Priorities. He wouldn’t go to Normandy to avoid offending…Germans. And of course he wants to avoid offending Muslims also, so he went to the Blue Mosque. The signals are clear.
ISTANBUL (AFP) — US President Barack Obama visited a landmark mosque in Istanbul on Tuesday, following strong messages of US reconciliation with the Islamic world on his maiden trip to a mainly Muslim country.
Taking off his shoes as tradition requires, Obama stepped into the 17th-century Sultanahmet Mosque in the ancient heart of Istanbul, accompanied by Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan amid tight security in the area.
Two Muslim preachers guided Obama inside the grandiose edifice — better known as the Blue Mosque for its blue tileworks — and the president smiled when they showed him a dome scripture mentioning the Prophet Mohammed’s grandson Hussein, Obama’s middle name, Anatolia news agency reported.
In a major speech at the Turkish parliament in Ankara Monday, Obama declared that the United States “is not and ” and called Turkey a “critical ally,” earning himself much praise in a country where his predecessor left the US image in tatters.
“Obama conquers hearts,” the popular Vatan newspaper trumpeted on its front page, while the liberal Taraf said the speech marked the end of “the bellicose spirit of September 11.”…
Yeah, see, September 11 was all about the bad old Americans lashing out unprovoked at the Islamic world. Sure, that’s it. And Obama is abetting this impression.
Meanwhile, in her post Pamela has a great deal more about the U.S. – Islamic World Forum, which was held in Qatar in February. There, Muslim leaders mapped out a series of recommendations for the US that Obama seems to be following scrupulously. A sampling:
The next American president should travel to the region early in his
or her term, meeting not only with leaders, but also visiting mosques
and engaging in dialogue with ordinary people. And he should
pledge to adopt a new policy of listening to the concerns of the
Muslim world. For this purpose, the next American president should
appoint a special high-level U.S. envoy to the region as a whole….
It is revealing, and damning, reading. Be sure to read it all.