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IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Release No: 648-98
December 21, 1998

STATEMENT BY PENTAGON SPOKESMAN KENNETH H. BACON

"Department of Defense officials were distressed to learn of thoughtless graffiti mentioning the holy month of Ramadan written on a piece of U.S. ordnance during Operation Desert Fox. Religious intolerance is an anathema to Secretary of Defense William S. Cohen and to all Americans who cherish the right to worship freely.

"The United States deeply respects Islam. We are grateful for our good relations with Arab and Islamic peoples, and we appreciate the important contributions of Muslim-Americans to the U.S. military and to our nation as a whole. I know our people in uniform respect and appreciate religious practices different from their own. This incident is a rare exception that does not reflect American policy or values."

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