President Obama chose an interview with the BBC's Justin Webb to begin his outreach to the Muslim world:
Webb, the BBC's departing North America Editor, is positive about the interview on his blog, except in one important respect:
"I asked him straight whether Hosni Mubarak (the Egyptian leader for 28 years!) was an autocrat. Mr Obama told me he was a force for stability and good."
In Saudia Arabia he paid tribute to the country's leader King Abdullah as "wise and gracious." He continued:
"I thought it was very important to come to the place where Islam began and to seek his majesty's counsel and to discuss with him many of the issues that we confront here in the Middle East."
David Frum hopes the President uses his speech to address the need for greater freedom within the Muslim world:
"The Pakistani scholar who wants to be free to study the origins of the Koran without fear of violence if he reaches an unorthodox conclusion – isn’t he part of the Muslim world too? The Saudi woman who would like to wear jeans in public? The Iranian youth who would like to convert to the Bahai faith? The Senegalese merchant who prefers the movies to the mosque? The French student who celebrates Ramadan with his parents and Christmas with his girlfriend? Or his boyfriend? Will the President talk to them? If not – it would be better to stay home."