PRESIDENT Barack Hussain Obama's address to the Muslim world delivered from the podium of Cairo University on Thursday was refreshingly different, in thoughts, words and tone, from President Bush's often demeaning utterances. He reached out to Muslims, extending them a warm hand of cooperation and declared, "the US will never be at war with Islam". He maintained that Islam was part of America, acknowledged Muslims' contribution to the US society and underlined civilisation's debt to Islam. With the choice of expressions and references to the Quran and its golden principles that touched the right chord among the audience, his address was repeatedly interrupted with thunderous applause. But if he endorses the Quranic aphorism he quotes, that the murder of one innocent person is the murder of all mankind, he needs to explain the innocent civilians' deaths that the drone attacks were causing. Mr Obama rightly remarked, "no single speech" could remove the age-old cycle of suspicion between Muslims and the Western world. Rather, unless these sentiments were translated into comparable deeds, any number of speeches would turn out to be mere hot air. It is hoped that President Obama's Administration sincerely wages a war against negative stereotypes of Muslims that he decried, and the Muslim world responds in the same manner to serve as the starting point of tolerance and understanding he longed for. But to remove the wall of suspicion and latent hostility, the points of tension have to be addressed. According to Mr Obama, the tension has its roots in the following issues: violent extremism; Israel-Palestinian tangle; the fear of nuclear weapons; the need for tolerance; the urge for democracy; the rights of women; and economic development. He justified the attack on Afghanistan on the grounds of 9/11, but termed the invasion of Iraq as a war of choice, at the same time rightly acknowledging that military means were not the solution. It is good to hear him acknowledge Iran's right to peaceful nuclear technology, but one wonders how he intends converting to a world free of nuclear weapons when the US itself keeps making its own ever more sophisticated and deadlier. Mr Obama gave sound counsel to both Israelis and Palestinians and assured the latter of an independent homeland and a life of dignity, while stressing the indissoluble US-Israeli bonds. Although he recalled the historical suffering of Jews, he failed to give the logic behind uprooting the Palestinians from their centuries-old homes to give way to the Jews to have a state of their own. The Palestinians, whose daily humiliation at the hands of Israelis he bemoaned, had certainly no role in causing them the pain There is serious disconnect, as Mr Obama sees Palestinians resorting to violence but makes no mention of the terrorist acts, reminiscent of the Holocaust, the Israelis routinely commit.