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April 7th, 2009
10:17 AM ET

Commentary: Muslim world "likes" Obama's words

CNN's Kiran Chetry speaks to Hisham Melhem of Al-Arabiya about President Obama's message to Muslims.
CNN's Kiran Chetry speaks to Hisham Melhem of Al-Arabiya about President Obama's message to Muslims.

President Obama was in Turkey today. It was the last leg of his five-nation European tour and his first trip to a Muslim country since taking office. During the stop he sent a message to the world that the U.S. will never be at war with Islam.

“I am personally committed to a new chapter of American engagement. We can't afford to talk past one another, to focus only on our differences or to let the walls of mistrust go up around us.”

So how is the Muslim community reacting to the president’s visit? Hisham Melhem, Washington Bureau Chief for global Arab language network Al-Arabiya, spoke to Kiran Chetry Tuesday on CNN’s “American Morning.”

Kiran Chetry: In all, how was our president received in the muslim world?

Hisham Melhem: Well, judging by the positive headlines, by the live coverage that my network and others gave his speech yesterday in front of the Turkish parliament, the Muslim world likes what the president has been saying. Not only in Turkey, but since he was elected. And I think his words and, more importantly, his actions, have resonated positively throughout the Arab world and the Muslim world. People realize that there is a new tone, that there is a new content, that there is a new language. Gone are the combustible words that President Bush used to use like Islamo [sic] Fascism. Now the new president talks about engagement, he talks about partnership, he talks about respect, mutual interests. President Bush seemed to many Arabs and Muslims every time he talks to them as if he is talking down to them, as if he is lecturing them. This new president is trying to engage them as potential partners in the fight against the real enemy of the United States and the real enemy of these governments which is al Qaeda. The president doesn't talk about the war on terror in general because the war on terror is a war on a tactic. He has a well-defined enemy called al Qaeda. He doesn't clump like, President Bush, all Islamic groups. He focuses only on al Qaeda. All of these things, they are nuances and people recognizes nuances and they appreciate that.

Chetry: I want to ask you about that, because there are some who criticized exactly what you are saying is a good thing, saying he gave a pass perhaps to groups like Hamas, Hezbollah, the Muslim Brotherhood and other groups that have used terror and are considered terrorist groups by our government.

Melhem: Look. President Bush, the way he framed the issue, the war on terrorism created a conceptual muddle and he confused a lot of people. When you fight an enemy, you have to define your enemy very well and President Obama is trying to do that. It doesn't do any service to the United States’ effort to defeat al Qaeda, to keep al Qaeda in a defensive posture, when you lump together all of these groups. Yes, it is true, the United States labels Hamas as a terrorist group and Hezbollah and others, but the United States is not engaging in the battlefields against Hamas. We are engaging al Qaeda on the battlefield in Afghanistan and in Pakistan. And if you want to succeed, you need Muslim allies and one way of doing that is to define your enemy very well. The United States essentially is not saying Hamas is our enemy. The United States is essentially saying what the Israeli government is saying, we will talk to Hamas if Hamas do A, B, C. It's a conditional position vis-à-vis Hamas. There is room for the United States to say we don't like Hamas and that is America's right. At the same time, you cannot classify Hamas the way you classify al Qaeda. It's al Qaeda that visited us with their destructive deed on that fine morning in September 2001. Not Hamas. As much as we don't like Hamas as a group that is pursuing certain policies that is not to the liking of the United States government.

Chetry: It appears there is still a major distrust from Americans here in the United States. This is the quote on the poll. Should the U.S. trust Muslim allies as much as other allies? The results, surprisingly, were pretty split. 51% saying yes, but nearly half saying no. Why does there seem to still be this mistrust on the part of the American people? What can be done to change that?

Melhem: Well, education, engagement, accepting the Muslim world as not necessarily this strange other but a potential partner. I was not very surprised because of the impact and the legacy of 9/11, the misunderstanding generated by the war on terrorism, the invasion of Iraq, Guantanamo, Abu Ghraib, all of these things that created enmity in the Arab world and Muslim world and misunderstanding in the United States. There is unfamiliarity in America with the Muslim world and there is ignorance. Let's be blunt. I don't expect the average American to be an expert on Islamic jurisprudence but at least one would like to get through those negative images instead of typical images of Muslims. And here I must add there is a role for the Muslim world. I mean, now the president could look at Muslim leaders in the eye and say, I've done certain things that you wanted me to do, closing down Guantanamo, I’m getting out of Iraq. I sent a positive message to the Iranian people. I'm sending George Mitchell to mediate Arab-Israeli peacemaking but I want you to deal with the problem that afflicts your society. Which is essentially a problem of governance of which you as Muslim leaders and Muslim elites and Muslim ruling classes are responsible for. So there is a role here for the United States to be blunt and honest with the Muslim leaders and Muslim world, as well as a responsibility for the Muslim leaders and Muslim elites to fix the ailments that afflict their societies.


Filed under: Islam • Politics
soundoff (526 Responses)
  1. Roshan

    There is a huge difference between having a good relationship with one party and trusting them. Don't mix everything and get confused.

    April 8, 2009 at 1:06 pm |
  2. artemis

    action better than words , my opinion on that speech but i appreciate this approach
    and I'm surprised to see some racist comment about Islam even quoting some verses without studying the text carefully and Asbabun Nuzul (why the verses is brought down), when he say " i understand Islam" well,i just see some narrow minded who just re-read and act like he knows everything and when other people try to show him the right way, he just turn back and learn from misguided source.
    For that kind of people, i just want to say, May God open your narrow mind
    Just want to say to terrorist who claims Muslims, are you reading Quran by HEART?, are you follow Sunnah? if you say yes did you forget God hate killing your self (an-nissa:29)?
    seriously propaganda won't work out with me, Islam is Good not every Muslim does

    April 8, 2009 at 12:21 pm |
  3. Freedom Thinker

    Ouch. Their is so much disinformation here. Were are some challenging question. Why even run a bit like this? It's just pure disinformation. I mean he attacks Bush for things he didn't do and praises Obama for things Bush orginially did. He paints America as "ignorant", says that 9-11 and what followed is the reason for Muslim enmity? He barely falls short of blaming 9-11 on our own ignorance. Like we should seek to understand the criminal coming to kill us, our wife, and our children.

    This is the definition of liars and lunatics:
    http://thefreedomthinker.com/2009/04/08/liars-and-lunatics/

    April 8, 2009 at 9:49 am |
  4. yusuf

    Dutch Samuel:

    1- the influx of many moroccans and turks during the last "355" years ???!!

    Europe invited foreign work force after 2nd WW.

    2- Many of them are able to interpret en follow their interpretation of islam in a way they would not have been able to do in Turkey of Morocco enjoying the freedom of speech and religion of the WEST. ???!!

    Freedom of speech ??? during my visit to Nederlands i was not even able to say i am a Turk due to Dutch peoples racism. You enjoy yourselves at beatfiul turkish riviera on your holidays but also insult the turks working for your economy and living in your country because of their identity.. this is NOT fair man..

    Dude you're giving WRONG information... WHY???

    Dan Nelson: Man i am not going to be part of any war under any condition.

    April 8, 2009 at 8:41 am |
  5. Bob

    It's amusing that CNN and others allow Obama to continually trash Bush for "damaged relations" and the GWOT, yet never point out soundbites where Bush stressed a number of times that we are not at war with Muslims. Right after 9/11, he said "Islam is a beautiful religion", and helped avert a bloodbath of Muslim citizens.

    As a retired military member, I am appalled at Obama's apologetic pandering to the Euros, accusing his own country of being racist, arrogant, divisive, etc.. If anyone is arrogant and a megalomaniac, it's Barack Hussein Obama.

    Change your station to ONN, as that's the only content I see when I turn on the Obama News Network.

    April 8, 2009 at 7:10 am |
  6. Abdollah

    I think all presidents of U.S thinks or act the same. They do what Israel wants. They can not do something else. But there is some differences among their accents and dialogs. just in their spokes!

