Indonesia and the United States share principles of unity and tolerance and both can benefit from strengthened ties that will bolster trade and combat terrorism, President Obama said in a highly anticipated speech Wednesday.
The address at the University of Indonesia was considered a highlight of Obama's two-day stop in the southeast Asian nation where he spent four years of his childhood.
As the nation with the largest Muslim population in the world, Indonesia was chosen as the site for Obama to further address U.S. relations with the Islamic world following his speech on the topic last year in Cairo, Egypt.
He referred specifically to the Cairo speech of June 2009, noting he called there "for a new beginning between the United States and Muslims around the world -- one that creates a path for us to move beyond our differences."
"I said then, and I will repeat now, that no single speech can eradicate years of mistrust," Obama said. At the same time, he promised that "no matter what setbacks may come, the United States is committed to human progress."
America "is not, and never will be, at war with Islam," Obama insisted. "Instead, all of us must defeat al Qaeda and its affiliates, who have no claim to be leaders of any religion -- certainly not a great world religion like Islam."