President Urges Muslims to Denounce Violent Extremism
By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Oct. 6, 2005 The war on terror is focused on Islamic radicalism, not Islam, President Bush emphasized today as he called on Muslim leaders around the world to denounce what he called the terrorists' "murderous ideology."
Extremists who claim to murder under the banner of Islam "are not just enemies of America or enemies of Iraq," the president said during a major speech here before the National Endowment for Democracy. "They are the enemies of Islam and the enemies of humanity."
Many Muslim scholars already have publicly condemned terrorism, citing Chapter 5, Verse 32 of the Koran, Bush noted. That passage states that killing an innocent human being is like killing all humanity, just as saving the life of one person is like saving all humanity, the president explained.
Similarly, Bush noted that an imam in the United Arab Emirates said after the July 7 terror attacks in London that whoever carried the attacks out "is not a Muslim, nor a religious person."
Bush praised the United States' Muslim allies around the world who are defying Islamic extremism.
"Everywhere we have engaged in the fight against extremism, Muslim allies have stood up and joined the fight, becoming partners in a vital cause," he said. Among them are Afghan troops in combat against Taliban remnants and Iraqi soldiers sacrificing to defeat al Qaeda, he said.
Bush urged other Islamic leaders around the world to take a stand against extremism.
"The time has come for all responsible Islamic leaders to join in denouncing an ideology that exploits Islam for political ends and defiles a noble faith," he said.
The terrorists' ideology -- whether it's called "Islamic radicalism" or "militant jihadism" or "Islamofascism" or something else -- is very different from the religion of Islam, Bush said. "This form of radicalism exploits Islam to serve a violent, political vision," he said.
It's a vision of a totalitarian empire that "denies all political and religious freedom" and will use any means necessary to achieve it, including terrorism, subversion and insurgency, he said.
In following that vision, extremists "distort the idea of jihad into a call for terrorist murder against Christians and Jews and Hindus, and also against Muslims from other traditions, who they regard as heretics," Bush said.
And, as often as not, it's innocent Muslims who fall victim to these radicals, he added.
Bush noted the irony in Osama bin Laden declaring himself a leader for the Muslim masses. "Bin Laden said his own role is to tell Muslims, quote, 'what is good for them and what is not,'" the president said.
"And what this man, who grew up in wealth and privilege, considers good for poor Muslims is that they become killers and suicide bombers," Bush said. "He assures them that this is the road to paradise, though he never offers to go along for the ride."