    April 7, 2009 at 11:01 pm |
  7. salman

    By no means this concept says kill all non-muslims .... infact if you see the history of Islam it always integrated people didn;t divide them ... please read the history once muslims were in spain ... see how they developed the entire area ... muslims have done alot for this world ... the only sad thing is that today we are blamed for all the wrong doing ... people with little understanding of the faith ... stand up and make big remarks ... why ... well like i said in my my earlier comment ... WE LOVE YOU FIGHT ... war is in us .... we will always have and had, some thing to fight about. You know even if you look at a Pyramid from top it is a square 🙂 and that is what we do just one point of view

    April 7, 2009 at 10:44 pm |
  8. salman

    TO SH:

    It is death as far as i know it ... i can’t quote it from Quran because as far as my knowledge goes it is not there ... it is part of other religious books that we have (as you may have seen it online), and I would also like to point out that we have the same sentence for murder as well, we cut off hands for thieves, rapist get stoned to death... And the reason is that for us this life is not important, there is life after death and i guess you know about our concept of heaven as hell ... and all these punishments in this world can/will make the life after words better ... this life is temporary ... life after is forever ... you have to under stand this entire concept and see what Islam says .... Islam wants a stable society ... where there is justice for all... things like zakat where you have to give you money away to poor people doesn’t get mentioned much because it is good ... things like respecting your parents is not talked about ... things like protecting the innocent is hardly a consideration... i am sure you have read millions of things against Islam and for you the concept of death plenty is different ... Islam has this because for us this life is the means to go to the next one, and non muslims don’t have to fear about it and I know couple of muslims how left the faith they are living  also remember no one leaves Islam and becomes Christian they become atheist. I would go though the Quran and ask scholars about, it any way I hope you got the answer that you were looking for … and that is DEATH is the plenty for apostasy,
    ... As far as my offer to come to Pakistan goes  I’ll be more then happy to entertain you, of course I under stand you point of view as well … any way I hope you got the answer that you were looking for … and that is DEATH is the plenty for apostasy,

    April 7, 2009 at 10:36 pm |
  9. allenshadow

    Whirling President

    Obama did very well. He managed to turn a good number of Muslim minds in Turkey as he did with some fairly grumpy heads of state in the EU. Quite the "Whirling President," I'd say.

    April 7, 2009 at 10:26 pm |
  10. AH

    SF – I read your question to Salman. I am sure we could all go read verses either online or in a book in order to make a point. I do not have any text with me to go by, but i do belive the punishment is death. Whether that is actually written in the Qu'ran or simply a ruling, I do not know. But be sure to tell me where it is written and I will look for myself. That is not to say that there are not other religions who have made other similar statements in their books. But you sure seem to want to argue your case against Islam even though you can easily make the same cases elsewhere. However I do not feel the need to bash people's religions as you do. Where will that get us SF?

    April 7, 2009 at 10:17 pm |
  11. Jonathan

    Wow. Every time I read these threads I am thunderstruck by the ignorance, hatred and lies that people fervently offer up, convinced that they alone know how it really is, when they really know very little.

    Lots of people on all sides are guilty of this, and I despair to think that responsible, informed political discourse in this country is all too rare. It's never really been the norm, but at least we used to admire those who insisted on it. Nowadays, we seem to worry that if we're not hysterically partisan or constantly show how tough and uncompromising we are, no one will listen to us.

    Well, here's a thinking person, who loves peace but is not naive enough to think it'll just happen if we all trust each other; who respects the military and a strong defense but believes we should avoid using it except as a truly last resort; who is a Christian but respects the beliefs of others; and who believes that all religions have their crimes to answer for. And here is some of what I have observed:

    * The Bush administration woefully squandered the outpouring of international support after 9/11 by using that tragedy as an excuse to become the bully of the world, thinking that would intimidate our shadowy 'enemies.' All it seems to have done is make the extremists hate us more, and the moderates much less likely to support us. When you go beyond the deserving targets like the Taliban/al Qaeda axis in Afghanistan, and trump up bogus excuses to settle old scores by invading a sovereign country with no plan beyond the part where you flatten their military resistance, you will lose the support of reasonable folks worldwide - the same folks, mind you, who figured you had the right to go after terrorists, who offered their help in doing so, and were miffed at your arrogance when you insisted on going it alone, especially when you overreached and attacked a country that had NO demonstrable connection to 9/11 but was a convenient target that you just didn't like. And now you're fuming that they don't respect you? And now you're dumping on the guy who's trying to undo all that damage? When you throw a rhetorical temper tantrum and call him an appeaser, even though there is no logical reason for this charge, you simply appear petulant, and worse, stubborn in your ignorance.

    * True, moderate Muslims bear the responsibility to oppose extremism within their nations, their cultures, and their religion. But just because you haven't seen it on Fox News doesn't mean they're not doing it already. It's not enough yet, of course, but saying that all Muslims condone terrorism is bigoted ignorance, plain and simple. By the way, one of the reasons it's so hard to find Arab moderates these days is that the most powerful one is gone. His name? Wait for it..... Saddam Hussein. That's right, the guy we unfairly tarred with the terrorist brush, the one we were sure was the second coming of Hitler, the guy our nitwit president had a personal beef with, the guy we just HAD to take out because he was just too evil to let alone... was, despite it all, a key part of what passed for stability in the middle east for forty years before we launched our self-righteous "pre-emptive" invasion. Sure, he was a dictator and a thoroughly bad guy, but we've supported lots of those in the past because we were smart enough to value the stability they sometimes represented. Don't believe me? Here's a list to consider: Batista, Pinochet, Somoza, Marcos, The Shah, and Saddam himself, to name just a few (and I haven't even started on Asia and Africa). We really did support all of these folks at one time, even though they were terrible to their own people, even though not one of them supported democracy, but because they represented stability and/or a buffer against the spread of communism. It was always a calculated risk, something we did while we held our noses and wished out loud about democracy in their countries - and sometimes we changed our minds before this support blew up in our faces, sometimes not. And often enough, we really did need to do this to preserve the peace and stability that we seemed to value over the freedom of those subject to these rulers. Most of the time, we were smart enough to know when to hold these odious allies close and when to discard them. It's a pity the Bushies had none of the foresight to consider what would happen without Saddam. Those who dismiss the Obamas of the world as naive for insisting on constructive engagement are often the same folks who must answer for the colossally naive assumption that a post-Saddam Iraq would just swoon for democracy, even though it had NEVER existed there before. Idiots. Worse, there was no such thing as 'al-Qaeda in Iraq' under Saddam. He hated those bastards for the extremists they are. He had a secular government that was threatened by them, and he didn't even consider they might be useful tools against the US. He just wanted no part of them, and made sure they didn't operate in his locked-down country. But now he's gone. Now look at the mess there. Oops. Now, I truly hope democracy will oneday prevail there - and it still might - but at what cost? Five thousand of our own soldiers gone, tens of thousands of Iraqis (probably hundreds of thousands) dead, anti-Americanism rampant in the Arab world, a pissed-off Europe, untold billions of your tax money squandered, religious extremists and terrorists all over the place.... even our coldest and most unblinkingly grim cost assessments would not have justified this misadventure had we stopped to consider it all.

    Of course, it's too late to reconsider invading Iraq, so what do we do now? Seems to me we ought to do much like Obama is doing - try to undo the damage, acknowledge mistakes, reach out with understanding, and move on with hope tempered by realism and caution. Talking tough and acting unilaterally didn't get us anywhere - in fact, it made things worse - so ease up on the president, all you blowhards on the right.. He just might be right, and incredible as it may seem, you just might be wrong. Don't act like it hasn't happened before.

    April 7, 2009 at 10:17 pm |
  12. SF

    MODERATE DEMOCRAT – I don't hate muslims, I don't hate anyone. Pointing out the truth is ironic nor hypocritical – lets call an ace an ace. Look I don't question your moral fiber so don't question mine and lets discuss the issues. You and I will think what we want. Bottom line, it doesn't matter that you think a few bad muslims spoil batch, they hate you and I equally as much. And I didn't pull any of my beliefs from thin air. Let me know where you beleive Ive misled and I will back it with sources, and not just any sources, I'll use the words of Muhammed and his contemperaries and repected muslim leaders of this day

    April 7, 2009 at 9:24 pm |
  13. SF

    SALMAN – what does your book tell you the punishment for apostasy is? As for your offer to go to Pakistan, I appreciate it but, I must pass. Im sure a lot of your muslim buddys will like to go though. And please do tell, what are the real problems in waziristan.

    AH – the reason I am concerned about islam is because of its teachings, the ones you know well. You will probably find when you go that you are not muslim enough. I suspect that you will find that such countries are too islamic for you. Read the question to Salman, what is the answer?

    MODERATE DEMOCRAT – but of course that is exactly the counter arguement, that is how you silence criticism of the inconvenient truth – when one is critical of a culture, religion etc, call him a bigot. MD I hate Nazis, does that make me a bigot?

    April 7, 2009 at 9:04 pm |
  14. salman

    TO SF

    Waziristan LOL LOL brother SF i live here come here i'll send you a ticket then tell me what you think if you are really interested i'll send you a ticket to come to pakistan .... your small world surprises me the troubles we have here have nothing to do with islam .... seriously if you willing to come tell me i'll show you around i'll show you what muslims are

    April 7, 2009 at 8:11 pm |
  15. Dutch Samuel

    I am one of the few europeans that is NOT infatuated by the current POTUS.

    Even this sucking up to the muslims has a purpose.
    The only motive the US can ever have is OIL

    Because Obama and the democrats do not want to consider drilling in potentially rewarding US OIL reserves, just because they are in vulnerable coastal area's, disregarding the fact that during the decades the areas have been closed off new technology has opened cleaner was of extracting that oil.

