Citing “mutual interest and mutual respect” President Obama spoke to Muslims from Cairo, Egypt, as perhaps no other modern President has ever done before. Obama, in Thursday’s speech, appeared at first to almost apologize for past behavior from the West, including treating Muslim countries as “proxies” during the Cold War. But, he followed that seeming apology with a tough stand citing “violent extremists” who, he said, “have exploited these tensions” which he views as breeding “more fear and more mistrust” on both sides.
To further a sense of mutual understanding and that it’s time to put the past behind with “a new beginning,” Obama cited the Koran which he called “holy” – something neither Bush nor any other president has ever done before – and an act that, it is thought, Obama did to impact Muslims favorably.
Either way, Obama did what he needed to do which is to create a bridge between the United States and moderates in the Muslim Middle East. Now, it’s up to them to respond in turn.