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8/29/04 - ENGAGING THE MUSLIM WORLD  - 2004-08-30

Terrorists who use religion to try to justify the taking of innocent life have no home in any faith. Terrorists who hide behind Islam or any other great faith tradition deserve no sympathy from those who genuinely respect religious values. As President George W. Bush says, “The face of terrorism is not the true face of Islam.”

U.S. National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice says the story of America’s relations with the Muslim world is a story of friendship and partnership:

“Turkey is a strong ally of the United States, and a full and proud member of the NATO alliance. America has built alliances with Muslim nations around the world, from Morocco to Indonesia. We have signed free-trade agreements with two Muslim nations, and we are working on two more. We are a major provider of development assistance in the Muslim world.”

Ms. Rice says that the story of America’s relations with the Muslim world is also one of help:

“American soldiers gave their lives trying to provide food in Somalia. America has gone to war five times since the end of the Cold War, and how many in the Muslim world know that each time it was to help Muslims? Americans have fought in Kuwait and in Bosnia and in Kosovo and in Afghanistan and Iraq. Without exception, these were wars of liberation and of freedom.”

Kuwait’s sovereignty was restored in 1991 after a U.S.-led coalition liberated it from Iraqi occupation. The U.S. and allies stopped the killing in Bosnia and ended anti-Muslim ethnic cleansing in Kosovo. Afghanistan has been freed of the repressive Taleban and Iraq from the tyranny of Saddam Hussein.

President Bush says that in the past, the U.S. excused the lack of freedom in the predominantly Muslim Middle East and accommodated Arab dictatorships. The goal, said Mr. Bush was “to purchase stability at the price of liberty.” That era is now over and the U.S. has launched an initiative to promote democracy throughout the Middle East.