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What is the War on Terrorism?
Nineteen terrorists hijacked four commercial airplanes on September 11, 2001 and crashed two of the planes into the twin towers of the World Trade Center in New York City, and one into the Pentagon in Washington, D.C. A fourth plane crashed in Pennsylvania. As a result, thousands of innocent individuals from more than 80 nations lost their lives.

The evening of Sept. 11, President Bush spoke to the American people from the Oval Office in a nationally televised address:

"The pictures of airplanes flying into buildings, fires burning, huge structures collapsing, have filled us with disbelief, terrible sadness, and a quiet, unyielding anger. These acts of mass murder were intended to frighten our nation into chaos and retreat. But they have failed; our country is strong.

"A great people has been moved to defend a great nation. Terrorist attacks can shake the foundations of our biggest buildings, but they cannot touch the foundation of America. These acts shattered steel, but they cannot dent the steel of American resolve.

"America was targeted for attack because we're the brightest beacon for freedom and opportunity in the world. And no one will keep that light from shining."

These terrorist attacks were an act of war against the United States.
In a meeting on September 12 with his National Security Team, President Bush said, "The deliberate and deadly attacks which were carried out yesterday against our country were more than acts of terror. They were acts of war. This will require our country to unite in steadfast determination and resolve. Freedom and democracy are under attack.

"The American people need to know that we're facing a different enemy than we have ever faced. This enemy hides in shadows, and has no regard for human life. This is an enemy who preys on innocent and unsuspecting people, then runs for cover. But it won't be able to run for cover forever. This is an enemy that tries to hide. But it won't be able to hide forever. This is an enemy that thinks its harbors are safe. But they won't be safe forever.

"This enemy attacked not just our people, but all freedom-loving people everywhere in the world. The United States of America will use all our resources to conquer this enemy. We will rally the world. We will be patient, we will be focused, and we will be steadfast in our determination. This battle will take time and resolve. But make no mistake about it: we will win."

Osama bin Laden and the al Qaeda network recruit and train in the tactics of terror.
On September 20, President Bush spoke to the members of Congress and the American people about the terrorists.

"This group and its leader — a person named Osama bin Laden — are linked to many other organizations in different countries, including the Egyptian Islamic Jihad and the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan. There are thousands of these terrorists in more than 60 countries. They are recruited from their own nations and neighborhoods and brought to camps in places like Afghanistan, where they are trained in the tactics of terror. They are sent back to their homes or sent to hide in countries around the world to plot evil and destruction.

"The leadership of al Qaeda has great influence in Afghanistan and supports the Taliban regime in controlling most of that country. In Afghanistan, we see al Qaeda's vision for the world.

"Afghanistan's people have been brutalized — many are starving and many have fled. Women are not allowed to attend school. You can be jailed for owning a television. Religion can be practiced only as their leaders dictate. A man can be jailed in Afghanistan if his beard is not long enough.

"The United States respects the people of Afghanistan — after all, we are currently its largest source of humanitarian aid — but we condemn the Taliban regime. It is not only repressing its own people, it is threatening people everywhere by sponsoring and sheltering and supplying terrorists. By aiding and abetting murder, the Taliban regime is committing murder."

The American Response to Terrorism
The American Response to Terrorism is being fought at home and abroad through multiple operations including: diplomatic, military, financial, investigative, homeland security and humanitarian actions.

On October 17, President Bush said, "Ours will be a broad campaign, fought on many fronts. It's a campaign that will be waged by day and by night, in the light and in the shadow, in battles you will see and battles you won't see. It's a campaign waged by soldiers and sailors, Marines and airmen; and also by FBI agents and law enforcement officials and diplomats and intelligence officers. It's a campaign that is being waged in distant lands, and a campaign being waged by our new Office of Homeland Security.

How Long Will the Effort Take?
There is no silver bullet, no single event or action that is going to suddenly make the threat of terrorism disappear. This broad-based and sustained effort will continue until terrorism is rooted out. The situation is similar to the Cold War, when continuous pressure from many nations caused communism to collapse from within. We will press the fight as long as it takes. We will prevail.

This is not a war against Islam or any other religion.
The acts of violence on September 11 resulted in the deaths of thousands of innocent people of many races and religions, including Islam. These terrorist acts violate the fundamental tenets of the Islamic faith. America counts millions of Muslims among its citizens, and Muslims make a valuable contribution to the United States as doctors, lawyers, law professors, members of the military, entrepreneurs, shopkeepers, moms and dads.

Islam promotes peace, understanding and justice — exactly the opposite of what the Taliban and the terrorists they harbor advocate.
On September 17, less than a week after the attacks, President Bush visited the Islamic Center of Washington, D.C. and said, "The English translation is not as eloquent as the original Arabic, but let me quote from the Koran, itself: In the long run, evil in the extreme will be the end of those who do evil. For that they rejected the signs of Allah and held them up to ridicule.

"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.

"When we think of Islam we think of a faith that brings comfort to a billion people around the world. Billions of people find comfort and solace and peace. And that's made brothers and sisters out of every race."

On Sept. 20, President Bush said in a speech to Congress and the American people, "The terrorists practice a fringe form of Islamic extremism that has been rejected by Muslim scholars and the vast majority of Muslim clerics -- a fringe movement that perverts the peaceful teachings of Islam. The terrorists' directive commands them to kill Christians and Jews, to kill all Americans, and make no distinction among military and civilians, including women and children.

American Muslims
Freedom of worship is an American value, and more than 2 million American Muslims are associated with more than 1,200 mosques in the United States. Nearly 90 percent of U.S. mosques have some Asian, African-American, and Arab members, and 70 percent of American Muslims "strongly agree" that they should participate in American institutions and the political process.

Friendship with Muslims and Nations with Muslim Populations
For many years, the United States has maintained friendly relationships with nations that include Muslim populations. The United States has forged strong partnerships with many Islamic countries for our mutual defense, has encouraged trade and cultural exchange, and has opened its universities to many thousands of Muslim students.

President Bush met with Muslim leaders on September 26 and said, "I want to assure my fellow Americans that when you pledge allegiance to the flag, with your hand on your heart, you pledge just as hard to the flag as I do; that the outpouring of support for our country has come from all corners of the country, including many members of the Muslim faith. And for that I am grateful."

President Bush announced a new initiative on October 25 called "Friendship Through Education," a consortium of groups expanding links between U.S. students and students in countries with Muslim populations.

Friendship Through Education will facilitate expanded student and teacher exchanges among countries throughout the globe. It will launch this effort with a commitment to expand links between US schools and those in Islamic countries, including Egypt, Indonesia, Qatar, Pakistan, Turkey, Bahrain and Afghan refugee camps.

President Bush said, "As you all know, our nation is at war right now. We're going to defend America and defend the values that we all hold dear. And our nation is united in the defense of our country. We are not at war with Muslims. We don't have a beef with Muslims. We want to be friends with Muslims and Muslim children."