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Iraqis Coming Together

Despite the recent violence in Iraq following the bombing of the Golden Mosque of Samarra, a Shia holy site, President George W. Bush says Iraqis are making a choice:

"After the bombing, most Iraqis saw what the perpetuators of this attack were trying to do. The enemy had failed to stop the January 2005 elections. They failed to stop the constitutional referendum. They failed to stop the December elections, and now they're trying to stop the formation of a unity government. By their response. . . .Iraqis have shown the world they want a future of freedom and peace."

While the situation in Iraq "is still tense," says Mr. Bush, "we've also seen signs of a hopeful future":

"We saw the leadership of Sunni and Shia clerics who joined together to denounce the bombing and call for restraint. Ayatollah [Ali al-] Sistani issued a strong statement denouncing what he called 'sectarian sedition,' and he urged all Iraqis – in his words – 'not to be dragged into committing acts that would only please the enemies.' We saw the capability of the Iraqi security forces, who deployed to protect religious sites, enforce a curfew, and restore civil order. We saw the determination of many of Iraq's leaders, who rose to the moment, came together, and acted decisively to diffuse the crisis."

Sheik Ahmed Abdul Ghafour al-Samaraie heads the Sunni Endowment, a state agency responsible for maintaining Sunni mosques and shrines. Of the violence aimed at his community he says, "There are some hands trying to add fuel to the fire for their own benefit."

President Bush says, "Iraqis now have a chance to show the world that they have learned the lesson of Samarra: a country that divides into factions and dwells on old grievances risks sliding back into tyranny. The only path to a future of peace," Mr. Bush says, "is the path of unity."

The preceding was an editorial reflecting the views of the United States Government.