September 14, 2010

AND FOLKS WONDER THAT THE RIGHT HATED HIM?:

Bush was right: We're not at war with Islam (Julian E. Zelizer, 9/13/10, CNN)

Speaking at an emotionally charged moment, just six days after the attacks, Bush told the audience that it was vital for Americans to understand that the terrorists did not represent the Muslim tradition.

"Those who feel like they can intimidate our fellow citizens to take out their anger don't represent the best of America; they represent the worst of humankind, and they should be ashamed of that kind of behavior," Bush said.

The president reiterated his firm commitment to protecting the constitutional rights and honoring the important role of the Muslim community in the United States.

In no uncertain terms, Bush said: "The face of terror is not the true faith of Islam. That's not what Islam is all about. Islam is peace. These terrorists don't represent peace. They represent evil and war."

America, he said, "counts millions of Muslims amongst our citizens, and Muslims make an incredibly valuable contribution to our country. Muslims are doctors, lawyers, law professors, members of the military, entrepreneurs, shopkeepers, moms and dads."

Many Muslim leaders were impressed by the president's speech as well as by how most Americans were responding to the trauma.

"Americans have shown great maturity," Sayyid Syeed, the secretary general of the Islamic Society of North America, told the media. He reported the calls he was receiving expressing support for his community greatly outweighed the hate crimes.

Over the coming years, Bush stuck with the argument that he made on September 17. While Bush would come under criticism for many aspects of his war on terrorism -- including policies such as the use of interrogation tactics that critics called torture -- he continued to be very clear in his defense of Muslims.

The president returned to the Islamic Center on June 2007, reminding his audience of his earlier speech: "We gather, with friendship and respect, to reaffirm that pledge -- and to renew our determination to stand together in the pursuit of freedom and peace. We come to express our appreciation for a faith that has enriched civilization for centuries."

Bush's philosophy is now under fire.

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Posted by Orrin Judd at September 14, 2010 6:09 AM
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