Speaking before the Turkish Grand Parliament Obama sought rapprochement with the Muslim world. What he said and the way he said it was a welcome departure from the big power rant of his predecessor George W Bush. "Let me say this as clearly as I can," Obama said, "The United States is not and will never be at war with Islam." Again, "We will listen carefully, we will bridge misunderstandings, and we will seek common ground. We will be respectful, even when we do not agree." While the speech was generally hailed, it left many wondering if this really marked a change in substance or was merely a matter of a different style. Words alone would cut little ice with the Muslim world. What the people would wait for is the action that Obama takes to redress the age-old grievances. The US has a history of wrongdoings against the Muslim world soon after it assumed the status of a superpower in the wake of WW-II. These include support for unpopular military dictators, kings, sheikhs and arbitrary rulers in the Middle East and numerous Asian countries. Resentment further built up as a result of conspiracies hatched by CIA against popular nationalist leaders, some of whom were overthrown in bloody military coups. In Iran the democratic government of Dr Mosadegh was brought down in 1953 and the country made to revert to monarchy, which unleashed a reign of terror till it went down in a popular upheaval in 1979. In Indonesia Soekarno was removed in a similar military coup in 1965, conducted with the active assistance of the CIA. Conservative estimates tell of 300,00 to 500,000 people having been slaughtered by the army after it stepped in. The country remained under military rule for the next three decades. The four generals who ruled Pakistan with an iron hand for over thirty-two years had the full backing of the US as long as they were willing to act as tools. The US took no notice as the military rulers violated basic rights, conducted military operations against their own people or suppressed popular movements for the restoration of democracy. The resentment in the Muslim world increased manifold on account of Washington's consistent patronisation of Israel which committed brutalities on the Palestinians under the US patronage. Over decades Washington has continued to provide Israel with economic and military aid and has looked the other way as the Israel launched state terrorism on unarmed Palestinians using lethal weapons supplied by the US. There is also resentment against America's double standards vis--vis democracy and nuclear policy. Washington has continued to support Egypt despite gross violation of human rights by Hosni Mubarak while it continues to condemn Iran on the same score. Washington was willing to cooperate with the Shah when he made plans to initiate a nuclear programme but sought sanctions against Iran when it initiated the programme under a different regime maintaining that an oil rich country does not require nuclear power. The US has no objection to Israel's possession of nuclear weapons but is strongly opposed to Iran enriching uranium. Frustration with the US in the Muslim world climaxed over its Middle East policies. Washington encouraged Saddam Hussain to attack Iran because it did not like the latter's independent policies. When Saddam began to pose challenge to Israel's regional hegemony, the US subjected Iraq to crippling sanctions that caused untold sufferings to its civilian population. Then it invaded Iraq on totally trumped up charges, killing thousands of civilians, destroying the country's economy and weakening its unity. What Obama needs to do is to rectify the mistakes. The US has to withdraw support it presently extends to the undemocratic regimes in the Muslim world. It must respect the aspirations for democracy among the masses and avoid doing anything that could destabilise fledgling democracies in the Muslim dominated countries like conducting drone attacks in Pakistan. Instead of making demands from the oppressed Palestinians, Obama has to put pressure on Israel to dismantle its illegal settlements. It should also honestly help create an independent state of Palestine. The US has to resolve its differences with Iran peacefully without resorting to threats of sanctions and use of force. Last of all it has to spend as much on the rehabilitation and reconstruction of Iraq and Afghanistan as it has spent on their destruction. The devastating effects of a three trillion dollar war can be offset only by a construction and rehabilitation attempt involving expenditure of a similar magnitude. It remains to be seen if Obama is willing to go beyond lip service and takes practical steps to genuinely improve relations with the Muslim world.