What Actions Will Promote Better Understanding Between the U.S. and Muslims of the World?

Posted by DipNote Bloggers
June 5, 2009
Live TV Broadcast of Obama Cairo Speech Reflects in Sunglasses

On June 4, President Obama spoke at Cairo University, where he sought a new beginning between the United States and Muslims around the world.

President Obama said, “...[R]ecognizing our common humanity is only the beginning of our task. Words alone cannot meet the needs of our people. These needs will be met only if we act boldly in the years ahead; and if we understand that challenges we face are shared, and our failure to meet them will hurt us all.”

What actions will promote better understanding between the United States and Muslims of the world?

Comments

Comments

RoseParvin
June 8, 2009

Rose P. writes:

I believe President Obama's speach was very constructive even to those who did not want to show it out of fear of loosing power or suspicious minds. Next step is what we have spent 12 years of doing which is the constant dialogue with the people through all medium to come together on a Universal Culture accepted to all based on Universal Laws of Human Rights and not Hollywood's old eastern men's perversion! Then is the mass knowledge poured from rose p.!

Lisa
|
Ohio, USA
June 5, 2009

Lisa in Ohio writes:

I listened to Iran's spokes person Armadijihad (sorry spelling). I agreed, I also caught the thinly veiled threat he made. His speech at NY.last yr. said no gays in Iran, blah, blah. It's the exportation of vices that are enraging the elders. They see thier children at risk, don't you? Our freedom of speech is something that resembles a double edged sword. Also Isreal's high-handedness with our full backing is not helping matters. You at most can acknowledge, but the law protects good and bad depending on thier bank account bal. So seek a balance with the exportation of this nation destructiveness. I find to deny is to anger. P.S got a low-paying job 4 me? willing to travel!

Syrian P.
|
Syria
June 5, 2009

SNP in Syria writes:

The damage to U.S.-Moslem relation in general and in particular to its relation with Middle Easterners is permanent and irrevocable, especially when it comes to gaining respect of the people. The U.S. will always find self installed ruler who seeks U.S. lordship to keep him in control of the Nation treasury, army and resources. This will suite the U.S. as well, since all Americans really wants from Moslems is oil, cash (Dollar reserves and sovereign wealth), weapon sales contracts, and a ruler that can keep the populous illiterate, bogged down and a net importer even of basic food supply to keep his country weak and reliant.

The U.S. can also find a naive Diplomat or person that provides leads in various directions that will all prove a false hope and a naive attempt. But here is an honest free advice: The U.S. lost it and lost itself as well. The U.S. did damage before in the 50-73 but that pale in comparison to what it did from 1990 and now still ongoing horrors. Give it up, maybe, just maybe, if we ever made it peacefully that far, a new generation will forgive you. Even that is a very remote possibility, because Moslems and Middle Easterners tend to carry the vendetta for millenniums and teach the children to follow the father's way of thought.

The U.S. understands the power of modern Technological Media, as this blog is accessible since its inception to more than 5 million readers, other media, such as You Tube and Google will wield few hundred millions readers in the Moslem world to find information that is very damming about U.S. deeds to Moslems since 1990 Desert Storm War for profit. To many Moslems, Israel has moved from the number One position that held for Sixty years and down to perhaps enemy number 54th on a long list topped by The U.S., British, French, Australian and Shia Governments, the United Nations Criminal Organization, and it ends with abhorred characters that are nothing more than supported puppets, the like of Mubarak and Abdullahs (all of them). In fact, to many Moslems, Israel is slowly rising as a possible good will power that can be dealt with and leveraged against the diabolically evil treatment Moslems received from the West.

If the U.S. is serious about better understanding why not start by exposing those films, photos and secret facts you are keeping under top secret. The Moslems knows those facts already, thanks to You Tube and Google, but who really need to know is the American and Western people, they need to know, so they can start the healing process, now there is disconnect between the genuine reality and the virtual reality that Fox news and CNN present to them daily.

Connie
|
California, USA
June 6, 2009

Connie in California writes:

We must create a dialogue about the equality of women. We must get behind the women MPs in Kuwait and support them when two of them choose not to wear hijab. We must educate ourselves that gender parity in government gives women power. And when women have representation and accountability in government, women's and men's and children's lives are better. When women have opportunities and are safe in their homes, life is better.