    Where can he get the oil he need on top of the alaskan and texan oil? most of it from the middle east. what religion is prevailing over there? Islam. Of course the POTUS is sucking up to the muslims. If they had been buddhists, he would be sucking up to buddhists.

    One cannot deny that during the dark ages the islamic world did not stand in the way of new inventions. But one also cannot deny the fact that after the renaissance in europe hardly any relevant invention came to see the light of day from those parts. after that it has mostly been the western world.

    Another point that has been made, is the fact that muslims in western countries are peaceful. I beg to differ.
    One great western freedom they do not seem to grasp. The freedom of speech. nowadays no columnist would even think twice to mock Christianity. They will however think twice to even make a critical comment on Islam, keeping the murder of Theo van Gogh in the Netherlands in mind. Not to forget the riots all over the world after a Danish newspaper published a set of cartoons. just recently they try to limit the freedom of speech in the Netherlands by taking a member of the Dutch Parliament, Geert Wilders, to court for his remarks on Islam.
    The US has no history with muslim guestworkers. We in Europe do, after the influx of many moroccans and turks during the last 355 years. Similar to the influx of latino into the US. only difference. latinos are catholic, and european guest workers are muslim. Mostly uneducated and provincial. Those people brought their kind of islam to europe. The less enlightened version. Many of them are able to interpret en follow their interpretation of islam in a way they would not have been able to do in Turkey of Morocco enjoying the freedom of speech and religion of the WEST. At the same time they want to impose restrictions of the way we ought to speak about them and their interpretation of Islam? HELL NO.

    btw just as 2000 years ago everyone heralded Jesus as their saviour on Palm Sunday and less than a week later He was crucified.
    Right everyone may think Obama is our version of the messiah, he will just as easily be dropped if he does not deliver the goods. Words don't mean anything.

    April 7, 2009 at 8:03 pm |
  16. Moderate Democrat

    SF,

    I appreciate your response, sincerely.

    But I think the responses you are getting are in return for what many see as a blind and racist hate for a people based solely on religion, and then you start to lecture how muslims and islam are in the wrong, for hating people of different religions. It's rather ironic and hypocritical. I simply find you to be no different then the radical muslims, who hate solely based on religion.

    I can't agree to hate a whole civilization based on a few radical freaks that reside there. If I did, I would have to hate my own country. No thanks to that kind of logic. If it's not ok to murder in the name of religion, then it's not ok to 'hate' in the name of religion. I just feel you try to justify your hate of muslims. There is no justification, atleast not according to my christian teachings.

    April 7, 2009 at 7:33 pm |
  17. Dan Nelson

    yusuf you sound like a radical were you at now? I'll bet you'll be a part of the war God has talked about after his 1000 year reign!

    April 7, 2009 at 7:22 pm |
  18. AH

    SF – I have been to a mosque (definitely not a hammer on the head), I have fasted during Ramadan, I have studied and watched speeches as you have for my dissertation, I have never been to a country where the majority is Muslim though I will plan to, I have many Muslim friends who are all lovely and loving people. My point is, I find no fault with Islam nor the majority of people who follow it. I am not going to judge a whole group of people based on the actions of a few.

    April 7, 2009 at 7:22 pm |
  19. SF

    Russ St. Louis –

    "But neither is rampant greed, promiscuity, shamelss flaunting of extra marital sex on prime time TV (THIS IS COVERED BY THE BILL OF RIGHTS), ignorance and intolerance of others of different believes, gluttony, degradation of marriage as a primary family structure, beating of your female life partner, rape, murder, child molestation, bigotry etc."

    Guess which society is chuck full of those things? Answer: Islamic Society, except for the sex on tv thing – change the channel. I bet you are suprised. Go to Waziristan and tell me what you find. Your comparision of our culture to islam is ludacris (yes I mean the hip-hop star) = Stupid.

    And the story of the muslim men bringing drinks was nice too. My dog brings me beer, does that make him special? Maybe they were "moderate" lol, which only means they haven't commited their first mass murder yet. You take care bud, carry a knife at least

    April 7, 2009 at 7:00 pm |
  20. GJ

    Wow I cannot believe the ignorance of some of the commenters on here. To say the president is a lapdog of Muslims, birds of a feather, or that we are at war with Islam is a shining example of what is wrong with OUR country. You represent the reflection of extremists in the Islamic world within our culture. It is your blind blanketing hatred that puts all Americans in danger of future extremist attacks. We, the moderates in both societies, will defeat you, because your ignorance will not be tolerated. That is a promise that I, a proud moderate American, make to the world. Our president is doing more to prevent terrorism in one trip then our previous president did in 8 long years in office, and some of you extremists have the nerve to mock him!?!?

    April 7, 2009 at 6:54 pm |
  21. Mar

    To Ahalim:

    You bring up the deeds of governments, not ordinary people. I brought the actions of governments and ordinary folks as well. I do not recall Christians or Jews (and I have been exposed to both folks) teaching their kids to hate others because they are different. But this is exactly what little kids learn from Hamas and others.
    Have you seen people in the USA dancing on the streets when we attacked Iraq? I haven’t. I saw people protesting this barbaric act on streets that has been shown on TV.

    You only response is about Jewish media, how typical for people like you! Just as I said “Why is that when Muslim wants to blame somebody for ANY troubles it is always Jews that are guilty?”

    Do you what to comment on Grand Mufti of Jerusalem befriended with Hitler? Apparently you do not. I’m not surprised.

    April 7, 2009 at 6:52 pm |
  22. yusuf

    hey guys,

    Please try to understand that "TuRkey is not a muslim country". 'People' are muslim, not the country (parliamenter democracy since 1923) (secularism, secularist country). you may reach some info on wikipedia easily. and please stop calling us "modarate muslim or reasonable muslim"
    Acting as a "bulwark" against communism for some decades and supporting US politics globally since 2.Cairo Conference (1943) we 're pissed off to be named as reasonable muslim 🙂

    And please check out that TR&US relations vary at a very wide range in terms of politics-science-military-academic-business etc etc.
    as an example: and right now %70 of US Army supplies for Iraq are carried through TR air bases, so just show some respect and make out your ideas after reading&learning a bit, which is all we have to do..

    To hate people because of their identity is called RACİSM. Remember your grandfathers lost their life on Omaha beach when they were fighting aganist "RACİSM"

    Reading many articles on this page, i see "some people" are not only
    ignorant about the rest of the world but also about your own US history.

    And finally i want to give an advice to the genius who wrote this
    "Should the U.S. trust Muslim allies as much as other allies?" to learn about "Korean War" and what did TR army made there to save a US army corps...

    2 questions: What is US doing now is a "fight againist islam??"
    i would really like to know what is the percentage of US people who think that they are fighting against islam or aganist any religion ??! 🙂

    Why does US cooperates more with a conservative party (terrible muslims) than a secular democratic social democratic party in Turkey?? (considering and comparing the situation in the past and today)

    by the way you may help a lot to muslim women by avoiding invading their countries "illegaily" if you care about them...

    Violence aganist women is not a "muslim problem"...

    April 7, 2009 at 6:40 pm |
  23. SF

    AH – "I have a question for you. How do you understand Islam? Did you study it? Are you a convert from Islam? Did you Google it? Have you worshipped in a mosque? Have you been to a Muslim country?"

    Those are serveral questions. I studied philosophy which includes religion of course. I read the Quran to verify information that I read elsewhere including google. I watch speeches, or sermons given by muslim leaders on the INTERNET on video. As for the worshipping in a mosque and going to a muslim country, you must be kidding right? I don't have to hit myself in the head with a hammer to know it hurts.

    Now How do you understand Islam? Did you study it? Are you a convert from Islam? Did you Google it? Have you worshipped in a mosque? Have you been to a Muslim country?

    April 7, 2009 at 6:39 pm |
  24. SF

    Moderate Democrat – and you can't say that because Christians did this, that and the other at some point in time and because every religion has the executioner, etc, that this justifies what muslims are doing thoughout the world. It is besides the point and doesn't deal with the issue which is a potential shift in US foreign towards countries like Iran. It is the typical response that I have been getting.

    Also, I don't have to justify or make excues for what Christians did last week let alone what they did 800 years ago.

    For the most part I agree with you however. Where have I attempted to misinform?

    April 7, 2009 at 6:31 pm |
  25. salman

    @SF

    you know Islam right? then you must know that Islam gave females all the rights that they enjoy in the current western world ??? before western society burned witches ... we Muslims protected them ... please read the history of Islam if you may ... women were slaves and sold ... Islam stopped all that ... the right to mans wealth after divorce (Islam), who will get the child (Islam) ...the acts you see now committed by Muslims against women is not ISLAM and if a Muslim male mistreats a female (and I am not denying that they don’t ) will be judged (the concept of heaven and hell) so once you say that ISLAM is the problem that means you don't know Islam at all ... The honor killing and all that is wrong .. The mullahs are wrong if they allow it (few mullahs are no better then 18 century priests). So please read ISLAM first, then read all these report and think over it ... and you will find that Islam is not wrong, few Muslims are!!! We Muslims (large majority) protect our women, we respect them, we take care of their rights (which are far more then any other religion). Infact I have no doubt in saying that Islam paved the way for women rights.

