his predecessor George W. Bush that many saw as an assault on Islam, Obama must follow his speech to the Muslim world this week with evidence of real change in US policy and outlook.
That, at least, is a common thread stressed by politicians and analysts from Muslim-majority countries — as is the urgency of
From Kuala Lumpur to Kabul, from Ramallah to Riyadh, the messages for Obama throb with that central concern, along with a yearning for a break from the divisive, militaristic, pro-Israel stance many Muslims associate with the eight-year Bush era,
“It’s not too late to repair relations between the
Sembiring, who leads the PKS (Partai Keadilan Sejahtera or Prosperous Justice Party), homed in on the Palestinian issue.
“Are they (the Americans) serious about creating a real solution for
Obama’s best chance to win over Muslims and Arabs was to use
Obama will win in more than one area — in terrorism, the
For PLO negotiator Saeb Erekat, Obama’s task was to ensure creation of a Palestinian state. “People of this region don’t want to hear words any more. They want to see deeds,” he said.
“One speech will not work, but it’s good for a start,” she said of Obama’s planned address on Thursday. “When you pay homage to others and respect them, you enliven their spirit.”
Even foes of US policy acknowledge Obama has struck a new tone, but say his outreach to Iran and Syria and pledge to press for Middle East peace have yet to shift the political landscape.
“The change of
“The first step would be to pressure (
In Iran, Mohammad Marandi, a professor who heads North American Studies at Tehran University, said Obama was “slowly running out of time” to repair the U.S. image in the region.
He called for “substantial change” in US foreign policy toward the non-Western world, without detailing how
Asked what he would like Obama to say, Marandi said: “That the
Obama’s decision to make
“He could have thought out of the box and chosen
Lebanese political analyst Ousama Safa said there was no escaping the rift fraying the fabric of Muslim-Western ties.
“We shouldn’t hide behind our fingers,” he said. “There is an Arab Muslim-Western tension weighing very heavily on global relationships, so it’s very relevant that Obama comes here.”
But Marandi, the Iranian scholar, whose Shi’ite-led country is one of
“It’s a despotic regime whose dictator has been completely discredited by his own people,” he declared.
Obama, who has already visited Muslim but secular Turkey, may want to reassure traditional US Arab allies, wary of his overtures to Iran, that they are still valued — he now plans to visit Saudi Arabia a day before he goes to Cairo.
Nevertheless, Obama has a chance to transform Arab images of the
“There is a lot of hope that maybe, just maybe, there might be a change in
If the content goes with it, Arab public opinion will start to turn.”