In short, healing our world starts with empowering women.

Yael
|
West Virginia, USA
June 6, 2009

Yael in West Virginia writes:

Maybe the President and Secretary of State are right to demand that Jewish families in the terror-tories be denied their right to any "natural growth" in their population. But somehow it's hard to believe that the births of Jewish babies or houses for Jewish families are truly the "obstacle to peace" that our government makes them out to be.

To my mind, man-made disasters (such as terrorist attacks) and the intractability of the pan-Arab goal to eradicate all Jewish life in the Middle East seem more of an "issue." But maybe that's just me. After all, Israel's ethnic cleansing and surrender of the Gaza strip in 2005 was a great success... for Hamas.

Ah, but I forget. The United States now funds that terrorist organization, in spite of the fact that it's illegal to do so. No wonder so many Americans are confused when it comes to issues in the Middle East.

For instance, one week we see the President entertaining a Holocaust denier (Abu Mazen) in the White House, and then the very next week he's standing at Buchenwald with Eli Wiesel, decrying Holocaust denial as "baseless, ignorant and hateful." And at the same time, the State Department spokesman refuses to tell the American people where our government now stands in relation to our previous commitments to our previous ally, the state of Israel -- as per the April 14 2004 exchange of letters between George Bush and Ariel Sharon.

Lastly, I want to thank you for this interactive website. It may be that it's merely a placebo, given to replace the real democratic power that once rested with "We the People," but it sure is better than nothing!

Patricia S.
|
New York, USA
June 6, 2009

Patricia S. in New York writes:

I agree 100% with Yael, in West Virginia. The U.S. will make no progress with the Muslim World, unless and until it stops funding Hamas. I doubt the President made much progress during his latest trip abroad. Let's see how the administration spins "this successful trip" next week. The administration is no real, true friend of Israel and its leaders and its people are well aware of this - sad indeed.

Zharkov
|
United States
June 6, 2009

Zharkov in U.S.A. writes:

The Middle East situation is much worse because the U.S. government funds both sides of the dispute.

Aid to Israel and to Hamas should end immediately to remove the profit from maintaining the dispute. As long as both sides collect money for fighting each other, why should they stop?

Reverse the situation and if they had to pay us to help negotiate their dispute, would it not end quickly?

khalid
|
Bangladesh
June 7, 2009

Khalid in Bangladesh writes:

Obama has started the journey. It is not the end but a very bold and courageous drive. Drive agains terrorists within U.S.A. and beyond. But some one will have to open the truth, the reality. How long we will play hid and seek game. The relations between Muslims and U.S.A. is declining since the Bush regime. There are majority of the Muslims who are true friends of U.S.A. and the poeople. They want peace and peace only. But Bush took the strategy of "compartmentalization" betwen Muslims and the west. There are many good Americans who want to have friendly and brotherly relations with the Muslims and vice versa. There is no reason to brand muslims as Ladens or talebans.

I strongly believe, it is the time to move forward hand in hand; muslims and christians and the jews and the hindus and the buddist ...

Otherwise, we will destroy our planet, more severely than the climate change or any man-made disaster.

Zharkov
|
United States
June 23, 2009

Zharkov in USA writes:

If anyone was serious about changing our relations with muslim countries, we would have a real investigation of the attack on the World Trade Center to determine, among many other questions:

1. Why military-grade thermite residue was found by scientists on the interior steel columns of the collapsed buildings; and

2. How 19 tourists with boxcutters managed to get NORAD to stand down while they flew into the buildings; and

3. Why there was a practice exercise attack scheduled on the same day as the real attack; and

4. Why the investigation into who shorted airline stock before the attack on 9/11/2001 was summarily dropped and the results of the investigation not revealed to the public.

In fairness to the muslim world, we should have spent more time investigating before immediately placing blame on muslims.

Joe
|
Tennessee, USA
June 8, 2009

Joe in Tennessee writes:

It is the perception of the word Problem and separation by religion is not realistic. We can impose the words- ideological differences- instead.

