George W. Bush needs to lecture his party about how peaceful Islam is

George W. Bush needs to lecture his party about how peaceful Islam is

Six days after the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, then-President George W. Bush gave brief remarks at the Islamic Center of Washington, just a short drive from the White House. “These acts of violence against innocents violate the fundamental tenets of the Islamic faith,” Bush said. “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.”

Bush couldn’t stop or defuse anti-Muslim prejudice. That was impossible, and just a few weeks after he spoke, a 51-year-old Yemeni-American man was shot to death outside of his store, two days after someone left a note—“We’re going to kill all f–king Arabs”—on his car windshield. But what Bush did, successfully, was keep anti-Islam and anti-Muslim rhetoric out of national politics. He made clear that the United States was fighting a war against terrorists—not Muslims—and reminded Americans that “the majority of the victims of the terrorists have been innocent Muslims.”

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