As President Obama noted, "change cannot happen overnight." But his speech Thursday at Cairo University helped improve perceptions of the United States among many Muslims, which is a good start. Obama offered a balanced, respectful assessment of the past and current challenges, including the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. And he called for a "a new beginning" based upon "mutual interest and mutual respect." Ayatollah Ali Khamenei of Iran proclaimed before the speech began that the people of the Muslim world "hate America from the bottom of their heart." But the reaction of much of the public who actually heard the speech was positive and offered hope that a new beginning might be possible.
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