Our own democracy is a good place to view the inherent problems of change which lead to insecurity, which, for the most part is the realistic problem. The use of religion is simply a fence to hide behind and a control function which is especially dominate and well used by control systems in any society which is non democratic. Regardless of the religion, almost any orthodox version is impossible to live under today, unless we go back to residing in caves.

In short, as Ms Rice so often stated in the past and repeated by Mrs. Clinton: "Democracy is an evolving process." Today we have internal differences which evolve from traditionalist moralist views vs. change. While I personally feel that States rights supersede those of a Federal Legal Statue on moral issues, as the law is supposed to reflect the moiré³ of the represented society in a democracy, we have a much divided house. The referendum vote of the people would be more representative; but, the legal system and overall views as to the rights of citizenship as a U.S. citizen are under scrutiny and change which supposedly benefits all citizens within the democracy. We have a democracy with problems resulting from our own in house perspectives, so imagine the use of moralistic views to a society which has never known democracy.

The implied differences are not in reality religious by nature; but, reflective of Change. Everything from the power base within a household to the control by present governmental administration are made insecure by the general idea of democracy and equal rights; which, the United States, for all our imperfections, still represents better than any other major country worldwide.

What we simply need to do is take the idea of religious rhetoric away by not forcing change, educating the Middle East cultures as to the idea of democracy and how representative government does not take away power from anyone; but, enhances the overall culture of any country and its people.

Most Faiths are premised on a Supreme Being a loving and compassionate God who wants peace as a primary base for the regeneration of humanity. Muhammad wrote after eight years of fighting with the Meccan tribes: Never again shall brother fight brother, nor the infidel, we shall show by example now that our way is the right way..unfortunately, after he fell ill and passed the Rashiduns, along with his cousin, found this not beneficial to maintain power . In essence, it does go with his personal belief that we are all one with God and God is One.

That ideology, perhaps forgotten, is best for everyone: By Example and with Respect toward God, which is all.

joe
|
Tennessee, USA
June 8, 2009

Joe in Tennessee writes:

One major thing I failed to mention, which also creates insecurity, is the fact of dependency on oil by the Middle East as its mainstay and, while demand is already diminished, with few exceptions as Egypt, they have not integrated infrastructure into any variables as manufacturing and internal self sufficiency. Over the long haul, they will have to face their people and offer an alternative to distribute wealth to; especially given the increased educational levels of many Middle East countries. The mass exporting of citizens now for general labor is a significant sign of forth coming problems.

The Middle East is facing many changes and external fiscal investments alone will not support the changes within their societies. So, unfortunately, the present regimes of power will continue to use religion and separation to control their perspective societies, unless they are educated realistically and in a productive passive light externally.

Religion is not the problem at all, it is about change which is inherently forthcoming by economics alone and insecurity.

Ron
|
New York, USA
June 8, 2009

Ron in New York writes:

Obama's State Department appears on popular TV shows, with Muslim and Arab guests and audiences to create new forums for education, awareness and stigma reduction....Go-Bama, Go-Hillary, Go-Oprah!

Donald
|
Virginia, USA
June 9, 2009

Donald in Virginia writes:

THE BLOOD OF MAN

Everyday, we hear on the news how people on earth just cannot live together in Peace. We hear the suffering, the sounds of war, the anger that exists between two races of religion, which cannot stand each other, to live next to one another on earth. It has been written by God himself to learn to love thy neighbor, not destroy thy neighbor! Yet both sides continue the violence, continue fighting over a piece of land, the blood which flows deeper than the Red Sea, proving the fact that we as people are not civil people on earth. We have become Animals in nature fighting for survival, identifying one religion is greater than the other. When will we ever learn that God is the master of all races, God is the creator of life and the end of life. Who are we to Judge what God does, or why people continue figting over a cause which cannot be won. The lesson in this message is that in life you don't need a military protecting your borders, you need to open your hearts, find a truce between your neighbors and end all wars, all violence and learn to live with each other, drink wine, party and put away those desires for war. One side buys more weapons, more devices to destroy mankind, as the other does the same, and it has proved we cannot see "eye to eye" when it's the most simple thing to do in life, FORGIVE THY NEIGHBOR, GOD FORGIVES PEOPLE ON EARTH, FIRST YOU FORGIVE AND THEN GOD FORGIVES YOU FOR THE ACTS OF VIOLENCE YOU SPREAD.

