Sept 11, 2013
Today is the 12th anniversary of the 9-11 attacks. The events of Sept. 11, 2001 have caused some to question whether our traditional church-state and free exercise doctrines are adequate to deal with violence carried out in the name of radical Islam. In considering that important issue, it is useful to look back at portions of the speech (full text) President George W. Bush delivered to the nation and a joint session of Congress nine days after the attacks. Here are his conclusions:
The terrorists practice a fringe form of Islamic extremism that has been rejected by Muslim scholars and the vast majority of Muslim clerics — a fringe movement that perverts the peaceful teachings of Islam. The terrorists’ directive commands them to kill Christians and Jews, to kill all Americans, and make no distinction among military and civilians, including women and children….
I also want to speak tonight directly to Muslims throughout the world. We respect your faith. It’s practiced freely by many millions of Americans, and by millions more in countries that America counts as friends. Its teachings are good and peaceful, and those who commit evil in the name of Allah blaspheme the name of Allah.
(Applause.) The terrorists are traitors to their own faith, trying, in effect, to hijack Islam itself. The enemy of America is not our many Muslim friends; it is not our many Arab friends. Our enemy is a radical network of terrorists, and every government that supports them. (Applause.)…
The course of this conflict is not known, yet its outcome is certain. Freedom and fear, justice and cruelty, have always been at war, and we know that God is not neutral between them. (Applause.)