    April 7, 2009 at 6:25 pm |
  26. Moderate Democrat

    SF- I've been reading quite a bit of your snippets, because based on the level of detail they go into, that's the best definition for them...snippets.

    Pasting the word "Wreak terror to those you pass' with out pasting the words prior ("do not"), is a rather blatant attempt at misinforming the masses. You do have some good points in your many maniacal rants, but they are sandwiched between so many misnomers and blatant deception that they are lost in your message.

    You can not argue away, and/or give 'reason' for the inqusitions, the crusades, and all other atrocities committed by christians in our long history and then condemn another religion for having a history that mirrors our own. You argue from a point of stubborn, blind ignorance. You refuse to condemn those wrongs in the past from our own religion but hypocritically want to blame the rest of the religions for theirs.

    The point is simple, EVERY religion on earth has been the executioner at some point and time. It's a fact. And the reason: because every religion has absolute freaks in their midst that use their religion as a lame excuse to play out their demonic thoughts.

    You can't just say 'Christians committed mass genocide because'...and expect to make it ok, no matter what you write after the word 'genocide'...it's NEVER ok, it's wrong, it's satanic and any who try to justify it should burn in hell!

    April 7, 2009 at 5:59 pm |
  27. Geo

    Bush's simplistic world is totally black & white – us against terrorists. Problem is he never fully defined the latter. Obama is smart to talk to the Arabs like a responsible citizenry, rather than as third-world subjects like his predecessor did. Neocons followed up as they were only delighted to incite conflict against the Arab world as their hunger to relive the '50's and the fall of Communism meant they had no one to inflict injury upon except for the Dems. Message to the old order – "Not all the Indians killed Custer."

    April 7, 2009 at 5:59 pm |
  28. AH

    SF – I have a question for you. How do you understand Islam? Did you study it? Are you a convert from Islam? Did you Google it? Have you worshipped in a mosque? Have you been to a Muslim country? Also, no matter how you slice it, whether it is because of religion, or as you say "incidental" when murder is by a Christian, these things are all wrong at the end of the day. I just find it interesting that you are so head strong to blame Islam for these things. The other day I was driving and listening to the radio and I happened to come across a Christian radio station. They were harping on how we need to pray as a nation and defeat the enemy abroad. That to me sounds like a group of people using Christianity to condone threatening actions abroad. You do not seem to want to acknowledge the truths in this country and are instead blaming a religion.

    April 7, 2009 at 5:57 pm |
  29. ronf

    Who is the President trying to impress by going to Turkey and talking to moderate Muslims. Moderate Muslims are not the problem. Turkey is not a threat to the USA. When we have so called leaders of a religion, telling people to kill Jews and Christians, these are the people we need to be concerned about. Why not make a speech about these issues? Oh it makes Obama feel good to say the things that people in other countries want to hear, that America is at fault, that we need to listen etc. Give me a break! Is he so naive to think that these radical murderers will listen to reason? He is so naive that it boarders on stupidity because appeasement will not solve the problem.

    April 7, 2009 at 5:56 pm |
  30. Russ St. Louis

    To SF

    Interesting how you believe that your sense of morality is the right sense. All of the examples you mention are not in line with my moral and ethical believes. But neither is rampant greed, promiscuity, shamelss flaunting of extra marital sex on prime time TV, ignorance and intolerance of others of different believes, gluttony, degradation of marriage as a primary family structure, beating of your female life partner, rape, murder, child molestation, bigotry etc. Guess which society is chuck full of those things?

    To all of the negative nancys. Have you ever really been exposed to a muslim family. Strange as it may be to you at a family gathering it was the men who cleaned up and offered guests food and drink. Our view is so narrow and that is if you try. If your information comes from rhetoric, whether about muslims or other cultures or about the political process, you are a non person. You have no opinion. You simply blindly follow an ideology that you deem constant but is constantly changing. The Republican party is not what is used to be. The days of the US sabor rattling has to come to an end if we want to have any future in this global economy. Take a ride ona plane to Shanghai and ask the passnegers why they are going there. They are going there to oversee manufacturing for US companies. jobs that will never come back here. Times are changing and you are stuck in the post WWII era. Read sometime, and not your political parties web sites.

    April 7, 2009 at 5:56 pm |
  31. Ahalim

    To Mar: How about very peaceful Muslims that celebrated 9/11, dancing on the streets of Chicago suburbs (I saw it)?
    How about ongoing terrorism that is going throughout the world for coupe of decades, all by Muslims? Very peaceful people! Give me a break with your peacefulness, will you?

    Mar you must have a very very short memmory!!!!

    Remember when you supported Sadam and gave him the the chemical wepons!

    Remember when you created the Bin Laden group and supported him against USSR in Afganistan!

    Remember when USSR attacked Afganistan no one came to help for the first three years of war!!!

    Iraq attacked Iran under the US umbrella!!!

    so many of that kinda news and the Jewish Media support to everything that is against Islam!!!

    you seeded the hatred tree!!! no lets come the fresh air, and you give the world a break!!! enough of hipcratic Israeli support!!!!

    let the American mind run the America! It is time for change!

    April 7, 2009 at 5:45 pm |
  32. SF

    Samuel, Im waiting....

    April 7, 2009 at 5:40 pm |
  33. SF

    AH – I really think people need to stop and think about what they are saying, especially when they choose to place judgement on something they do not understand. (I understand ISLAM very well)

    "Quite frankly, we as Americans have no right to accuse Muslims in the mistreatment of women when we obviously have are own problems with the way women are treated in this country." "Islam is not the problem when it comes to the treatment of women, because it is in all societies. Everyday women are beaten and killed by their husbands or boyfriends in this country. What about that?" (I'll tell you about that. Islam is the problem. As an American it is my right to point out inconvenient truths, and I am not sorry that you take exception to it. Furthermore it is my duty to point the truth about Islam. Oppression of women within the muslim faith is institutionalized. Lastly, here we have laws against even laying a finger on a woman, in muslim countries, beating are the least of these women's worries, as they can and do get killed, for a variety of things, all the while getting the thumbs up from Imams, mullahs, etc.)

    Now since we are a predominantly Christian nation, what if a Muslim were to come to you and say Christians treat women badly based on what they hear in the news? We need to get over these sterotypes and putting people in categories. It is absolutely ridiculous. (you are right it is absolutely ridiculous that you are comparing treatment of women in this country to treatment of women by muslims including in this country, ie, recent beheading, fathermurdering his own two daughters in an "honor killing")

    April 7, 2009 at 5:32 pm |
  34. NVJ

    Lets start with @MAH

    Your comments are way off. The US supports Israel because they are very well aware that it's the only democracy in the middle east. Israel treats it's Arab citizens far better than any Arab country and respects their rights and freedoms. What's disgusting is that Islamic extremists need to find a scapegoat and unfortunately throughout history, Jews have always gotten the very short end of the stick. If Muslims are unhappy about their economic situation they should promote education, human rights, innovation and change. Instead they celebrate when their sons and daughters choose to strap on explosive vests to murder women and children riding buses and walking down the street.
    I want to be very clear that Israel is on the front line of a very dangerous situation – Muslim domination. It's clearly spelled out and they are following it. Israel, that little piece of land they are all so hot for is only an excuse. If Israel didn't exist there would have been many more 9/11's by now.
    Israel has done more with that little piece of unlivable dirt than any of the previous inhabitants or countries in that region. May I remind you that when Israel moved out of Gaza, the first thing they did was blow up all the greenhouses and infrastructure that was left behind. Clearly a mark of a peace loving people! They sit on a pile of dirt because they like it that way. They scream for UN support because they don't want to make their lives better and work like everyone else has to. I want to know how a bunch of holocaust survivors were able to make the desert bloom with crops and with thriving agriculture, tech industries and Palestinians only sit and complain and then steal the donations which are sent to them. If they want to be taken seriously they can start by not voting for Hamas in the next election. They are a bunch of suckers and being used by the rest of the Muslim extremists as a scapegoat so that Israel can be destroyed. It's a pity.
    As for moderate Muslims.... where are they? There aren't any because non have come forward. Underneath it all, they all believe in the same thing, if you're not one of them you should be killed or converted and I for one will not be converted.
    Everyone should keep their eyes open because, the more we bow down and apologize for offending them or not arranging our societies to their liking, the more weak we become. And who cares about what they think of us anyway?
    The really sad thing is that the middle east use to be a vibrant, multi-faith region for thousands of years. They were prosperous and creative and most of all tollerant. When they decided to "cleanse" (lets be clear they either killed everyone else or drove them out by force) all non-muslims they set the wheels in motion for a big backward roll towards the dark ages. No society/religion ever progresses from being isolated from the rest of the world and we'll all be victims of their massive steamroller of intolerance. Being nice and fluffy as all liberals seem to want to be, even though they will be first in line to wear burkas and get their heads chopped off, is not the answer. Force is the only thing they know – it's knowledge or the sword folks. This is all they know.
    England has already gone down the toilet. Do you want to be next?