Both sides need to learn this valuable lesson of "Forgiveness" before Peace can exist between Arabs and Jews" How do I know this for a fact? Angels exist!

Godbless and Peace on earth for all MANKIND/WOMENKIND and Children who will show you the light!

ANGEL OF LIFE!!!

Brian
|
South Korea
June 9, 2009

Brian in South Korea writes:

The key is going to be economic partnerships. Trade and globalization are the best ways to reduce conflict and increase prosperity for both the Western and the Muslim world. Friedman's "McDonald's Theory" is a great example: no two countries have ever gone to war when both countries have a McDonalds. While I'm not arguing for American cultural hegemony, I AM arguing for expanded trade. If the Palestinians were engaged in the world economy rather than being marginalized, the culture of poverty and resentment would slowly vanish. Rising tides raise all boats. There's a reason the U.S. and China aren't exchanging bullets. Despite the areas of the Chinese government that are personally distasteful, the dangers of a war with China are minimal.. why? Trade. A similar model would work in the Muslim world (as it has with Turkey, Jordan and Morocco. This rift isn't about religion, as is popular wisdom, it's economic.

Khalil
|
Eritrea
June 9, 2009

Khalil in Eritrea writes:

Truly, words are dust.

How can you change the heart of those in power? Power corrupts. How can there be peace when those who are drunk with power take the peace?

Should a Mosque be filled with guns or prayer?

Truly, I tell you to act on peace, for a little knowledge that acts is worth infinitely more than much knowledge that does nothing to heal our lands.

We can start by sharing the good gifts of truth.

Truly, it is easy to do evil, to pick up a gun, but infinitely harder to follow the straight path of light, to peacefully share truth with your neighbor when your heart is broken by them.

Yes, we must act. We must first fill of our hearts with truth. Look down your path - where are you going?

If Kaaba is truly in our heart, we have no need of weapons.

How little is known of Mohammad when the sword is known best What can I offer my neighbor that he would wish to follow me, a sword or the truth?

President Obama you speak from your heart.

Thank you.

We must simply act with our hearts.

Klaus
|
United States
June 15, 2009

Klaus in U.S.A. writes:

Christian relations with the Muslims troubles me very much. In reading the Qur'an I find only the Muslim justification for war on and against the Christians. Logic might dictate that Christian's only response is to fight against the Muslims in self defenst. Personally, I find that to be not acceptable unless it is shown Muslims can find some way to say, in public, no, we will not wage war on the Christians simply because they are Christians. I fear that very soon we are going to find we both have drifted into something I think the majority of Muslims and Christians do not want. But, something must be done or we will find ourselves drifting.

Klaus
|
United States
June 10, 2009

Klaus in U.S.A. writes:

I find that SNP in Syria write very interesting comments. I find with so much dis-information awash in the commons it is hard for any to know what is true. It is widely admitted that here in the U.S. that if the Media had not been so overtly FOR Obama, he could not have been elected. True or not? I really can't say and I've tried hard to know the truth. One thing I ask myself, "If I am an atheist with a desire to settle somewhere in the world, where would I choose?"

My answer would be that as an atheist (or a Muslim, as so many Muslims here in the U.S. have chosen) I would live in a Christian country. Why? Well, it seems to be the safest and the most free. Atheist (even those who activetly hate Christians) and Muslims (most, it seems, DO NOT hate Christians) all, are left in peace to go their own way. Now, none of this is based on anyone's propaganda, it's based on my reading of history and in that early history of early America it is stated in their founding documents that All religions will be welcome. There are real, and truly acid propaganda efforts being made to disturb that peace. It is on each of us to see through the fog of propaganda, and it's possible especially with the internet.

I can say to you in Syria, Iran, Iraq, Egypt, Palestine, and everywhere Muslims live, I truly wish you and your family, and countrymen, peace and prosperity.

