Monday, April 19, 2004

After the terror attacks of 9/11, President Bush was quick to remind Americans and reassure Muslims that we were not at war with Islam. In fact, the President went out of his way to reassure Muslims that America was a friend of the Islamic religion. On numerous occasions in the months following 9/11, in front of largely Muslim audiences at places such as the Islamic Center of Washington, D.C., the Iftaar Dinner in the State Dining Room, and in the Diplomatic Reception Room in honor of Eid Al-Fitr, Bush spoke passionately, eloquently, and knowledgeably about Islam, calling it a “religion of peace” and saying that “all the world continues to benefit from this faith (Islam) and its achievements.” In early November of 2001, for what is thought to be the first time ever, 50 Muslim ambassadors knelt and touched the floor with their foreheads in a formal ceremony at the White House to mark the beginning of Ramadan. More than a year later, Bush was still at it. During remarks on U.S. Humanitarian Aid to Afghanistan in October 2002, Bush called Islam “a faith that brings comfort to people. It inspires them to lead lives based on honesty, and justice, and compassion.”

Meanwhile, Christian conservative leaders, so-called neo-conservatives, and hawkish political commentators began voicing a very different opinion about Islam:

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