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Bush Issues Ramadan Message


President Bush has issued his annual Ramadan message - a message that is taking on added significance against the backdrop of the U.S. military mission against terrorist and Taleban targets in Afghanistan. The written statement was made public in Crawford, Texas where the President is spending a few days at his ranch.

The President's message begins in the traditional way - with warm greetings to Muslims throughout the United States and the world at the start of Ramadan.

But this is a wartime Ramadan message. And there is a reference in the one page statement to Afghanistan.

Mr. Bush does not refer directly to the military operation in Afghanistan which is going to continue during Ramadan, despite pleas for a pause from certain Muslim leaders.

Instead, he focuses on American efforts to get much needed humanitarian aid to the Afghan people. And he promises the United States will do all it can to help rebuild Afghanistan.

The President's message includes brief quotes from the Koran, and refers to Islam as a religion that values charity, mercy and peace.

Mr. Bush notes the Muslim population of the United States is growing rapidly, with millions of American believers. He says they are a diverse group that serves in every walk of life, including the U.S. armed forces.

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