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The election of Barack Obama, the US president, raised hopes that he would improve US relations with the Islamic world on the basis of mutual interest and mutual respect.
But the audacity of hope has recently been eclipsed by the reality of war and the politics of fear, polarising the US and confusing the rest of the world.
The tragic 1993 and 2001 attacks in New York seemed to reduce thinking about the Middle East to a simplistic clash between the US and Islam.
On the 9th anniversary of 9/11, the fault lines between Washington and the Muslim world seem to have expanded into America's heartland.
Ibrahim Hooper, Council of American-Islamic Relations
Prof Akbar Ahmed, American University, Washington DC, and the author of Journey Into America
Prof Karim H Karim, the author of Islamic Peril
Prof Melani Mcalister, George Washington University
Betty Buchhoz, Carter House Museum
Bob Garms, Elkader Mayor
And partisan discourse and media coverage have fanned the flames of extremist narratives in both the Muslim world and the US that end up reinforcing each other.
As America's internal cultural wars begin to affect its foreign policy, what are the options for President Obama?
Which is the real US: The one that fights for Muslims in Iraq and Afghanistan, or the one that considers US Muslims as the enemy within?
And have Osama bin Laden's hopes of driving a wedge between the US and the Muslim world become a reality? Has his "trauma doctrine" worked and could it eventually define the decades to come?