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CHOCO
Dec 6th, 2002, 08:15 AM
Bush Revisits Mosque to Praise Islam


By Dana Milbank
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, December 6, 2002; Page A23


President Bush pushed ahead yesterday with his administration's efforts to portray Islam in a favorable light, returning to the Islamic Center of Washington for a second visit to the mosque he toured in the days after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

Bush's speech at the Islamic Center, on Massachusetts Avenue near Rock Creek Park, was the 17th time since the terrorist attacks that the president has devoted a speech, or a passage of a major speech, to proclaiming the peaceful and humanitarian values of Islam. In doing so, Bush has defied the wishes of several religious and military conservatives who say he should regard the religion as hostile to the United States.

"Islam brings hope and comfort to more than a billion people worldwide," Bush said at the mosque, using wording similar to his earlier remarks on the religion. "Islam affirms God's justice and insists on man's moral responsibility. . . . Islam gave birth to a rich civilization of learning that has benefited mankind."

The White House has created a page on its Web site featuring the new postage stamp honoring the Muslim holiday of Eid and displaying a photograph of Treasury Secretary Paul H. O'Neill at an Iftaar dinner in Islamabad, Pakistan. The page also noted Iftaar dinners, which celebrate the Ramadan holiday, attended by national security adviser Condoleezza Rice, Secretary of State Colin L. Powell, Assistant Secretary of State William Burns and Bush himself. Last month, the White House issued a compilation of Bush quotations titled "In the President's Words: Respecting Islam."

The purpose of the regular references to Islam as a benign faith is to prevent discrimination against American Muslims and to demonstrate to Muslim countries, such as Pakistan and Indonesia, that the United States is hostile to Osama bin Laden's al Qaeda and Saddam Hussein's Iraqi government but not to Muslims generally.

"Millions of our fellow Americans practice the Muslim faith," Bush said at yesterday's celebration of Eid, the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. "They lead lives of honesty and justice and compassion."

Bush's efforts continued to rankle some conservatives. The conservative Free Congress Foundation yesterday released an article by one of its scholars, William S. Lind, mockingly comparing Bush's efforts to a celebration of the Japanese religion of Shinto after the Pearl Harbor attacks.

American Muslim groups have urged Bush to speak out more forcefully against conservatives who have maligned Islam as an enemy of the United States. Even these groups, however, have been surprised by the number of opportunities Bush has taken to deliver his "Islam is peace" message, as Ibrahim Hooper of the Council on American-Islamic Relations described it recently. "Even I get a little tired of that," Hooper said.


© 2002 The Washington Post Company

Scotso
Dec 6th, 2002, 08:28 AM
Well thank god he's doing something good.

Scotso
Dec 6th, 2002, 08:29 AM
Originally posted by CHOCO
In doing so, Bush has defied the wishes of several religious and military conservatives who say he should regard the religion as hostile to the United States.

There are some sadly pathetic people in this country.

CHOCO
Dec 6th, 2002, 01:48 PM
This is a good gesture on President Bush's part. He wants to demostrate that all muslims ARE NOT terrorists.

CHOCO
Dec 6th, 2002, 02:40 PM
Bush praises Islam for its 'morality'
By Bill Sammon
THE WASHINGTON TIMES


President Bush yesterday removed his shoes, entered a mosque and praised Islam for inspiring "countless individuals to lead lives of honesty, integrity, and morality." For the second time since the September 11 terrorist attacks, the president yesterday visited Washington's oldest mosque, the Islamic Center, where Muslims from 75 nations gather to worship. Mr. Bush marked the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan by praising Islam as a hopeful religion of mercy and tolerance.
"Islam affirms God's justice and insists on man's moral responsibility," said the president, flanked by a half-dozen imams. "Islam gave birth to a rich civilization of learning that has benefited mankind."
The overture to Muslims came four days after religious broadcaster Pat Robertson said Mr. Bush "ignores history" by not acknowledging that Islam is "violent at its core."
In an interview with The Washington Times last month, Mr. Robertson said he understood the president's political need for support from the Muslim world in the war on terrorism, but said the president should not speak about Islam as a religion and that he "is not elected as chief theologian."
The conservative commentator accused the president of succumbing to "political correctness" by praising the religion of terrorists who attacked America on September 11.
Mr. Robertson repeated that accusation on ABC's "This Week." The host, former Clinton aide George Stephanopoulos called the disagreement "a theological dispute which is driving a political wedge between President Bush and some of his conservative Christian allies."
That characterization was disputed yesterday by the White House.
"This may be an area where they disagree," a senior administration official said of Mr. Bush and his conservative Christian allies. "But there are areas of agreement."
The director of the Islamic Center, Abdullah Khouj, praised the president's visit and told him that it demonstrated "the value of human tolerance, a virtue taught by Islam and practiced here in America."
The president's visit came one day after a Pew Foundation poll found widespread anti-Americanism in some Muslim nations. With the United States preparing for war with Iraq, the administration is eager to mitigate rising tensions on the "Arab street."
White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer said Mr. Bush "acknowledged the United States has a job to do and we have to bring people together between the United States and the Muslim world."
To that end, Mr. Bush praised American Muslims for "upholding our nation's ideals of liberty and justice in a world at peace."
"Millions of our fellow Americans practice the Muslim faith," said Mr. Bush, a born-again Christian. "They lead lives of honesty and justice and compassion."
Mr. Robertson first criticized Mr. Bush in The Washington Times interview last month.
When Mr. Stephanopoulos reminded him of this quote, Mr. Robertson refused to back down from his assessment of the president's view of Islam.
"It ignores history," he said. "Any student of history knows that it's not a peaceful religion."
"It's violent at its core," he said. "There is absolute virulent hatred of Jews, and the idea that every Jew has got to be killed before the culmination of the age. That's what Islam teaches, and I think that's violent."
Other conservative religious figures have spoken out in recent months against Mr. Bush's frequent statements about the peaceful nature of Islam, including the Rev. Franklin Graham and the Rev. Jerry Falwell, the latter of whom called Islam's prophet Muhammad a "terrorist."
Deputy White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan disagreed.
"The president believes that America is a nation that welcomes people of all faiths — Christian, Jew, Muslim, Hindu, Sikh and many others," he told The Times. "He's made it very clear that the war on terrorism is not a war about religion. It's a war about good vs. evil."
Mr. Bush is not the only administration official making overtures to Muslims in recent weeks. Others who have participated in Ramadan events include National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice, Secretary of State Colin L. Powell, Commerce Secretary Donald L. Evans and Treasury Secretary Paul H. O'Neill.

CHOCO
Dec 6th, 2002, 05:17 PM
I take my hat off to President Bush.

CHOCO
Dec 6th, 2002, 07:17 PM
:)