    April 7, 2009 at 5:25 pm |
  35. SF

    R.A. – thank you for the offer. Before I will read any books that you may reccomend, answer these –

    do you personally think it is a-ok for a man to marry a nine year older girl?

    Do you think it is fine for a 75 year old woman to received x(you add the number of lashings) for visiting a non-related adult male, unless she has breast fed him?

    Do you think it is alright for a 16 year old girl to be set on fire for meeting with a boy?

    April 7, 2009 at 5:12 pm |
  36. masherwould

    sohel...

    "If you remove the jews vote then it will be 98% Yes and 2% No"

    I thought about proving the stupidity of this statement with facts, but you would not understand logic.

    This type of racism against jews no matter where they live (and other groups –such as Americans), , is the exact reason many Americans don't trust Muslim nations. Many muslims don't seem to operate under the same worldview as Americans.

    April 7, 2009 at 5:08 pm |
  37. SF

    BRIAN – please spare me, Ive been fighting off "look over here", "look over there" arguements all afternoon. People who happen to be Christian commit violent acts, it is incidental. However, Muslims commit violent acts BECAUSE they are muslim. The Bible does not command us to do violence on others as the Quran does.

    April 7, 2009 at 5:04 pm |
  38. Mar

    To Ahalim:
    “SED and the extrmists like him are the ones unhappy about US Muslim relation. These western-Qaeda want war and they are the very reason there is war around the world. Why Jews must always want killings and wars. The holy books are filled with there violence.
    i think this is the moment to move forward for a world peace.”

    Why is that when Muslim wants to blame somebody for ANY troubles it is always Jews that are guilty?
    Let’s see about Jews that like killing and killing:
    6 million Jews killed just 65 years ago. That is called Holocaust, if you know. But of course, you don’t believe that it had ever took place, don’t you? By the way, don’t forget that the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem Haj Amin el-Husseini was Adolf Hitler’s best friend and ally.
    How about all Arabs (no exception) attacking Jews in 1948 right after UN voted to establish two states: Israel and Palestine? Discriminatory killing of innocent people in Israel is going for 60 years now.

    How about very peaceful Muslims that celebrated 9/11, dancing on the streets of Chicago suburbs (I saw it)?
    How about ongoing terrorism that is going throughout the world for coupe of decades, all by Muslims? Very peaceful people! Give me a break with your peacefulness, will you?

    You want to move to peaceful world, respect ALL PEOPLE, not just the ones you like!

    April 7, 2009 at 4:56 pm |
  39. Moderate Democrat

    @Jerry April 7th, 2009 3:41 pm ET

    It is so wonderful…to be on better terms with people who beat women, treat ‘em like animals, chop off heads, blow up innocent people, commit rapes to shame women into wearing explosive belts and redemming their souls with suicide missions.
    Is Obama a Muslim???
    -------------------------
    Hey Jerry, based on that comment I figured you might be one of his kids, rather then Jerry himself. Do us a favor, Go to the "US News' section under cnn, or fox, or pbs. Everything you just mentioned, happens daily right here in america, right here in what some of these morons are trying to call a christian country (I'm christian, but this is NOT a christian country...claiming it is, is close to treason).

    So tell me, where you going to move to where none of that happens?

    April 7, 2009 at 4:55 pm |
  40. vedette

    Over the past eight years, the Republicans have shown they know as little about foreign policy as they do about the economy. So who cares what they say? They're down to 35 percent of the voting population for a reason.

    April 7, 2009 at 4:50 pm |
  41. Rachell

    Yes Larry lol it's liberal "hatrid" that permeates through this board. Actually, the right wingers are doling out 95% of the bigoted, hateful comments on this thread. If you had any reading comprehension skills, this would not have escaped you.

    Seriously though, the faithful 28%ers are out in full force. If only they realized just how similar they are to the extremists that they hate so much. Just replace "This is uh Cuhhristian nayshun!" with "Islamic" and you can see how closely they resemble one another. Both breathtaking in the sheer stupidity and ignorance.

    The main conflict I see is not Islam v. Christianity. Rather it is the ultra conservative religious zealots v. rational, secular moderates who just want to live their life in peace without being beaten over the head with a Bible or Qu'ran.

    Why is it that we want all the Islamic nations to be secular while the Repiblicans and right wingers think we need more God/Jesus in our politics?

    April 7, 2009 at 4:42 pm |
  42. AH

    I really think people need to stop and think about what they are saying, especially when they choose to place judgement on something they do not understand. Quite frankly, we as Americans have no right to accuse Muslims in the mistreatment of women when we obviously have are own problems with the way women are treated in this country. Islam is not the problem when it comes to the treatment of women, because it is in all societies. Everyday women are beaten and killed by their husbands or boyfriends in this country. What about that? Now since we are a predominantly Christian nation, what if a Muslim were to come to you and say Christians treat women badly based on what they hear in the news? We need to get over these sterotypes and putting people in categories. It is absolutely ridiculous.

    April 7, 2009 at 4:39 pm |
  43. adam

    The only weapon the US has to stabilize the middle east and pacify fundamentalism is HBO. Start broadcasting HBO throughout the region and the world would be a safer place...if you get my drift~~

    April 7, 2009 at 4:36 pm |
  44. April

    To DKP, who wants us to "get Obama out of there" are you aware that unlike some of the very countries you detest, we are living in a DEMOCRACY? Are you aware that President Obama was democratically elected to the position by a majority of the citizens of this country? What exactly would "getting him out of there" achieve that is SO very much better than the communist regimes you point to? Perhaps you should read YOUR history books. Try looking up a little document called the constitution.

    April 7, 2009 at 4:35 pm |
  45. Shelly

    Leave God out and his protection and watch what happens to this nation. This nation was founded on Christianity rather you like it or not. We have many practicing religions in the country because we allowed it, but it was still founded on Christianity-read your history books or better yet look at a penny and read what it says. Obama is doing all he can to take God out of this country-open your eyes.

    April 7, 2009 at 4:30 pm |
  46. Omar

    I am a Muslim. I strongly condemn Al Qaeda for killing people of any other faith/background in the name of Islam. They have no right to call themselves believers of God let alone spill blood in His name. This is not just my belief but also of my community. It is repeated often by our spiritual and political leaders. Why do people say that the moderates do no speak out? We speak but nobody listens, nobody writes about it and frankly I dont think they believe us.
    I also believe people should be judged by their actions. I hope Obama can prove himself rather than just talk. Isn't is America that taught us that "talk is cheap".

    April 7, 2009 at 4:27 pm |
  47. Ahalim

    The thirld world and the muslim countries were raped by the colonists, then came US and its support for Israel... Now Obama is trying to get the US, which now more so looks like a "Israeli colony", to be an independant nation that can choose who it wants to be friends with.

    So that must be the reason the neocons are unhappy?

    April 7, 2009 at 4:27 pm |
  48. cag

    Andy M, I totally agree with you.

    April 7, 2009 at 4:25 pm |
  49. John, Rochester MN

    Robert Smith April 7th, 2009 1:18 pm ET

    The same can be said for America: when will Christian moderates take a firm stand against Christian extremists?
    -----------------------------
    A fine point. Personally, I think we started doing that last November.

    April 7, 2009 at 4:23 pm |
  50. R.A.

    SF:

    I would recommend you read the Quran or any good book that covers the life of Prophet Muhammed (PBUH). He did marry 9 year old Aisha. But can you comprehend a marriage between a man and woman as anything other than sex?!

    I will not debate with you weather it was a good thing or not as regional culture and practices in certain parts of the world and at certain times may appear absurd at other times or places.

    I will say this much that, if you invest the time to research, Aisha was one of the most exemplary woman in the history of mankind (and history of Islam) as a pious, intelligent, respected and independent woman during her time.

    if you want more information in this topic I can point you to some good reference material as well.

    April 7, 2009 at 4:22 pm |
  51. mary

    R.A.-Do you care to enlighten the West on how the Quran defines peace? When a Westerner uses that word I think it means something different than how someone who regards the Quran uses it. Does it not mean submitting one's self to Allah?

