Jakarta: US-Muslim mistrust must end, says Obama

On Wednesday, giving a keynote speech in Indonesia, the world’s most populous Muslim nation, the US president Barack Obama has said that a lot more requires to be done to restore frayed US relations with the Muslim world. He was addressing a 6,000-strong audience, mainly students, at the national university in the capital, Jakarta.

US president said, “Just as individuals are not defined solely by their faith, Indonesia is defined by more than its Muslim population,”

“But we also know that relations between the United States and Muslim communities have frayed over many years. As president, I have made it a priority to begin to repair these relations.” he said

Obama, who spent 4 years in Indonesia as a young boy, praised Indonesia as an good example of successful religious co-existence.

He said, “Even as this land of my youth has changed in so many ways, those things that I learned to love about Indonesia – that spirit of tolerance that is written into your constitution, symbolised in your mosques and churches and temples, and embodied in your people – still lives on”.

His speech was an updated version of a most importent address he gave seventeen months ago in Cairo, where he announced a “new beginning” in US-Muslim relations after the tensions over the 9/11 attacks on the US & the former US administration’s response to them.

Obama said, “In the 17 months that have passed we have made some progress, but much more work remains to be done”.

“I said then, and I will repeat now, that no single speech can eradicate years of mistrust. But I believed then, and I believe today, that we have a choice. We can choose to be defined by our differences, and give into a future of suspicion and mistrust. Or we can choose to do the hard work of forging common ground, and commit ourselves to the steady pursuit of progress” he said.