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People Should be Treated Equally

Jun 1, 2009, 6:13 AM

"I want to use the occasion to deliver a broader message about how the United States can change for the better its relationship with the Muslim world," Obama said last week after meeting Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in Washington.

The speech comes at a time when Obama is seeking to build an alliance of moderate Muslim nations to pressure Iran to stop uranium enrichment, which Washington fears is a cover to build atomic weapons, but which Tehran says is for peaceful purposes. He also needs their support for renewed US led efforts to seek a two-state solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.

The US, over the years, is being criticised from many quarters about its foreign policy, and it faces numerous Middle East challenges, ranging from the aftermath of the Iraq war, and the nuclear standoff with Iran, to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.

The Muslim world is anticipating Obama's administration to chart a new path in US-Muslim relations, which were badly damaged by the Bush administration's global war on terror. The images of the Bush administration are still very clear: the US led invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, the reported inhumane treatment of prisoners at the US military prison at Guantanamo Bay and at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq, plus the Bush administration's perceived bias towards Israel, which all stoked anti-American sentiment in the region and fueled the flame of terrorism.

"How the United States addresses the conflict is how citizens of the region are likely to regard the United States," said Steve Grand, an expert on US-Islamic relations at the Brookings Institution. "That, more than anything binds Muslims into what many call the Muslim world". This we believe is true and should be taken into consideration.

"He has been great at a rhetorical level, but he has to provide details about what the United States is going to concretely do to reach out to the Muslim world," Grand said.

All should not only be seen as equal but treated equally. The saying: "A rule for one should be a rule for all."

It is quite welcoming that his administration has embraced a proposal by Saudi Arabia that offers Israel normal ties with all Arab states in return for a full withdrawal from the lands it seized in the 1967 Middle East war, creation of a Palestinian state, and a "just solution" to the Palestinian refugee problem.

"No man can justify censure or condemn another, because indeed no man truly knows another".

Sir Thomas Browne