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"Islam is Peace" Says President
September 17, 2001 5:14 PM   Subscribe

"Islam is Peace" Says President - the text of his remarks at the Islamic Center of Washington today. Frankly, speaking as a critic of the man, he rose to the occasion.
posted by dhartung (33 comments total)

 
I certainly didn't think he had it in him; I agreed with the thoughts voiced over the last week that Giuliani has shown far more leadership and human reaction to the tragedy. I've also noted that Bush has the common touch, and when he permits himself to exercise it, he can connect with people. Here he was connecting with people he obviously respects. I have no doubt that he's been talking with his Arab-American supporters (they tend to vote conservatively, and gave him crucial support during his campaign -- among others, Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham is an Arab-American), and the realization that he must build bridges to the Islamic world if he expects to avoid the perception of a 21st-century Crusade is clearly on his mind. (Perhaps his slip in using the word "crusade" yesterday even led to this meeting. But I'll hold my fire on that one. Here, the end result counts.)

Will his words reach the people they need to, though? There have been too many racist incidents already. And while I laud Chris Pirillo's poster explaining that Sikhs are not Arabs (let alone Osama bin Laden himself), it (unintentionally, to be sure) left open the question of whether US citizens who look just like bin Laden -- Arab Muslims -- are themselves undeserving of attack.
posted by dhartung at 5:28 PM on September 17, 2001


I haven't seen him doing this, but judging from the transcript, I'm glad he finally got a good speechwriter.

Um, until this part: "And may God bless us all." Wouldn't that be inappropriate given the setting?
posted by kirkaracha at 5:28 PM on September 17, 2001


Just for the record, what dhartung said. And I'm sure that Bush will have to take some flak for this from the "only route to salvation is Jesus" element, so kudos to him.
posted by holgate at 5:33 PM on September 17, 2001


actually, his best public remarks have been unscripted. In NYC at the cleanup site, for instance. I don't like him as pres. but he has risen to the occasion and performed admirably over the past few days, and seems to be coming into his own.

If he can do half as well forging a new foreign policy as he has speaking to the American people recently, we will be alright.
posted by mattpfeff at 5:33 PM on September 17, 2001


kirkaracha: The Christian God and Allah are the same being, n'est-ce pas?
posted by darukaru at 5:39 PM on September 17, 2001


Yes, but wouldn't giving Allah's blessings cause doubletakes in some churches? The speech is quite good and would have been just fine without the God bit at the end.
posted by kirkaracha at 5:44 PM on September 17, 2001


-- just remembered this piece in the NYTimes from Sunday (it was on p. 1). An analysis the crisis has altered the Bush presidency, it includes some good remarks on how his communication with the American people and the media has improved, particularly on page 3 of the Web version.

The article even talks about his initial use of the term "folks" to describe the terrorists (which of course was the topic of another MeFi thread, but one I can't seem to find now):

He seemed far steadier than he had early in the week. He told the cabinet what he had seen in New York, calling the scene "the signs of the first battle of war." On Tuesday morning, in his first public statement about the attacks, the president had called the suicide hijackers "folks." Today, he called them "barbarians."
posted by mattpfeff at 5:49 PM on September 17, 2001


Aww. Just when they count him out he does something good and inspiring. After the attacks the thing that most bothered me was the idea that people, maybe even friends would be harassed by uneducated Americans.

I like my big dorky President.
posted by perplexed at 5:51 PM on September 17, 2001


Not to be too great a Nay sayer but Bush reacing out to get a consensus for his plan. He called the war on terrorism a Crusade. The original crusades had as an objective the destruction of Islam!
And while it is nice to know he is reaching out, I note that Saudi Arabia, our ally, funds the Taliban, and the Taliban thus far protects Bin Laden. And we station troops in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait to protect them against Arab Moslem Iraq. Odd world we live in.
posted by Postroad at 5:53 PM on September 17, 2001


Hypnotherapy at work. "When I snap my fingers, you will no longer remember the word 'folks'. It will cease to exist for you..."