    April 7, 2009 at 4:22 pm |
  52. salman

    Well I have read most of the comments.... the point is not Islam or Obama ..the point is we all have to stop this fight.... but the sad thing is that it will never stop because that is what we humans do and always have done ... fight fire with fire ... kill or be killed ... i have read some one commenting that the Quran says "convert every one either by teaching or sword" . Islam wants peace ... it is like the usa going around spreading democracy 🙂 .... history has taught us that is peace is better then war. but we will always have wars ... because we will never try to understand each other … in the end all the world resources (which are not infinite) will be consumed over this fight for idealism (which is a relative term in the first place) ... and why because we are greedy and ignorant. We are separated by imaginary lines, with in these lines we are further divided into religious groups and social groups. We differentiate among us on the bases of color, language, belief, wealth, looks, education etc. This divide that we have limits us, confines us to a singular belief (any belief) and in most cases we are willing to die for that belief or even kill for it!!!!

    There are no moderate Muslims there are either Muslims or non-Muslims this new word is not there in Islam … any one who kills an innocent person commits one of the biggest sin … extremism is not a Muslim thing the concept is global. One can call USA as an extreme capitalist state, because USA always fought against communism, and the reason they do so is because of their belief. Their commitment to spread democracy is no different from Muslims spreading Islam.

    The right of self defense doesn’t necessarily mean you go around killing every one you THINK can hurt you this way you’ll have more enemies.. A very smart person left a comment saying
    “All of this is great “propaganda” until the day we are attacked again on our own soil. These same fools that are saying how great it is to “talk” with our enemies will be asking “why….why did this happen??? Who didn’t do their job to protect us???” A very sad day indeed….”
    Let me ask you this… Do you really believe force is the answer ?
    There are people with exactly the same point of view in the Muslim world. They want tto protect them selves from the USA. Believe me if USA has a large army, they are fear less willing to blow them selves up just to kill an American …. And in the end like this person saying talks with your enemies will not help you, will cause the most harm to this world today.
    We can’t destroy a nation if few people from it are wrong. But then fear rules us and we can’t help it. I said before it is sad that we will never have peace and like every religion in the world say “there is going to be dooms day”. If you look into the matter closely of course there is going to be an End and the reason will be that we fought our selves to death…. Look at the current economic crisis why can’t we see that this was caused by the recent wars … the price of oil went up for a few months and bought the whole world to its knees.
    I know it sound stupid and unrealistic and many will think that this is not at all the solution… that is PEACE (which is a paradox : ) )…. So we either fight till the time this world stands still with no life or we come together let go of the differences and live in peace.

    April 7, 2009 at 4:19 pm |
  53. jb

    the palestinians and arabs need to get over it. Isreal is going NOWHERE! the sooner you accept that reality the sooner peace can grow. but it wont. every time they tried to attack isreal they have been destroyed. obama will try to take that power from their hands but he will fail. the holy land is not theirs and never will be!

    April 7, 2009 at 4:18 pm |
  54. Matt

    I'm sick of far-left and far-right nut jobs, I'm sick of ignorance. Let's kill Taliban and al-Qaida (I remember 9/11, it WAS a "fine morning" until those bastards flew in) and leave Hamas and Hezbollah for later, Israel certainly has the ability to hold them off on its own. And if we have to make nice with Iran and Syria, who aren't too enamored of the Taliban and al-Q themselves, then let's do it. Osama and his collection of scum are Enemy Number One - again, I remember 9/11! Iraq was a wrong turn that belatedly could be a golden opportunity. Clarity and strength, not bluster and posturing, will take care of the "Muslim question."

    To the far-left: The only bridges we need to build are to demand, here and abroad, that religion stop masquerading as foreign (and in many countries, including our own very occasionally, domestic) policy. And America can't and shouldn't apologize for Bush forever, move on. Islam, its teaching and its history, have its peaceful tenets but also have its violent side (more so than Christianity but only by a nose), and parts of the Koran (like the Bible) can easily be interpreted as a call to murder. And in many areas Muslim culture is admittedly backwards and medieval. America should be friendly to Muslims but cast a wary eye on them at the same time. To the far-right: The endless cycles of violence you seem to support are sickening. Also, when you people say Obama is opening us up to attack, what do you mean? He closed Gitmo but that was going to happen anyway (for legal reasons), just would've taken longer under McCain. I don't recall seeing anything about cuts in airport or seaport security or cuts in special ops that stealthily kill bad guys, so how exactly is our country less safe? Because we're not going to be keeping lists of what people take out of the library anymore? I'm not trying to be snotty , I would like the right to give us specifics rather than just Cheney-ish doom talk.

    I am a centirst who slightly leans left, and people who don't agree with me shall burn in hell. I call it "Matticalism." lol

    April 7, 2009 at 4:10 pm |
  55. Stan

    The most repressive societies in the world tend to be those governed by Islamic Law. Was it not in Afghanistan, where the liberated government bowed only to world pressure when they suspended the state ordered execution of a muslim who converted to christianity. This is what those governements do. In his speach to Columbia University, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad stated that there are no homsexuals in Iran, at the same time that homsexuals were being executed in Iran for being homosexual. This is what those governements do. In Saudi Arabia, a man visited an elderly woman he had know since childhood, to deliver her needed food and aid to live. But since there was no blood relation between the two, they were both sentenced to x-number of lashes, a number that many were certain the elderly woman could not survive, in essence, a death sentence. Once again, only international uproar called attention to this injustice. To get this sentence commuted, it was claimed that the woman had helped raise the man when he was a child, this hopefully being evidence to stop the lashes. No other reason, such as sanity, or the idea that this may be a way to cruel and inhumane punishment. But that is what these governments do. All of these stories were covered by CNN... and many many many more where these governements have demonstrated themselves as the most repressive and backwards societies in the world. I am sorry, but these sort of goverment sponsored actions do not happen in western socieities, and it is not just a matter of how much someone will suggest that it is all because we just misunderstand each other. I think most people can identify what repressive behavior is.

    April 7, 2009 at 4:09 pm |
  56. DKP

    It's obvious why they liked his sermon – He is one of them. There is absoutely no doubt that Obama has an agenda and the good of the American people is not part of it. He is as NON American as it get. If he was concerned for the safety of American people, he would not be pushing to shut down Gitmo and bring those murdurers here for our tax dollars to defend.

    Read your history books and you will no doubt see how he compares to communist leaders of the past. This man will destroy our country for his own gain.

    Get him out of there.

    April 7, 2009 at 4:09 pm |
  57. Robert W

    just a thought. Is it possible for an intelligent , educated person to hate? I keep seeing comments like "you people are obviously uninformed or uneducated. I suppose that is a kind way of saying "Those people who do not agree with me are uneducated or stupid'. This is amusing to me.

    April 7, 2009 at 4:07 pm |
  58. am-g

    The big questions is always: When will modarate muslims do something about the crazy ones?
    The answer is when we leave their countries, stop supporting the dictators that control their countries, change our policies to be at least fair when it comes to Isreal/Palestine. I think that once this happens the moderates will find the radicals to be the trouble itself and will deal with them as they would be the only remaing problem for peace and prosperity between different religions and different countries. As to what Obama is doing, it is way to go. What a great president. Proud to have him as president. We should not change our way because of handfull of idiots. Proof of that is that during Bush"s years we were becoming more and more like the terrorists themselves, by invading Iraq, using torture and such. God bless the USA and the rest of the people in the world who are looking to get along and make this world better for their children.

    April 7, 2009 at 4:06 pm |
  59. RaginCajun

    Hisham Melhem has a unique perspective - insights into the Muslim world (he's the Washington bureau chief of Al-Arabiya, the Dubai based satellite channel) and the West (B.A. in philosophy from Villanova, studied at Georgetown). He's well respected in both of those worlds because thoughtful people who reside on both sides recognize that while he can explain the views of each, he's an apologist for neither. For several decades he has appeared in valuable interviews on programs like ABC's NightLine (in the Ted Koppel era), Charlie Rose, PBS's NewsHour, Frontline, etc.

    -

    TO: RC– (April 7th, 2009 1:39 pm ET) "I may not have voted for him but I’m very proud of him. He’s won this (mostly) Republican over."

    Thank you. Sounds like you're somebody who thinks critically and makes up his or her own mind. I was a Republican for 44 years before he won ME over.

    -

    TO: Rhonda - (April 7th, 2009 1:17 pm ET) "He called September 11, a 'fine morning'"

    He's talking about the weather on 9/11. Nearly every news story on September 12, 2001 made some mention of the tragic irony, that such a despicable act could have taken place on such an achingly beautiful late summer morning.

    -

    TO: usmc1 (April 7th, 2009 1:58 pm ET) "How can you people think this is good in any way. And
    now they are cutting the defence budget."

    You can have your own opinions but not your own facts. The defense budget proposed by Secretary Gates for upcoming 2010 fiscal year represents approximately a 4% increase over the 2009 budget; God knows what it'll be when Congress gets through with it, but probably higher when each member protects projects in the home district, irrespective of whether it's a what our troops really need [DoD News Briefing With Secretary Gates From The Pentagon – http://www.defenselink.mil/transcripts/transcript.aspx?transcriptid=4396 ]

    From your handle I'd guess that you and I are among the relatively few people posting comments here who actually have worn a uniform.

