The White House is contradicting a claims that it instructed the space agency NASA to be reaching out to the Muslim world.
The White House is now disavowing NASA administrator Charles Bolden's statement to Al Jazeera a month ago that President Obama told him to use NASA to make Muslims feel better about their culture and history.
"Before I became the NASA administrator, he charged me with three things," Bolden said. "One was he wanted me to help re-inspire children to want to get into science and math, he wanted me to expand our international relationships, and third, and perhaps foremost, he wanted me to find a way to reach out to the Muslim world and engage much more with dominantly Muslim nations to help them feel good about their historic contribution to science and math and engineering."
White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said that has never been Bolden's assignment.
"That was not his task, and that's not the task of NASA," Gibbs said.
But The White House had backed-up Bolden last week when his remarks first generated controversy. Bolden had even briefed key congressmen about the president's directive to him.
Some critics say that judging from past statements by the President, it sounds like something Obama would do.
Shortly after taking office Obama said, "My job is to communicate to the American people that the Muslim world is filled with extraordinary people who simply want to live their lives and see their children live better lives."
President Obama reached out to the Muslim world again in his famous speech in Cairo, Egypt.
"I came here to Cairo to seek a new beginning between the United States and Muslims around the world," Obama said.
Many Muslims would indeed like to feel better about their recent history. Although some credit Islam with some ancient inventions, the modern Muslim world has been criticized for stifling achievement and excellence in all fields.
With almost a quarter of the planet's population, Muslims have only three Nobel Prizes, excluding the Peace Prize which is considered political.
NASA's original charter was to explore space, and nothing more. Former NASA head Mike Griffins said that perhaps President Obama should go back and read it.