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Bush visits Mosque

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    Bush visits Mosque

    I think this is great. He has done greatest step toward peace for american muslim that anybody could do.

    Monday September 17 6:48 PM ET

    Bush Visits Mosque, Urges Respect for Muslims

    Arab-Americans Fear Safety (WKMG, Orlando)

    By Arshad Mohammed

    WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Bush (news - web sites) visited a mosque on Monday to urge that Muslim Americans be treated with respect after last week's attacks, saying, ``The face of terror is not the true faith of Islam.''

    Slipping off his shoes to respect Islamic custom, Bush sought to quell a surge of anti-Muslim incidents following Tuesday's attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon (news - web sites), which left more than 5,000 missing or dead.

    ``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,'' Bush said at the Islamic Center of Washington, a mosque in the U.S. capital.

    The visit was part of a broad government effort to crack down on what the FBI (news - web sites) said were dozens of ``retaliatory hate crimes'' aimed at Arab Americans, including assaults, threats, arson and two possibly ethnically motivated murders.

    FBI Director Robert Mueller said the government had opened 40 hate crime investigations in six days since the plane attacks ``Vigilante attacks and threats against Arab-Americans will not be tolerated,'' he said.

    Separately, the U.S. commission on Civil Rights ordered its national telephone complaint hotline to solicit and catalog complaints of discrimination from Muslims and Arabs and to hold forums on tolerance across the country.


    Standing with Muslim American leaders in the Washington Mosque, which has elaborate azure and turquoise tiles and stained glass windows, Bush said: ``In our anger and emotion our fellow Americans must treat each other with respect.''

    Saying there are millions of U.S. Muslims who make ``an incredibly valuable contribution to our country,'' Bush added, ''The face of terror is not the true faith of Islam.''

    U.S. officials have said Islamic militant Osama bin Laden (news - web sites), a Saudi Arabian-born multimillionaire believed to be based in Afghanistan (news - web sites) under the protection of the radical Islamic Taliban government, is their prime suspect in Tuesday's attacks.

    Police are investigating whether the killings of a Pakistani grocer in Texas and a Sikh gas station attendant in Arizona may have been hate crimes triggered by the attacks. Officials believe Sikhs, who wear turbans and beards, may be mistaken for bin Laden supporters and targeted for attack.



    The president said he had heard reports that some Muslim American women who veil themselves have been afraid to go out since the attacks, fearing they would suffer harassment.

    ``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,'' he said. ``That should not and that will not stand in America.''

    ``Women who cover their heads in this country must feel comfortable going outside their homes,'' he added.

    ``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,'' he said.

    Respecting Muslim custom, Bush, his White House aides and Secret Service agents removed their shoes before stepping on the elaborate carpets in the mosque, which sits in a leafy Washington neighborhood surrounded by embassies.

    At one point, the president quoted a translated verse from the Koran, saying, ``In the long run, evil in the extreme will be the end of those who do evil.''

    Yusuf Saleem of the Muslim American Society thanked Bush and said American Muslims were horrified by last week's attacks.

    ``We are also shocked and dismayed by the events, and dismayed especially that it should be associated with a religion that has only peace as its ultimate aim,'' Saleem said, adding, ``We are a part of the fabric of America.''