Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Obama Gives First Interview to Al-Arabiya

In what is being touted as a "significant" and "symbolic" move, President Obama has given his first TV interview to Al-Arabiya, a station with a large Arab and Muslim audience (Saudi-sponsored, previously criticized by Rumsfeld as "anti-American").

With his characteristic balance, Obama drew a distinction between terrorists and the Muslim world that the previous administration failed to do. He also advocated a diplomatic and, at the same time, "listening" approach.

Among his quotables,
"I think that you're making a very important point. And that is that the language we use matters," he said, according to a transcript provided by the White House. "We cannot paint with a broad brush a faith as a consequence of the violence that is done in that faith's name. I cannot respect terrorist organizations that would kill innocent civilians and we will hunt them down. But to the broader Muslim world what we are going to be offering is a hand of friendship."

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