Seriously though: glad to hear the speech's been made.
posted by daver at 5:53 PM on September 17, 2001


Ok, so it's been made, but where has it been covered? I'm concerned that we're not seeing enough statements like this; we shouldn't have to look for them.
posted by mrbula at 6:23 PM on September 17, 2001


[Ok, so it's been made, but where has it been covered?]

I saw portions of it on Fox, MSNBC and CNN but they didn't spend a lot of time on it. Bush even took off his shoes as a gesture of respect. Fox seemed to (oddly enough) give it the most coverage, with CNN the least.
posted by revbrian at 6:51 PM on September 17, 2001


I talked to a Muslim student today in class who said the whole "72 virgin" mess was false, and not valid or out of the Quran.

It's nice to see a Christian leader show some love and respect like that. It means a lot to me, anyway. We get a bad rep... especially with this Falwell mess.
posted by aaronshaf at 6:54 PM on September 17, 2001


There's a lot of the extremists rhetoric that doesn't seem to be straight out of the Qu'ran...

Of course the same could be said for the Jerry and Pat show we have going on over here...
posted by fooljay at 7:21 PM on September 17, 2001


I too, someone who has often seen in Bush a gushing simpleton, felt maybe for the first time that I was seeing him express his nature directly and sincerely in an unequivocally good thought.

Re: God vs. Allah. IMHO muslims who insist on calling God "Allah" in English are interfering with their desire to be better understood. One of the most germane facts to this issue is that Arabic-speaking Jews and Christians also call their God (that same God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob) "Allah" in their native Arabic tongue. Of course I will respect anyone's religious preferences for naming God in whatever context, but to me insistence on Allah-this and Allah-that in English is a bit reminescent of those cranks who are so into reprinting the KJV with "Yahshua, ha-Mashiah" and "Elohim" put in for "Jesus Christ" and "God," etc. Note that vitriolic attackers of Islam will never use any name but Allah when speaking of muslims & their god.
posted by Zurishaddai at 7:37 PM on September 17, 2001


Who is the 'Jesus' person anyway? Some Greek guy?
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 7:40 PM on September 17, 2001


I haven't seen him doing this, but judging from the transcript, I'm glad he finally got a good speechwriter.

Uh...sarcasm, yes? This speech reads like it was written by an 8-year-old. But I'll admit the sentiments expressed in it are right on.
posted by mirla at 7:41 PM on September 17, 2001


I was also quite pleased and surprised to read this. Good post, dhartung. I think it's very important that he said what he did where he did, and I wish things like that would get more press. I suppose they don't because the major media have all made the assumption (correctly or not, I have no idea) that most Americans aren't interested in hearing words of peace directed at Middle Eastern peoples right now. I hope they're wrong about that.

Last Wednesday or Thursday I was listening to NPR, and they were taking listener calls. A fellow named Mohammed, from Brooklyn, I think, called in. His English was broken and his pronunciation stereotypical Middle Eastern. His main message was the same, that (I'm paraphrasing here) the maniacs who killed people on Tuesday had no inkling of what Islam is really about and their actions go against everything the Islamic faith stands for. The tone of the NPR commentator's voice in response (sorry, I don't remember which person it was) sounded to me like, "Yeah yeah, whatever." I began to wonder if anybody was really listening to this guy's message.
posted by Bixby23 at 7:41 PM on September 17, 2001


I did not see the speech but support what I think he said. Someone please tell me what the hell this means: Both Americans and Muslim friends and citizens, tax-paying citizens, and Muslims in nations were just appalled and could not believe what we saw on our TV screens. My eyes hurt from reading that.
posted by xowie at 7:56 PM on September 17, 2001


Damn you kids are hard on that guy. I just saw the speech on TV and immediately thought Did I just watch our Republican President go on TV, read from the Quran, and
stutter something to the effect of "listen ya'll, all this violence and
evil, well now, that just ain't what Islam is all about"?


I almost CRIED
that was so precious and perfect and....well goddamn ya'll it seemed
downright GENUINE. I don't think it was a speechwriter at all.

Is this unprecedented? (no pun intended) During previous World Wars, were our leaders going on record to decry domestic racism towards our foreign enemies?

And on that note, I think that his use of the word 'Crusade' is further evidence that he does a good bit of speaking 'off the cuff'. No speechwriter would have done that.
posted by glenwood at 8:23 PM on September 17, 2001


(Bixby, if that was Juan Williams on Talk of the Nation, no surprise -- he often steps on speakers and hustles to the next point. I don't think it's partisan, he does it to everyone.)

glenwood, one of the -- er -- double-edged swords of writing for Bush is that he's at his best off the cuff. You want to use that to its best effect, somehow, not stifle it, but ... it can lead to things a lot worse than subliminable in delicate times like these.
posted by dhartung at 8:31 PM on September 17, 2001


Just wanted to note that Salon is carrying AP coverage of the speech.
posted by arielmeadow at 8:41 PM on September 17, 2001


I've been on cloud 7 or 8 all day since seeing him up there, on that stage there, Muslims all around him, denouncing racism. It's bad! It's bad!

Really I was gladened. This is a big step for the republican party as a whole.
posted by crasspastor at 8:41 PM on September 17, 2001


i liked the "Dead or Alive" talk-hey, yesterday i talked about BIG SAMS POSSE and now the prezdent got himself a wanted poster. man, the 100 billion $ posse. All we need is walter brennan. Crass- remember when the GOP stood for fiscal conservitism and social progress? Hell we got the keynes printing press up and running and a (once) reviled president talking peace AND war. The buzz is wearing off.
posted by newnameintown at 9:12 PM on September 17, 2001


Wait, some people think Bush WASNT scripted in NY?
posted by Doug at 9:17 PM on September 17, 2001


Hooray for the fun house mirrors in the carnival of diminished expectation...
posted by Opus Dark at 9:28 PM on September 17, 2001


Wait, some people think Bush WASNT scripted in NY?

It wasn't. They didn't even plan to give him the bullhorn; one of the people helping to coordinate his visit to the WTC site just put it in his hand.

I hate it too, but I think you gotta give the guy credit.
posted by mattpfeff at 11:27 PM on September 17, 2001


Didn't he use the f word there again (folks that is =)?

Dammit, now I'll have to detract my anti-bush comments, maybe he isn't as slow as he appears.. Now lets hope people listen to him =) Bravo Bush.
posted by Mossy at 4:34 AM on September 18, 2001


*this* jesus person

Dammit.

From minimally-clever obscure reference to the fundamental 'secondhandness' of the new testament thanks to repeated translations to lame pointlessness in one swell foop.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 4:51 AM on September 18, 2001


The news coverage I saw this morning indicated that this speech was back pedaling motivated by the President's earlier faux pas in which he referred to a "crusade". The story indicated that use of the word "crusade" was not a diplomatically wise choice as that is a real hot button for the Arabs. (And we don't want to lose the Arab American vote either, do we?)
posted by baudboy at 6:46 AM on September 18, 2001


"Hooray for the fun house mirrors in the carnival of diminished expectation..." i am really, really impressed.(sarcasm) Tool said it best: "3 ring circus side show". Im checking out the nefarious b-b gun duck shoot, in the BIG SAMS POSSE From The Etheral County Fair, in High Hopes, USA.
posted by newnameintown at 9:55 AM on September 18, 2001


"Hooray for the fun house mirrors in the carnival of diminished expectation..." i am really, really impressed.(sarcasm) Tool said it best: "3 ring circus side show". Im checking out the nefarious b-b gun duck shoot, in the BIG SAMS POSSE From The Etheral County Fair, in High Hopes, USA.
posted by newnameintown at 9:56 AM on September 18, 2001


sorry folks, i guess i shouldnt have(damn spell checker)
posted by newnameintown at 9:57 AM on September 18, 2001


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