I will one day face my God and I will have to account for any evil I do to anyone. I want there to be nothing of evil to my fellow man to that I need to account for.

From a Christian to all, people of all religions, I wish you peace.

Klaus

Alonso
|
California, USA
June 10, 2009

Alonso in California writes:

I think that some students that are in college sould be sent to muslim ruled places to learn in their schools and their way of life. For exsample if I really know what it is like in Iran for two years, when I come back to California I will be a good souce of information about the muslim world and will be more able to break the wrong think between us and the muslim world.

Behar G.
|
District Of Columbia, USA
June 11, 2009

Behar G. in Washington, DC writes:

I think the best way to promote understanding between the U.S. and the Middle East is open dialogue and education. The fact that so many of our leaders make policies regarding the Middle East or even visit the Middle East with little or no understanding of their basic culture and customs (such as when Condolezza Rice tried to shake the hand of Qathaffi last year when in Libya men do not shake the hand of women as a cultural norm) is ridiculous. I think playing both sides of the political game is also problematic, such as funding both Hamas and Israel simultaneously when funding to BOTH should stop. Sure everyone will point out that Hamas is a terrorist group, but the U.S. gave them funding under the pretenses of aid and reconstruction and it was nothing compared to the amount of money Israel gets for its defense budget annually. The Palestinians will not believe in a peace process that remains as biased as it has been these past 20 years. Removing the illegal Israeli settlements, however, is a positive first step, and if the U.S. succeeds in doing so it will give many Palestinians a glimmer of hope that the U.S. is serious about not only giving them a country of their own but truly working on a fair peace process.

If the President continues to do what he's been doing in terms of visiting places in the Middle East and giving speeches that are warm and understanding to the people living there, attitudes may begin to change, but his words must also be followed by action. Letting Muslims in the Middle East know that the U.S. is not anti Muslim is a huge step bc for too long our American foreign policy has focused on that region and has usually had negative consequences on the people living there. Despite our good intentions, the people of Iraq, Afghanistan, and the Palestinian territories are not better off, and its not surprising that they do think that this is an attack on their religion and way of life bc we've been so disrespectful towards it. However, by changing our rhetoric to truly include everyone, and to make changes that highlight the beauty and wisdom of the words that make up the foundation of this country in our founding documents, it isn't too far fetched to believe that the people of different Middle Eastern countries may one day embrace them too. But they have to do it in their own time, not our time, and we have to remain respectful of that. In the mean time, we educate ourselves about the people we're coming into contact with because believe it or not, they know a heck of a lot more about us. It's time we let them know that they're worth getting to know too.

Eric
|
New Mexico, USA
June 11, 2009

Eric in New Mexico writes:

@ Khalil in Eritrea,

Aye, words may be dust, but your's were worth reading, thanks! Well said!

Speaking of sharing truth, have you ever wondered what might happen if bin laden chose to seek the meaning of life from a Buddhist perspective?

I believe there's a certain element of truth inherent in humor, and thus has the potential to lend perspective across cultures and religious thought.

You'll find some here among the comments I think and perhaps an answer to your questions as well.

http://blogs.state.gov/index.php/entries/public_affairs_foreign_policy/

joe
|
Tennessee, USA
June 11, 2009

Joe in Tennessee writes:

Change, its all about change worldwide, not specific nations or religions.

The evolution of technology, communications, interdependency, education, longer life spans via medical advances have all created an entirely new environment for humanity in every corner of the world and adaptation has to take place.

Polarization through nationalization is not the goal and religion is one of the methods used for such. Enmeshment in some manner, even through acceptance has to be made in every sphere of humanity sooner or later. This is the goal of global markets; but each country has to be realistic in maintaining a labor force to support its base population. Our real problem is greed, which has derailed the actualization of global markets. We need to use money as the tool it was meant to be and the governments of the world have to find some manner to regulate free trade more productively and developmentally for each country with out simply stealing from those less fortunate or in conflict. Religion is simply a tool to control people in the overall picture, no more, no less and we make to much of it in that regard. WE NEED TO EVOLVE; we ate from the tree of Knowledge and need to evolve from the garden, as we were meant to.