    April 7, 2009 at 4:05 pm |
  60. R.A.

    Throwing criticism without knowledge is the perfect recipe for misunderstantings and conflicts. To all those who blame Muslims as women hater, abusive, destructive and violent, I would like to say that it is not the religion (Islam) that tells them to do so, it is their own actions that stain the religion.

    I feel there's enough abuse and mistreatment of women in America as well in the form of domestic violence, rape, date rape, workforce discrimination in terms of pay and promotion etc. But this should not lead one to interpret America or Americans and furthermore Christians as ignorant people.

    If Muslims and Christinas alike really read the Quran (and bible) and really tried to understand Islam (and Christianity), then there would be no conflicts today among the two. We are all people of the book and any being who believe in God cannot hate or wish for distruction of any mankind.

    April 7, 2009 at 4:05 pm |
  61. mike martinez

    Maybe Bush did say some of the things that Obama said. However, the manner in which you say things (the same things) can be percieved very differenty. Bush was unintelligent, not understanding, and simply put not a good communicator. Obama is a good communicator, he knows how to talk to people, how to get people to like him, how to have respect for different cultures, and has a kindness with intelligence that draws people of all cultures to like him. Just look at how many people in all countries come out to see him when he speaks. Were as almost noboby would come to see Bush. Matter fact I can't remember to many times were he would go to other countries just to speak with people and leaders. What Barack has been doing is exactly what we need. I think Obama is doing a fantastic job so far. I have a feeling he is going to continue to do so, and its going to get easier to get things accomplish the more he gains trust.

    April 7, 2009 at 4:05 pm |
  62. Ahalim

    SED and the extrmists like him are the ones unhappy about US Muslim relation. These western-Qaeda want war and they are the very reason there is war around the world. Why Jews must always want killings and wars. The holy books are filled with there violence.

    i think this is the moment to move forward for a world peace.

    so the neocons-western-qaeda step aside!!!

    April 7, 2009 at 4:05 pm |
  63. jb

    first of all whats wrong with guantanimo? or abu ghraib for that matter. you call that treatment rough? made to eat pork? look at girly pictures? make a man pyramid? oohh, thats so chilling. water boarding where no one died? oh i am sure they are scarred for life! why don't all of you sympathy mongers go check out the beheading web sites. yep american citizens getting their heads sawed off with a blunt knife for all the world to see and you think what they get is worse. just a bunch of hold over hippies running this world and now their kids are grown up to disable this country further. why don't you people give a crap about your own people instead of some frikin arab who would kill you in a second if given the chance. wake up people! when the shariah law comes to this country, and the beheadings start, you will be the first in line. better go get your copy of the koran today. you will want to be politically correct when the time comes right?

    April 7, 2009 at 4:05 pm |
  64. SF

    Matt after you biblical verse quotations I thought you were confused, now I am convinced that you live in a box. The US economy drives the Global Economy, not the other way around

    April 7, 2009 at 4:05 pm |
  65. SF

    Kmd – your comment is neither here nor there, yes Mohammed is praised but so was Hitler, except that Hitler didn't sleep with nine year olds (Aisha) What do you have to say. Maybe SAMUEL can help you, am I wrong samuel?

    April 7, 2009 at 4:01 pm |
  66. Marty, Grand Rapids Mi

    Nice, we have a president with a brain. Keep up the good work Obama.

    April 7, 2009 at 4:00 pm |
  67. Gian

    John

    Please explain to me how not having allies in that part of the world does us no good. Better understanding their culture and having a means to bring the fight to the RIGHT people isn't in our best interest? Also tell me how it is he's turning our country into a Muslim country. In fact, that statement is so absurd that I actually laughed out loud when I read it. It is people like you who actually believe that we do not need any allies that are the reason for our country's decline in the past 8 years. Our arrogance and most of all our ignorance has sent us into a downward spiral not only economically but also in the sense of the worlds' view of this country. We gain more than you can ever imagine from having a voice in that part of the world. When are you going to see what the jerk, Bush has ALREADY done to our country?!

    April 7, 2009 at 3:59 pm |
  68. Mike L

    I suppose it could be coincidence that the letters which criticize Obama are fraught with grammar and spelling errors, while those which praise him seem to be well-written. I understand fear. Many people have been hurt. I see nothing wrong with seeking to define the enemy clearly. Why is it that so many choose to lump groups together. Those who seek to understand are characterized as naive or weak. That seems unfair. It takes a certain kind of energy to continue to see the problem clearly, and it appears that many simply lack that energy.

    April 7, 2009 at 3:59 pm |
  69. SF

    Samuel – ONCE AGAIN SAMUEL, i read JIHAD WATCH, and as a result I BOUGHT THE QURAN, maybe this time you will get it

    April 7, 2009 at 3:58 pm |
  70. Robert Connors

    It seems clear that the United States is at last taking steps to begin to mend the fabric of our relationship with the Islamic world, which got painted wholesale along with our obvious enemies, al Qaeda. That was akin to maligning all Hispanics because we are insulted by Chavez in Venezuela. We must be able to understand and practise the nuances of foreign relations.
    We also need to begin to overcome our own American misconceptions, as evidenced in the comment posted by Mr. Nelson, asking when moderate Muslims will "begin to take a stand" against Islamic extremists. Moderate Muslims by the millions have been doing that since before we noticed that the Islamic world existed. They continue to do it today, and many have died at the hands of those extremists because of the strength of their convictions. Every innocent killed by extremism is a martyr, whether in New York, or in an elementary school in Bhagdad.

    April 7, 2009 at 3:57 pm |
  71. DJ

    Why is it that every country, nationality or ethnic group that we the US has contact with has to go to great lengths to understand there mindset and culture when our mind set and culture is in lager part comprised of all the others. In my apartment complex just going to check the mail I see at least five different ethnic groups, and we all live together in peace.

    April 7, 2009 at 3:56 pm |
  72. joe

    having lived overseas for 6 years this decade, those that say how dmaged our reputation is don;t know what theyare talking about.
    Obama is potraying a weak, naive leader that will be exploited

    April 7, 2009 at 3:56 pm |
  73. SF

    dolarbil – I cant respond to your comment, its pointing here and there and has nothing to do with this

    April 7, 2009 at 3:56 pm |
  74. Brian

    John,

    Obama is bold because he claimed that the U.S. is not a Christian country? Well, I got news for you: it's not. Deal with it.

    April 7, 2009 at 3:55 pm |
  75. adam

    Its a dog-eat-dog world. We eat them or they eat us. Think this from Pakistan's point of view. Getting BILLIONS of US dollars in aid, using the dollars to arm themselves to the teeth, arms mostly directed towards the western border with India, doing bare nothing to fight the extremists in the north-west. Its like rewarding a dog which bit your kid in the hope that the reward will keep it from biting again. Think again...

    April 7, 2009 at 3:54 pm |
  76. Ismail

    I am a Muslim American. I agree with MWN. Mr. Melheim was very eloquent in his responses. I wish for peace in our world and I thank God we have a president who is more tolerant and intelligent This is clearly a step in the right direction.

    April 7, 2009 at 3:51 pm |
  77. Mah

    The root cause of all Islamic extremist is the United States has publically taken a role as a proxy for the Israel government, rather than mediating as a fair and balanced partner. This has allowed the extremist fringe in the Islamic world to present a rallying point to recruit terrorists to their cause. I think there is nothing to do with Christian religion. Muslim, Christian, Jew it’s all from same tree with different branches. You will see there are lots of similarities in Old Testament and As a Muslim we believe Jesus & Moses are prophet of god and we also belive in their book. We just don’t believe Jesus is son of God. U.S.-Israel relationship is harming this country by keeping us, in the eyes of much of the Muslim world, closely tied with and supporting an occupier, oppressor and perpetrator of war crimes against the Palestinian people. US need to mediate as a fair and balanced partner when resolving Israel Palestine issue and not to bow to Jews lobbyist and their campaign donation. I think this can help a lot.

    April 7, 2009 at 3:51 pm |
  78. Chris Henson

    John, did you not see what the last jerk did to our country?

    And we're NOT a Christian country, no matter how hard you wish or pray that we are. We are a democratic nation made up of Christians, Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Shintos, Scientologists, Mormons, Pagans, Secular Humanists, Agnostics, Atheists, every other belief system you can imagine. That we are NOT a Christian nation is a primary theme of our founding document - the Constitution. To say that we are a Christian nation is a LIE and is Un-American.

    April 7, 2009 at 3:50 pm |
  79. Bill

    As an ex-marine, I would fight with muslims but only if I could keep them in front of me at all times. All muslims' goals are the same as serious Christians-Convert others of a different or no faith. The only difference is their methods. Christians use love, muslims say, "Convert to Islam or die!" I choose "love".

