Obama tells Turkey: U.S. ‘not at war with Islam’
In parliament, president calls for greater partnership with Islamic world
ANKARA, Turkey - Barack Obama, making his first visit to a Muslim nation as president, declared Monday the United States “is not and will never be at war with Islam.”
Urging a greater partnership with the Islamic world in an address to the Turkish parliament, Obama called the country an important ally in many areas, including the fight against terrorism. He devoted much of his speech to urging a greater bond between Americans and Muslims, portraying terrorist groups such as al-Qaida as extremists who do not represent the vast majority of Muslims.
“Let me say this as clearly as I can,” Obama said. “The United States is not and will never be at war with Islam. In fact, our partnership with the Muslim world is critical ... in rolling back the violent ideologies that people of all faiths reject.”
The U.S. president is trying to mend fences with a Muslim world that felt it had been blamed by America for the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.
Arab channels carry Obama live
At a news conference earlier with President Abdullah Gul, Obama dealt gingerly with the issue of alleged genocide committed by Turks against Armenians during World War I. He urged Turks and Armenians to continue a process “that works through the past in a way that is honest, open and constructive.”
Al Jazeera and Al Arabiyia, two of the biggest Arabic satellite channels, carried Obama’s speech live.
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