Arm in arm:

It was obvious long before an Iraqi journalist threw his shoes at President Bush that America has become perilously unpopular in the Muslim world. Barack Obama recognised the

need to rescue the country’s sinking reputation when he promised during the campaign to “travel to a major Islamic forum” in his first 100 days as president, to give a speech recasting America’s struggle against Al Qaeda and like-minded terrorists.

Where he gives that speech is less important than what he says, and the words, in turn, are less important than what he does. It will not be enough to remind the more than 1 billion Muslims in the world that he had a Muslim father from Kenya and a Muslim stepfather from Indonesia. Nor will it suffice to recite the usual litany about religious tolerance in America.

President Bush said the right things, cautioning Americans not to blame all Muslims for the crimes perpetrated by Osama bin Laden’s small terrorist cult. Obama needs to change the widespread perception that America is at war with Islam as a whole. He is well placed to understand the tensions that jihadist movements are causing within Muslim societies. He will have to show that, in the fight against nihilism hiding under the guise of Islamic purification, America and most Muslim populations are on the same side. — The Boston Globe