    April 7, 2009 at 3:49 pm |
  80. web surfer

    One of the reasons that Americans are less than enthusiastic about engaging with Muslims is because of what has occurred in Europe. In many countries where Muslims immigrate, they will not assimilate into the existing culture. The more numerous they become, the more demanding they become that their new home country change the existing culture to accommodate them. Look at Denmark, for example.

    April 7, 2009 at 3:49 pm |
  81. Matt

    John read my last comment and please do. Small minded folks are a major reason everyone hates us and if you don't think its important to have other countries likes us then ask yourslef why no NATO ally is sending in combat troops, ask yourself why countries are considering a new global currency, ask yourself why Americans are targeted all over the world?

    The Global Economy is what drives our economy. I bet you didn't even know Iran is a huge buyer of our goods which actually grew under Bush. Do soem research yourself before typing away.

    April 7, 2009 at 3:48 pm |
  82. SF

    Thomas- Tell me Thomas who ordered the crusaders to kill jews? Educate me

    April 7, 2009 at 3:47 pm |
  83. mary

    The only problem here is the Arab world hears things differently than the Western world. As I read the comments, it reveals the ignorance we have in that we cannot even use the words Islam and Muslim correctly. Before you applaud, you should really make sure you understand what has been said to a Muslim mind, to a Islam mind. One of these words that you are misusing means "submit," and there are many folks who hear the words Obama is carelessly using as we will submit to your God. I don't think that is the message I am paying the President of the United States to give with my tax dollars.

    April 7, 2009 at 3:47 pm |
  84. Doug

    Why does ANYONE care what MUSLIMS think of Obama?
    It's what Muslims think of WOMEN and NON-MUSLIMS that concerns me most.

    ALL religions are for fools. Just the EVIL controlling the STUPID. However, by FAR, Islam is the worst plague on this planet.
    Whever therre are desperate illiterate people, there's ISLAM to keep them ignorant enough to believe their hype.

    Their treatment of women ALONE should make Islam POISON TO THE WORLD. They should NEVER be given civilized audience or respect until they JOIN THE REST OF HUMANITY IN THE 21st CENTURY.

    The Muslim world will only CONTINUE THEIR PRESECUTION OF ALL OTHERS, even DIFFERENT KINDS OF MUSLIMS, until they are STOPPED FROM DOING SO.

    The US should pursue the hydrogen car,
    build it for the world, re-build our economy in the process, and we should never again by Arab oil.
    Let them pay for their OWN terrorists.

    April 7, 2009 at 3:47 pm |
  85. Ben

    This is why we voted for the guy! McCain is looked at by the world as Bush 2.0 and I'd hate to have seen what he got us into with his big talk and saber rattling.

    This is going to take time but Bush really did some damage over there, don't get me wrong, Bush had his good points but he couldn't have screwed up foreign relations worse. It's good to have a diplomat in office again.

    April 7, 2009 at 3:46 pm |
  86. Michael, Chapel Hill

    There is no meaning in blame game. Election is over. Obama is the President. Let him show the Muslim world that he is the President

    April 7, 2009 at 3:46 pm |
  87. Brian

    SF,

    You claim that the Crusades happened were "attempts by Christians to maintain their values and all those other things that come with the love of ones own culture." I assume the "values" and "culture" that you speak of include feudalism and rampant ignorance, as the Europe of the Crusades (the Dark Ages) was a backwater compared the relatively cosmopolitan civilizations of the Islamic world and China.

    You also claim that Christians don't force unbelievers to convert. Well, they may not now, but that's certainly not true historically. Christianity has a long history of forced conversions and the killing of heretics. Take the Reconquista and the expulsion of Jews from Spain as examples.

    I'll certainly concede that many Islamic countries today are backwaters that have traded their once advanced, dynamic, and vibrant culture and for a stagnant, repressive theocracies. However, Islam is certainly not unique in this regard, as the potential exists in nearly every religion. History bears out the dangers of fundamentalism regardless of whether it is Islamic, Christian, Hindu, Jewish, or what have you. In my opinion, all organized religions are dangerous, not just Islam.

    April 7, 2009 at 3:46 pm |
  88. Abu Farhad

    As an American Muslim, I welcome our President's comments. It is time to focus on what unites us all, rather than on what divides us. However, we heard former president Bush make similar statements after 9/11 and then act differently both domestically and overseas. If President Obama truly wants to win over Muslims both in our country and globally, then he will have to follow his words with concrete actions. Resolving the Palestinian issue in a balanced way that respects the legitimate rights of both Palestinians and Israelis would be a good place to start. Getting the FBI to moderate its overly aggressive and intrusive behavior towards the American Muslim community would be a good second step. Finally, encouraging the rise of democracies rather than the perpetuation of monarchies and despotism in the Muslim world would be truly wonderful.

    April 7, 2009 at 3:46 pm |
  89. Kevin

    You know, when reading the comments about this artical, I cant help but wonder how people come to some of thier conclusions. People are complaining about how Obama is opening up dialoge with the Muslim world, saying that were going to lose everything we have, or how its going to open up other opportunities for attacks. Come on people lets really think about this. What kind of leader do we want running the country? Someone who tips his hand at a poker game or one that plays his hand close to his vest. Lets remember politics is a game of perception. Just look at the last 8 years. We lost. Now we have to regain ground. Now we have a leader who is trying to soften the perception the World has of the United States, that doesnt mean that we stop doing things for US intrest, but rather alows us to gain leverage to operate more effectivly.

    April 7, 2009 at 3:45 pm |
  90. GRT

    I don't really care what the muslims thinks about Obama. Naturally they like him, he was born muslim. I can't believe how the media and other liberals in the US are kissing up to the muslims. This is a group of people that allow the rape of women and then punish the women if she dares to report it. This is a group of people that want to ban women from even speaking in the media. Come on people, the muslim way of life is against everything that the US proposes to support. Freedom of religion, freedom of speech, freedom of expression, equality between the sexes.

    April 7, 2009 at 3:44 pm |
  91. SF

    MATT – Im sick of these ignoramons think that they know things.
    Matt, are you really doing this? Must I catergorally go though each one of the verses you quoted or misquoted, and explain them? Keep in mind that the Quran does not permit interpretation, where the bible does and our religious leaders do.

    By the way, thank you for all those verses you included in your comment. I'll make sure to thank John Mark Ministries for also putting them on its website verbatim. Be original at least and have some conviction. And remember, pointing here and there is not a good technique for discussion, it mucks things up much like the Quran.

    Also none of the bibles that I have read have written said verses as you have

    April 7, 2009 at 3:43 pm |
  92. Funk-man

    It's refreshing to live in a country where disparate points of view are shared with such vigor. The market place of ideas allows us all to evaluate the comments and come to rational decisions for ourselves. Tell me, in what muslim country is this discourse allowed? Could you imagine a 'mapplethorpe' type display of muslim religous items that didn't result in death threats? We all need to protect the freedoms we have – everyone must be allowed to speak, be heard and appreciated. Again, where is dissent appreciated in the muslim world – NO WHERE.

    April 7, 2009 at 3:42 pm |
  93. April

    And another thing for you closed minded fools who are looking for something to get upset over, when he said "fine September morning" have you not considered it is perhaps because it was in fact, a fine beautiful fall day? Blue skies and sunshine? In almost every article about 9/11 that has been written, they remark on how lovely a day it was as in a beautiful morning UNTIL that awful event! Perhaps he could be referring to that but oh no, no he must be saying it was a great day that is of course the ONLY way to infer his remarks if you're a closed minded fool.

    April 7, 2009 at 3:41 pm |
  94. Jerry

    It is so wonderful...to be on better terms with people who beat women, treat 'em like animals, chop off heads, blow up innocent people, commit rapes to shame women into wearing explosive belts and redemming their souls with suicide missions.
    Is Obama a Muslim???

    April 7, 2009 at 3:41 pm |
  95. Matt

    The ignorance is apalling. Please crawl back into the caves in which you came from so people of intelliegence can have a conversation.

    April 7, 2009 at 3:41 pm |
  96. kentuckywoman

    "robert Kaminski April 7th, 2009 1:38 pm ET

    Did Mr. Obama go to the Blue Mosque?

    If he did why was there no TV, or Internet coverage?"

    On "The Today Show", they did indeed mention that he visited the Blue Mosque. I was putting on my makeup at the time, so I was listening, not watching; therefore I don't know what they showed. Nor do I know if it is proper to bring cameras, etc. into a mosque.

    April 7, 2009 at 3:40 pm |
  97. Terry

    It's pitiful to see so many people clinging to their fear and ignorance for security. In this time and this place American resources are dwindling. Our economy is languishing. Americans need to recalibrate their expectations. We cannot continue to consume global resources as if they are our birthright. American greed and economic corpulence are yesterday’s news. Wake up and smell the coffee while there are still rain forests to grow it.

    April 7, 2009 at 3:39 pm |
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