"Some of the comments that have been uttered about Islam do not reflect the sentiments of my government or the sentiments of most Americans. Islam, as practiced by the vast majority of people, is a peaceful religion, a religion that respects others," Bush said during a meeting with United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan. "Ours is a country based upon tolerance, Mr. Secretary General, and we respect the faith, and we welcome people of all faiths in America. And we're not going to let the war on terror or terrorists cause us to change our values."
Bush did not name those who made the comments he disagreed with, but administration officials told news outlets that he was talking about Robertson and Jerry Falwell.
"He wanted a clear statement," one unnamed senior White House official told Reuters.
Previous statements from Bush have said that Islam is a religion of peace, but he has been reluctant to criticize those who disagree with that statement. He has also usually made his statements about Islam in response to reporters' questions. This time, he took the initiative.
The president's remarks come two days after Robertson told his 700 Club television audience, "Somehow I wish the Jews in America would wake up, open their eyes, and read what is being said about them. This is worse than the Nazis. Adolf Hitler was bad, but what the Muslims want to do to the Jews is worse." (Click here for video; Robertson's remarks are ten minutes into the broadcast.)
Robertson's remarks were quickly denounced by the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) ...1
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