Over the week-end, George Bush released a concise statement to mark the anniversary of September 11th:
“On September 11, 2001, Americans awoke to evil on our shores. On this solemn day of remembrance, Laura and I hold the victims and their families in our thoughts and prayers. We recall the many acts of heroism on that day, and we honor those who work tirelessly to prevent another attack. May God bless our great country and those who defend her.”
While offering comfort and sympathy to the people that no doubt deserve a mention in any Sept. 11th commemorating statement, President Bush has regrettably avoided addressing the recent wave of anti-Muslim intolerance and bigotry that spread across the United States following the controversies over the ‘Ground Zero mosque’ and ‘Burn-a-Koran day’.
It would have been appropriate for George Bush to speak out for tolerance and freedom of religion, the way he and members of his administration did while in office. We still need our leaders, past and present, to speak out against ALL of the anti-Muslim rhetoric that is pervading our political discourse. Beyond the negative rhetoric, there are cases of actual violence targeting Muslims across the U.S., incidents that leave entire communities extremely vulnerable.
George Bush can still lend his voice to those who feel threatened and stand up for American values. The American Muslims are waiting for him to do so, as are the nine thousand of Human Rights First’s supporters who signed our open letter to Mr. Bush.
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