To view this site, you need to have Flash Player 9.0.115 or later installed. Click here to get the latest Flash player.
(NECN: Alysha Palumbo, Cambridge, M.A.) - As President Obama began his all-important trip to the Middle East on Wednesday, a CNN poll indicates only one in five Americans has a favorable view of Muslim countries. It's one of the many hurdles in the president's way as he tries to repair and rebuild relations with the Muslim world. Shai Feldman, Crown Center for Middle East Studies Director Professor Shai Feldman, director of the Crown Center for Middle East Studies at Brandeis University said, "There's some I would say more than speculation that his message to the Arab world will be we're willing to establish different relations with you, but you also have a responsibility." As the son of a Kenyan Muslim, the president has a unique understanding of the divide between the Western and Islamic worlds. The president and founder of the Institute for Foreign Policy Analysis, Dr. Robert Pfaltzgraff said, "I think that what is essential is that we separate the Islamic extremists from the vast mass of the population of the world that is Islamic." And that has become even more important as what's believed to be an audio tape from Osama Bin Laden was released Wednesday, in which he says U.S. policy has generated - quote - "new seeds of hatred and revenge against America." "There is an extremist element that will not be placated by whatever the president does or the United States does, they are determined to destroy our civilization and all that we stand for," said Dr. Pfaltzgraff. But the most anticipated part of Obama's visit is his speech in Egypt on Thursday. "That's part of this threshold that now there's these great expectations with things that are concrete that people could feel and so people will really be paying a lot of attention to this speech," said Professor Feldman. Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney has been critical of Obama's trip to the Middle East, saying he needs to highlight America's strengths instead of apologizing for our mistakes. Professor Feldman agrees. He said, "I think that the paradox is that even some people in the region are now saying, okay, fine, we understood, you've already apologized, and now so what are you proposing, how do we move from here?" In the past few days, Obama has spent a great deal of focus on the Arab-Israeli conflict, and it's expected he will speak on that topic in Thursday's address. But the White House says he does not expect everything will change in one speech. NECN will have live coverage of the president's speech from Egypt tomorrow morning at 6:10 a.m.