We lose important resources by constantly approaching things by looking at it like a puzzle and taking one piece at a time to address. Other than utilizing specific fields of knowledge in a specialized manner, the main goal has to be much broader than looking at problems as we do now. We need developmental goals that preclude religion. When stomachs are full and people are busy developing their families and countries they don't have time for war...and can worship what ever Supreme Being or beings in whatever manner they want in peace...which is what spirituality is all about. Religion is not the problem.

Toni
|
Minnesota, USA
June 11, 2009

Toni in Minnesota writes:

Starting from President Obama's outreach, continued interaction will promote a better understanding between the United States and Muslims. Continue clearing away misunderstandings and collectively taking a stand against any form of extremism, in any country.

The people of the world should make an effort to learn from and appreciate those whose lives and cultures differ from their own. All the people of the world should take the time to learn about other cultures and practices of faith. How narrow minded are those that think, "ours is the only way."

Specific actions like foreign exchange and pen pals between the young people might affect change. If Muslims and Americans had more direct contact, it would be likely that each would see that there are more similarities than differences in dreams and desires.

This practice should not be limited to the interaction of Americans and Muslims, this should be the interaction of the world.

Daniel
|
New Zealand
June 11, 2009

Daniel in New Zealand writes:

Listen.

Charles O.
|
Massachusetts, USA
June 11, 2009

Charles O. in Massachusetts writes:

You always make exceptions to prejudice for your friends. The best way to engender friendly relationships I've found is in the business world. We need to open and strengthen ties to countries who have been traditionally friendly and stable like Egypt, Turkey, Jordan and even others such as Syria, Lebanon, UAE, even Yemen and Iran. The marketplace is a mainstay of the middle east and we need to enter it boldly, openly and with a willingness to do it honestly. The sooner we can establish and maintain those relationships the more we will be respected and admired in the Muslim middle east.

pete
|
Maryland, USA
June 11, 2009

Pete in Maryland writes:

promote the fact that all crhristians, jews and muslims alike all beleive in the one true god. we must all share this earth. we must all live together.

Nathan
|
Illinois, USA
June 11, 2009

Nathan in Illinois writes:

One-on-one, personal connections; citizen diplomats; promoting interactions between people, which will lead to the realization that we're not all that different.

Patrick
|
Ohio, USA
June 11, 2009

Patrick in Ohio writes:

U.S. dollars. Nothing says "peace and understanding" like financial investment.

Ezra
|
Alabama, USA
June 11, 2009

Ezra in Alabama writes:

More than anything, we need to educate our people that there is no shame in being more than just an American and accepting that we are all citizens of the world. The concept that we should work with, or even respect, non-Americans is lost on so many people. I have had several conversation in the past week in which people have said they don't care about what goes on in other places. And these were educated people in medical school and graduate school programs. Many people have overwhelming insecurities and senses of entitlement when comparing themselves to the rest of the world. Insecurities that make them think the rest of the world is out to get us. And entitlement that makes them think they not only citizens of the greatest country on Earth, but also that they are automatically the greatest people on Earth. You have to educate people about the similarities we have across our ethnic and religious differences.

Michael
|
Maine, USA
June 11, 2009

Michael in Maine writes:

Military withdrawal from occupied Islamic countries. That's a good place to start! Economic withdrawal from petro-dictatorships (like Saudi Arabia); that dependence on dirty energy and dirty politics is more the issue than differences in religion. People claim they worship Jesus or Jehovah or Allah, but seems to me the only thing they really worship is money. And in this case, oil is money.

Abe
|
Costa Rica
June 11, 2009

Abe in California writes:

Actions I think that would promote better understanding are:

1) Continued admittance of, or acknowledgement of mistakes, injustices, mal-treatments, abuse, etc that our country has made toward the muslim world.

2) "Town Hall", open forum type meetings with people that are Muslim. I imagine this is high risk, but maybe with people that are more trustworthy to be asking questions (non-hostile Imams) of our Secretary of State, or The President.

These are basics, but I think it is important to acknowledge the past wrong doings in order to move forward. I imagine people would not forgive, or "let go" if we just ignored stuff. People tend to hold grudges if they do not receive closure.

Good Luck!

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