'We Are Not Your Enemy,' Prez Tells Muslims

President pledges on Arab TV to rebuild ties to Muslim world
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 27, 2009 3:24 AM CST

(Newser) – Barack Obama reassured the Muslim world that "Americans are not your enemy" in his first formal TV interview as president, presented on an English-language Arabic news channel. The president pledged that he would "get engaged right away" on Middle Eastern issues and repeated his campaign promise to travel to a major Muslim nation, he told Dubai-based al-Arabiya TV in an interview at the White House yesterday.

"We cannot tell either the Israelis or the Palestinians what is best for them," Obama said, but he stressed that both sides must recognize that they are on the wrong path. "They are going to have to make some decisions," he added. The president noted the "nervous" tone of recent al-Qaeda messages attacking him. "What that tells me is that their ideas are bankrupt," he said.