For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
February 8, 2006
President Bush Welcomes King Abdullah of Jordan to the White House
The Oval Office
In Focus: Global Diplomacy
9:26 A.M. EST
PRESIDENT BUSH: Your Majesty, welcome back. I have had two good discussions with His Majesty. Last night His Majesty and the Crown Prince came to have dinner with Laura and me and some members of Congress, and we had a really good discussion. We had a little time by ourselves to talk strategically about the world and our deep desire for this world to be peaceful.
Of course we talked about Iraq, Iran, the Palestinian territories. I appreciate your vision and your desire to achieve a better world for the people in your neighborhood.
We also talked about a topic that requires a lot of discussion and a lot of sensitive thought, and that is the reaction to the cartoons. I first want to make it very clear to people around the world that ours is a nation that believes in tolerance and understanding. In America we welcome people of all faiths. One of the great attributes of our country is that you're free to worship however you choose in the United States of America.
Secondly, we believe in a free press. We also recognize that with freedom comes responsibilities. With freedom comes the responsibility to be thoughtful about others. Finally, I have made it clear to His Majesty and he made it clear to me that we reject violence as a way to express discontent with what may be printed in a free press. I call upon the governments around the world to stop the violence, to be respectful, to protect property, protect the lives of innocent diplomats who are serving their countries overseas.
And so, Your Majesty, thank you for coming. I'm proud to share the moment with you.
KING ABDULLAH: Thank you very much for your kind words. And I would just like to echo what the President said. We've had some very fruitful discussions, and we're appreciative of the vision and the desire that the President has for peace and stability in our part of the world. He has always strived to make life better for all of us in the Middle East, and I tremendously appreciate that role.
The issue of the cartoons, again, and with all respect to press freedoms, obviously, anything that vilifies the Prophet Mohammed -- upon him or attacks Muslim sensibilities, I believes needs to be condemned. At the same time, those that want to protest should do it thoughtfully, articulately, express their views peacefully. When we see protests -- when we see destruction, when we see violence, especially if it ends up taking the lives of innocent people, is completely unacceptable. Islam, like Christianity and Judaism, is a religion of peace, tolerance, moderation.
And we have to continue to ask ourselves, what type of world do we want for our children? I too often hear the word used as, tolerance. And tolerance is such an awful word. If we are going to strive to move forward in the future, the word that we should be talking about is acceptance. We need to accept our common humanity and our common values. And I hope that lessons can be learned from this dreadful issue, that we can move forward as humanity, and truly try to strive together, as friends and as neighbors, to bring a better world to all.
PRESIDENT BUSH: Thank you, Your Majesty. I appreciate it.
END 9:31 A.M. EST