WASHINGTON, Oct 5 (APP) — President George W. Bush said on Thursday that “violent extremists” attempting to stop the advance of freedom in Muslim societies around the world would not succeed in their mission.
“They (extremists) attack holy sites, destroy mosques and minarets, and kill innocent men, women and children—including Muslims who do not share their radical views. They believe that by spreading chaos and violence they can frustrate the desire of Muslims to live in freedom and peace,” he told a gathering at an Iftar diinner.
“We say to them, you don’t represent Muslims, you do not represent Islam—and you will not succeed,” the president said at the annual White House event.
Opening his remarks with “Ramadan Mubarak”, Bush said, “Tonight we celebrate traditions of Islamic faith, which brings hope and comfort to more than a billion people… It’s a time to celebrate Islam’s learned and vibrant culture, which has enriched civilization for centuries.”
He said the freedom of worship is central to the American character, and holds together the fabric of American society—supporting every individual’s right to practice his or her beliefs without fear.
“America is standing with mainstream citizens across the broader Middle East,” Bush said, citing efforts of the freedon loving Iraqis, Afghans and Lebanese.
The president said, “Americans have a history of standing with Muslims facing suffering and hardship— and it’s a proud history. Our country defended Muslims in Bosnia and Kosovo after the breakup of Yugoslavia.
“We supported Kuwait after it was invaded by Saddam Hussein. Americans came to the aid of victims of devastating earthquakes in Pakistan, India, and Iran. Americans responded with urgency and compassion to the wreckage of the tsunami in Indonesia and Sri Lanka and Thailand. We’re rallying the world to confront the genocide in Sudan, and deliver humanitarian aid for those in dire need. And we support the establishment of a Palestinian democracy to live side by side with Israel in peace.
“(L)et us renew our faith in the universality of freedom. Let us celebrate the millions of Muslims that we are proud to call American citizens. And let us honor the many Muslim nations that America is proud to call friends.”