News

    Muslim Nations React to Obama Inaugural Speech

    Multimedia

    Many Muslim nations are welcoming Barack Obama as the new president of the United States - yet there are also expressions of caution over whether much will really change in U.S. relations with the Muslim world.  

    Mr. Obama made a special point of addressing Muslims around the world in his inaugural speech Tuesday and reaction has been coming in.

    In his inaugural address Tuesday President Obama offered a new relationship with the Muslim world.

    "To the Muslim world, we seek a new way forward, based on mutual interest and mutual respect. To those leaders around the globe who seek to sow conflict, or blame their society's ills on the West - know that your people will judge you on what you can build, not what you destroy," President Obama said.

    With some exceptions on the fringes, most Muslims appear to have welcomed the new tone from President Obama.

    Ayman Daraghmeh, a Hamas official in the Palestinian Legislative Council,is optimistic. 

    "I could expect something better because he said that he will deal with the Muslim world, the Islamic world in a new way, Daraghmeh said."

    In Iraq, the government expressed its hope to have the U.S. withdraw its troops even before the end of 2011 - the departure date agreed to by former President Bush.

    "Iraqis were worried from the premature withdrawal of the troops, but with the vision which has been clarified from the new administration, as well as the improvement in the security situation in Iraq, the Iraqi government is willing," said Ali al-Dabbagh, an Iraqi government spokesman.

    In Afghanistan, former Taliban official Mullah Abdul Salam Zaeef denounced Mr. Obama's plan to send more U.S. troops to Afghanistan.  Others in the country argue the presence of foreign troops in Afghanistan will bring more insecurity.  

    But some members of parliament are more optimistic about the intentions of the new American president.  

    "Last night, Obama's speech was very crystal clear," said Shukria Barakzai, a member of the Afghan  parliament. He says that mutual understanding, mutual respect, this is what Muslims want.

    Following President Obama's inauguration, there were also mixed feelings in Tehran.

    The Iranian government says it is waiting to see what practical steps President Obama will take toward Tehran - which has been at odds with the United States over its nuclear program.  

    But a Tehran resident was optimistic.

    "I think it is the best opportunity for Iran to improve its relations with the U.S. because this absence of ties with America has imposed a pressure on us from all countries, and this way we can reduce the pressure," the man said.

    In Indian Kashmir, some expect a different U.S. policy because there were reports Mr. Obama may appoint a special envoy to resolve the Kashmir dispute between India and Pakistan.

    "The foreign policy of the United States would be the same as earlier but would be a little different since they have come with a different agenda and a different background," says Khursheed-Ul-Islam, a political expert.

    In Kenya, at the school named after President Obama, the sentiments were personal.

    "Obama became something and we believe that he will inspire our students and that they will work hard," said Lamek Awinyo, who teaches at the school.  "And they will become something in the society."

    President Obama made history Tuesday as the first African-American president to be inaugurated.  He is riding a wave of hope in the United States and in the rest of the world as he prepares to set out a new course in U.S. relations with Muslim nations.

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensionsi
    X
    April 29, 2016 12:28 AM
    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensions

    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Master Mohammad Ayub runs a makeshift school in a public park in Islamabad. Thousands of poor children have benefited from his services over the years, but, as VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem reports, roughly 25 million school-age youths don't get an education in Pakistan.
    Video

    Video Florida’s Weeki Wachee ‘Mermaids’ Make a Splash

    Since 1947, ‘mermaids’ have fascinated tourists at central Florida’s Weeki Wachee Springs State Park with their fluid movements and synchronized ballet. Performing underwater has its challenges, including cold temperatures and a steady current, as VOA’s Lin Yang and Joseph Mok report.
    Video

    Video Somali, African Union Forces Face Resurgent Al-Shabab

    The Islamic State terror group claimed its first attack in Somalia earlier this week, though the claim has not been verified by forces on the ground. Meanwhile, al-Shabab militants have stepped up their attacks as Somalia prepares for elections later this year. Henry Ridgwell reports there are growing frustrations among Somalia’s Western backers over the country’s slow progress in forming its own armed forces to establish security after 25 years of chaos.
    Video

    Video Bangladesh Targeted Killings Spark Wave of Fear

    People in Bangladesh’s capital are expressing deep concern over the brutal attacks that have killed secular blogger, and most recently a gay rights activist and an employee of the U.S. embassy. Xulhaz Mannan, an embassy protocol officer and the editor of the country’s only gay and transgender magazine Roopban; and his friend Mehboob Rabbi Tanoy, a gay rights activist, were hacked to death by five attackers in Mannan’s Dhaka home earlier this month.
    Video

    Video Documentary Tells Tale of Chernobyl Returnees

    Ukraine this week is marking the 30th anniversary of the world's worst nuclear accident, at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. Soviet officials at first said little about the accident, but later evacuated a 2,600-square-kilometer "exclusion zone." Some people, though, came back. American directors Holly Morris and Anne Bogart created a documentary about this faithful and brave community. VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko reports from New York on "The Babushkas of Chernobyl." Carol Pearson narrates.
    Video

    Video Nigerians Feel Bite of Buhari Economic Policy

    Despite the global drop in the price of oil, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has refused to allow the country's currency to devalue, leading to a shortage of foreign exchange. Chris Stein reports from Lagos businessmen and consumers are feeling the impact as the country deals with a severe fuel shortage.
    Video

    Video  Return to the Wild

    There’s a growing trend in the United States to let old or underused golf courses revert back to nature. But as Erika Celeste reports from one parcel in Grafton, Ohio, converting 39 hectares of land back to green space is a lot more complicated than just not mowing the fairway.
    Video

    Video West Urges Unity in Libya as Migrant Numbers Soar

    The Italian government says a NATO-led mission aimed at stemming the flow of migrants from Libya to Europe could be up and running by July. There are concerns that the number of migrants could soar as the route through Greece and the Balkans remains blocked. Western powers say the political chaos in Libya is being exploited by people smugglers — and they are pressuring rival groups to come together under the new unity government. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Russia’s TV Rain Swims Against Tide in Sea of Kremlin Propaganda

    Russia’s media freedoms have been gradually eroded under President Vladimir Putin as his government has increased state ownership, influence, and restrictions on critical reporting. Television, where most Russians get their news, has been the main target and is now almost completely state controlled. But in the Russian capital, TV Rain stands out as an island in a sea of Kremlin propaganda.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora