Washington: Former US president George W
Bush, who worked hard for years to convince fellow Americans
that Islam is a "religion of peace," declined comment on Tuesday
about a controversial mosque-building project.
Bush, through spokesman David Sherzer, stayed out of the
political dispute over plans to build an Islamic community
center that would include a mosque near the site of the
September 11, 2001 terrorist strikes in New York.
Some of Bush`s fellow Republicans, including former vice
presidential hopeful Sarah Palin and other potential 2012
White House hopefuls have sharply assailed plans to build the
center two city blocks away from the site of the former World
Trade Center, an urban scar commonly called "Ground Zero"
The former president won generally good reviews for his
repeated public appeals to Americans not to blame all Muslims
for the terrorist strikes carried out by Osama bin Laden`s
Al-Qaeda terrorist network.
Bush visited the Islamic Center in Washington six days
after the attacks and declared: "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."
He also bluntly scolded any Americans who would take
their anger and anguish on US Muslims, warning: "That should
not and that will not stand in America."
"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 behaviour," he said.
Republicans have denounced the planned mosque
construction on grounds that building a Muslim place of
worship near the place where Islamist extremists attacked the
United States offends the memory of the victims of 9-11.