For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
September 17, 2001
Remarks by the President
AT ISLAMIC CENTER OF WASHINGTON, D.C.
3:12 P.M. EDT
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you all
very much for your hospitality. We've just had a --
wide-ranging discussions on the matter at hand. Like the
good folks standing with me, the American people were appalled and
outraged at last Tuesday's attacks. And so were Muslims all
across the world. Both Americans and Muslim friends and
citizens, tax-paying citizens, and Muslims in nations were just
appalled and could not believe what we saw on our TV screens.
These acts of violence against innocents
violate the fundamental tenets of the Islamic faith. And
it's important for my fellow Americans to understand that.
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 -- out of every race.
America counts millions of Muslims amongst
our citizens, and Muslims make an incredibly valuable contribution to
our country. Muslims are doctors, lawyers, law professors,
members of the military, entrepreneurs, shopkeepers, moms and
dads. And they need to be treated with
respect. In our anger and emotion, our fellow Americans must
treat each other with respect.
Women who cover their heads in this
country must feel comfortable going outside their
homes. Moms who wear cover must be not intimidated in
America. That's not the America I know. That's
not the America I value.
I've been told that some fear to leave;
some don't want to go shopping for their families; some don't want to
go about their ordinary daily routines because, by wearing cover,
they're afraid they'll be intimidated. That should not and that will
not stand in America.
Those who feel like they can intimidate
our fellow citizens to take out their anger don't represent the best of
America, they represent the worst of humankind, and they should be
ashamed of that kind of behavior.
This is a great country. It's a
great country because we share the same values of respect and dignity
and human worth. And it is my honor to be meeting with
leaders who feel just the same way I do. They're outraged,
they're sad. They love America just as much as I do.
I want to thank you all for giving me a
chance to come by. And may God bless us all.
3:19 P.M. EDT