Lifting the veil on conflict, culture and politics
(Photo: A protest against U.S. President Barack Obama in Jakarta November 9, 2010/Dadang Tri)
President Barack Obama's pledge on Wednesday in Jakarta to strive for better relations with the Muslim world drew skepticism in Cairo, where last year he called for a new beginning in the Middle East after years of mistrust.
Seventeen months after Obama's Cairo University speech, al Qaeda is still threatening the West, peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians remain stalled over the issue of West Bank settlements and U.S. troops remain in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Many in the Middle East believe that Washington's tight alliance with Israel makes it impossible to end the suffering of the Palestinians, breeding cynicism among Arab Muslims toward U.S. intentions in the region.
"As soon as Obama took over, he said he would do this and that -- a lot of things. But he still hasn't met a single goal," said Saad Zaki Khalil, 56, who was selling cigarette lighters in central Cairo.
from Russell Boyce:
As the anniversary of the 9/11 attack coincided with Eid celebrations, Florida based Pastor Terry Jones announced that he would burn the Koran as a protest to plans to site a Muslim cultural centre near Ground Zero , stoking tensions in Asia. Add into the mix millions in Pakistan suffering from lack of water, food and shelter after floods, a parliament election in Afghanistan and a U. S. -led military campaign against the Taliban around Kandahar - photographers in the region had lots of raw material to work with.
Raheb's picture of relief and joy caught in the harsh light of a direct flash seems to explode in a release of tension as news spreads that Pastor Jones had cancelled his plans to burn the Koran. It has to be said that ironically earlier in the day in Pakistan US flags were burned in protest against the planned protest.
Below is a Reuters video roundup of the start of Ramadan in Turkey, Malaysia, Indonesia, China and Afghanistan: