(CNN) – Winning the hearts and minds of a majority of people is a nearly impossible feat, especially when you're a politician.
And it's even harder when religion is involved, namely Islam, which some estimates put at 1 billion followers.
But President Obama looks to do just that Thursday as he delivers what the White House is billing as a major speech to the Muslim world in Cairo, Egypt.
Obama hopes to start "a new chapter of engagement" between the United States and the Muslim world, speechwriter Ben Rhodes said Wednesday.
This engagement would be based on mutual respect and mutual interest, and Obama plans to speak "openly and candidly" about issues that have caused "tensions in the Muslim world," Rhodes said. "This can't be just [about] what we're against, but what we're for."
Obama asked staff members to "cast a wide net" to gather a range of viewpoints, including those of Muslim-Americans, as he was preparing his Cairo comments, Rhodes disclosed.
But just as the White House lays out its vision, al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden purportedly issued another statement Wednesday, saying U.S. policy in Pakistan has generated "new seeds of hatred and revenge against America."