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U.S. Must 'Reject Bigotry,' Bush Says in Address to American Muslims

By Linda D. Kozaryn
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Sept. 11, 2002 – Americans must understand that "the face of terror is not the true face of Islam. Islam is a faith that brings comfort to a billion people around the world," President Bush said Tuesday at the Afghan Embassy here.

On Sept. 11, the first anniversary of the terrorist attack on the United States, he said, Americans of all faiths will come together in a spirit of unity, remembrance and resolve.

"It's going to be a hard day for a lot of Americans, Bush said. "It's going to be a day of tears and a day of prayer, a day of national resolve. This also needs to be a day in which we confirm the values which make us unique and great."

The United States is at war against terrorism, not Islam, Bush stressed.

"As we mourn tomorrow, we must remember that our enemy is a radical network of terrorists, not a religion; that governments which support them are our enemies, not faithful Muslims who love their families, who yearn for a more peaceful and safe world for their children."

Americans of Muslim faith also grieve what happened in New York, Pennsylvania and at the Pentagon, he said. They also share his "profound belief that no American should be judged by appearance, by ethnic background or by religious faith."

Rejecting the evil done to America on Sept. 11 goes hand in hand with rejecting bigotry in America, Bush said. "Bigotry is not a part of our soul. It's not going to be part of our future," he said. "Sure, there may be some, but that's not the American way."

The United States treasures its friendship with Muslims and Arabs around the world, the president said. That friendship is being demonstrated in Afghanistan, he continued, where the United States helped rid the nation of the oppressive Taliban regime and has remained to help rebuild a nation and create a democracy.

"We are proud to continue to stand by them and to stand with them," Bush said.

The United States has committed more than $700 million in aid to Afghanistan for food, seeds, roads, bridges, and water and sanitation systems. "I was most proud of the fact that American children from all walks of life contributed to America's Fund for Afghan Children," Bush said.

The president called on all Americans to uphold the values of America and remember why so many have come to America.

"In our war against terror," he said, "we must never lose sight of the values that make our country so strong, the values of respect and tolerance, the value that we believe that everybody ought to worship the Almighty however they so choose."

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Related Sites:
President Bush Holds Roundtable with Arab- and Muslim-American Leaders, Embassy at Afghanistan, Washington, D.C., Sept. 10, 2002

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