President Bush met with ambassadors from Muslim nations Monday evening to host a dinner breaking the day's fast during the holy month of Ramadan. Mr. Bush says terrorism has no home in any religion.
The President said America respects people of all faiths and seeks peace with people of all faiths. In hosting this Iftaar dinner breaking the Ramadan fast, Mr. Bush said all the world benefits from the Islamic culture and its accomplishments in learning, literature, and science. "Ramadan," he said, "is a time of fasting and prayer for the Muslim faithful, so tonight we are reminded of God's greatness and his commandments to live in peace and to help neighbors in need."
President Bush says U.S. troops are fighting in Afghanistan to bring peace to the country by ousting Taleban leaders who support the al-Qaida terrorist group of Osama bin Laden. At the same time, Mr. Bush says the United States is the leading supplier of humanitarian assistance to civilians displaced by the fighting. He said his administration is committed to helping reconstruct Afghanistan and supporting a stable government there that represents all the people.
The Bush administratiton has been criticized by some Muslim allies for continuing its fight in Afghanistan during Ramadan. Mr. Bush thanked ambassadors for their countries' support of the anti-terrorism campaign. He told them terrorists have no home in any faith. "Evil," he said, "has no holy days."
The President said Ramadan and the upcoming holiday season is a time for people of different faiths to learn more about each other. As they do, Mr. Bush said people learn that many commitments are broadly shared. "We share a commitment to family," he said, "to protect and love our children. We share a belief in God's justice and man's moral responsibility. And we share the same hope for a future of peace. We have much in common and much to learn from one and other. This evening we gather in the spirit of peace and cooperation."
The White House says it is the first time a U.S. President has hosted an Iftaar dinner breaking the Ramadan fast. Throughout this war against terrorism, Mr. Bush has emphasized that the campaign is not directed against Islam but is targeting only those responsible for terrorist attacks.