Accessibility links

Breaking News

Friday - a Day of Prayer and Unity

The United States will hold a nationwide day of prayer and remembrance Friday in honor of those killed in Tuesday's terrorist attack. President Bush says all Americans should come together in the wake of the violence regardless of their religion.

The president and first lady will attend a memorial service at Washington's National Cathedral at Noon on Friday. White House officials say Mr. Bush will ask all Americans to spend their lunch hour in prayer for the country and those killed in the terrorist attacks.

Some Americans have responded by taking their anger out on Muslims in the United States. The windows of some mosques have been shot-up or smeared with graffiti. Some Muslim-Americans have received death threats and obscene phone calls. Muslim schools were closed in Detroit and Los Angeles with police stationed outside Islamic centers in Atlanta and Chicago.

Mr. Bush says he understands there is a quiet anger in America following the attacks, but that anger must not be turned against Arab-Americans. In a telephone call to the governor of New York and mayor of New York City, the president said America must stand united as one nation in the fight against terrorism.

"There are thousands of Arab-Americans who live in New York City who love their flag just as much as the three of us do, and we must be mindful that as we seek to win the war that we treat Arab-Americans and Muslims with the respect they deserve," said Mr. Bush. "I know that is your attitude as well. Certainly the attitude of this government, that we should not hold one who is a Muslim responsible for an act of terror."

Announcing Friday's day of prayer and remembrance, White House officials were careful to include Muslims in the appeal, saying people should go to their church, synagogue, or mosque to pray for the victims of the attack.

Connecticut Senator Joseph Lieberman says the President raised the issue of Anti-Islamic sentiment in a White House meeting Thursday. Senator Lieberman says everyone in Congress is determined that these terrorist attacks will not divide the country. "We cannot let this terrorist attack against America divide us from those millions of our fellow American citizens who are Arab or Muslim" he added. "We are together. The few who are responsible for the atrocities that occurred on Tuesday will be punished and so will all who supported them. But Americans are united as never before, and that includes our fellow Arab-American and Muslim-American citizens."

The president is expected to continue his call for religious tolerance in his prayer session Friday. He then leaves for New York to visit the wreckage of the World Trade Center.