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Obama Urges Cooperation With Muslim World

In a sweeping speech in Cairo, President Obama called for stronger U.S.-Muslim alliances, urging each to put suspicions aside and unite to combat violent extremism.

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    President Obama issued an appeal today for reconciliation between America and the Muslim world. He delivered his message in Egypt. Ray Suarez has our lead story report.


    The president arrived in Egypt after setting the stage with a brief stop in Saudi Arabia, home to Islam's holiest sites.

    After a welcome from Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, Mr. Obama toured the 600-year-old Sultan Hassan Mosque. He removed his shoes in a sign of respect. And Secretary of State Clinton wore a headscarf.

    From there, it was on to the much-anticipated speech to 3,000 invited guests at Cairo University and the world's 1 billion Muslims. The president vowed to fight against negative stereotypes of Islam, and he urged Muslims to reject stereotypes of America as a self-interested empire.


    I've come here to Cairo to seek a new beginning between the United States and Muslims around the world, one based on mutual interest and mutual respect and one based upon the truth that America and Islam are not exclusive and need not be in competition. Instead, they overlap and share common principles, principles of justice and progress, tolerance and the dignity of all human beings.

    I do so recognizing that change cannot happen overnight. I know there's been a lot of publicity about this speech, but no single speech can eradicate years of mistrust, nor can I answer in the time that I have this afternoon all the complex questions that brought us to this point.

    But I am convinced that, in order to move forward, we must say openly to each other the things we hold in our hearts and that too often are said only behind closed doors.

    There must be a sustained effort to listen to each other, to learn from each other, to respect one another, and to seek common ground. As the holy Koran tells us, "Be conscious of God and speak always the truth."