America’s fight not with Islam, says Obama
WASHINGTON: US President Barack Obama assured the Muslims on Tuesday that America’s war was with terrorists and not with Islam. On the 11th anniversary of the Sept 11 terrorist attacks, President Obama and rival Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney also reminded the world that in situations like this the Americans always rose above political considerations and fought together to defeat the enemy.
“I’ve always said that our fight is with Al Qaeda and its affiliates, not with Islam or any other religion,” said President Obama while addressing a remembrance service at the Pentagon.
“This country was built as a beacon of freedom and tolerance. That’s what’s made us strong, now and forever,” he said.
“On this most sombre day, those who would attack us should know that we are united as one in our determination to destroy them and to stand tall for peace and freedom at home and across the world,” said Mr Romney.
The remembrance began with a moment of silence at the White House at 8.46am when the first plane struck the World Trade Centre 11 years ago.
A few minutes later on an airport tarmac in Chicago, Mr Romney greeted first responders to the terrorist attacks.
Mr Obama arrived at the Pentagon at 9.37am when a plane hit the US defence complex on Sept 11, 2011. “Eleven times we have marked another Sept 11 come and gone. Eleven times we have paused with remembrance and reflection,” he noted.
At the memorial in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, where one of the hijacked planes crashed when passengers tried to seize the hijackers, Vice President Joe Biden prayed for healing.
“My personal prayer for all of you is that every succeeding year you’re able to sing more than you weep,” he told family members of those who died at this site.
Also on Tuesday, President Obama extended a national emergency, declared soon after the Sept 11, 2001, terrorist attacks which gives additional powers to government officials for dealing with those who commit, threaten to commit, or support terrorism.
The emergency order was first issued on Sept 23, 2001, by former president George W. Bush.
In a message sent to the US Congress on the 11th anniversary of the attacks, President Obama noted that his predecessor had taken this action to deal with the unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security, foreign policy, and economy of the United States.
Mr Obama noted that the continuing and immediate threat of further attacks against US nationals or the United States necessitated a national emergency.