President Barack Obama has declared that the United States is not and never will be at war with Islam.
The president received rousing applause from Turkish lawmakers in
Ankara Monday as he appealed for cooperation with the Muslim world.
Speaking to parliament, Mr. Obama acknowledged that in recent years,
Washington's ties have been strained with Turkey and many other places
where Islam is practiced.
Anti-American sentiment surged under former President George W. Bush,
and some security experts say the Bush administration's treatment of
terrorist suspects, as well as the war in Iraq, helped recruit new
Shortly after taking office, Mr. Obama pledged to give a speech in a
Muslim capital within the first 100 days of his presidency.
On Monday, Mr. Obama said the United States sees partnership with the
Muslim world as critical in rolling back a fringe ideology - extremism
- that people of all faiths reject.
The American president said partnership with the Muslim world cannot and will not be based simply on opposition to al-Qaida.
Mr. Obama said Washington seeks broad engagement with Muslims, based on
mutual interests and respect. Over many centuries, he noted, the
Islamic faith has helped shape the world for the better, and that the
United States has been enriched by Muslim-Americans.
He also pointed out that he is one of many Americans who have Muslims
in their families, or who have lived in a Muslim-majority country. Mr.
Obama lived in Indonesia as a child, and some of his Kenyan relatives
The president is expected to briefly attend a United Nations conference
Turkey is hosting this week to promote inter-cultural understanding.
Former Iranian president Mohammad Khatami also will be joining the
"Alliance of Civilizations" conference, raising speculation in the
Iranian media that he may meet Mr. Obama. The U.S. has not commented on