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Musharraf's mosque storming act impresses Bush
July 11, 2007 10:55 IST
United States President George W Bush has praised Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf's [Images] role in checking extremism after the country's army stormed the radical Lal Masjid in capital Islamabad, calling the general a 'strong ally' in the war against terror.
"Musharraf is a strong ally in the war against these extremists. I like him and I appreciate him," Bush said.
"This is hard for some Americans to understand. We are at the beginning stages of a major ideological struggle that will affect the security of the United States, and it is a struggle between moderation and extremists. It is a struggle between radicals who kill and rational people who want to live in peace," Bush added.
In an effort to reach out to Muslims, Bush said he favoured people-to-people contact between America and Muslim countries to dispel any misgivings and change the perception about the US.
He also urged people to reject radicalism, and not the 'great religion' of Islam.
"Step one is to make it clear that we reject radical and extremism and murderers, not reject a great religion. Step two is to encourage people like you to go to Pakistan," Bush said in Cleveland, Ohio when a Pakistani American asked the President what the US was doing in public diplomacy to change the anti-American attitude of many Muslims around the world.
"And I don't exaggerate to you, because the best diplomacy we have is when citizens travel overseas and/or people come here to America," he said, adding, "I cannot think of a better way to help change people's attitudes about America than have them come here and see for themselves.