U.S. President Barack Obama voiced a determined goodwill to the Islamic world in a speech on Monday at the Turkish parliament, saying the United States will never be at war with the Islamic world.
"Let me say this as clearly as I can: The United States is not, and will never be, at war with Islam," Obama said in a firm tone. "In fact, our partnership with the Muslim world is critical in rolling back a fringe ideology that people of all faiths reject," he added.
Obama is adopting a new U.S. policy of reaching out to the Islamic world to improve the U.S. bad image in Muslims over the past years. He has promised to give a major speech in a Muslim nation in the first 100 days of his presidency. Turkey, the only Muslim ally in the Western alliance, is an ideal place to send his message of reaching out.
"We seek broad engagement based upon mutual interests and mutual respect. We will listen carefully, bridge misunderstanding, and seek common ground. We will be respectful, even when we do not agree," Obama said in his speech.
"And we will convey our deep appreciation for the Islamic faith, which has done so much over so many centuries to shape the world for the better, including my own country," he added.
He said the United States has been enriched by Muslim Americans and many other Americans have Muslims in their family, or have lived in a Muslim-majority country. "I know, because I am one of them," he noted.
Obama arrived in Ankara on Sunday evening for his first state visit to a Muslim nation.
Obama's visit to Turkey, the last stop of his first European trip early in his term, was seen as a move to mend the once-cooled ties, and seek its only Muslim ally's help with the Iraqi and Afghan issues, and importantly, with his reaching-out to the Muslim world.