US a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus - and non-believers: Obama (Lead)

January 21st, 2009 - 12:58 am ICT by IANS  

Washington, Jan 20 (IANS) Moments after becoming the first African American president, Barack Obama vowed to work with old friends and former foes drawing on the strength of the country’s “patchwork heritage” with its diverse faiths - Christians, Muslims, Jews and Hindus.”With old friends and former foes, we will work tirelessly to lessen the nuclear threat, and roll back the spectre of a warming planet,” he said in his inaugural address after being sworn in shortly past noon.

“We will not apologise for our way of life, nor will we waver in its defence, and for those who seek to advance their aims by inducing terror and slaughtering innocents, we say to you now that our spirit is stronger and cannot be broken; you cannot outlast us, and we will defeat you,” he said.

“For we know that our patchwork heritage is a strength, not a weakness. We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus - and non-believers,” said Obama.

“We are shaped by every language and culture, drawn from every end of this Earth; and because we have tasted the bitter swill of civil war and segregation, and emerged from that dark chapter stronger and more united,” he said.

Obama said the US “cannot help but believe that the old hatreds shall someday pass; that the lines of tribe shall soon dissolve; that as the world grows smaller, our common humanity shall reveal itself; and that America must play its role in ushering in a new era of peace”.

“To the Muslim world, we seek a new way forward, based on mutual interest and mutual respect,” he said offering an olive branch.

“To those leaders around the globe who seek to sow conflict, or blame their society’s ills on the West - know that your people will judge you on what you can build, not what you destroy.

“To those who cling to power through corruption and deceit and the silencing of dissent, know that you are on the wrong side of history; but that we will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist,” he said.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Posted in World |