At both a news conference today with Turkish President Abdullah Gul, and in a major address today to Turkey's Parliament, President Barack Obama spoke of US-Muslim relations. In his press conference in Ankara, according to CNN, Obama said:
In his speech to Parliament (full text from Hurriyet) Obama said:
I think that where there's the most promise of building stronger U.S.-Turkish relations is in the recognition that Turkey and the United States can build a model partnership in which a predominantly Christian nation, a predominantly Muslim nation -- a Western nation and a nation that straddles two continents ... that we can create a modern international community that is respectful, that is secure, that is prosperous, that there are not tensions -- inevitable tensions between cultures -- which I think is extraordinarily important....
[O]ne of the great strengths of the United States [is that it does not consider itself] a Christian nation or a Jewish nation or a Muslim nation. We consider ourselves a nation of citizens who are bound by ideals and a set of values. I think modern Turkey was founded with a similar set of principles.
I know that the trust that binds us has been strained, and I know that strain is shared in many places where the Muslim faith is practiced. Let me say this as clearly as I can: the United States is not at war with Islam and will never be. In fact, our partnership with the Muslim world is critical in rolling back a fringe ideology that people of all faiths reject.
But I also want to be clear that America’s relationship with the Muslim world cannot and will not be based on opposition to al Qaeda. Far from it. We seek broad engagement based upon mutual interests and mutual respect. We will listen carefully, bridge misunderstanding, and seek common ground. We will be respectful, even when we do not agree. And we will convey our deep appreciation for the Islamic faith, which has done so much over so many centuries to shape the world for the better – including my own country. The United States has been enriched by Muslim Americans. Many other Americans have Muslims in their family, or have lived in a Muslim-majority country – I know, because I am one of them.