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2. Granting First TV Interview to Arabic Language Network
One of the earliest surprises from the new administration was Obama's decision to grant his first television interview as president to al-Arabiya, an Arabic-language network based in Dubai. The gesture spoke to Obama's intentions to repair U.S. relations with the Muslim world, badly damaged by President Bush's invasion of Iraq and his broader war on terrorism. "My job to the Muslim world is to communicate that the Americans are not your enemy," Obama told al-Arabiya. "The same respect and partnership that America had with the Muslim world as recently as 20 or 30 years ago, there's no reason why we can't restore that. And that I think is going to be an important task." After battling false rumors on the campaign trail that he was a Muslim—both Obama's estranged father and Indonesian stepfather were Muslim—the president used the interview to acknowledge that "I have Muslim members of my family."