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US will never wage war against Islam: Obama

September 12, 2011 08:57 IST

Ten years after the United States launched its war against terrorism, in particular against the Al Qaeda and the Taliban, President Barack Obama has said that America was not and never would be at war with Islam or any other religion.

"These past 10 years underscore the bonds between all Americans. We have not succumbed to suspicion and mistrust. After 9/11, President (George) Bush made clear what we reaffirm today: the United States will never wage war against Islam or any religion. Immigrants come here from all parts of the globe," Obama said.

"In the biggest cities and the smallest towns, in our schools and workplaces, you still see people of every conceivable race, religion and ethnicity -- all of them pledging allegiance to one flag; all of them reaching for the same American dream -- e pluribus unum, out of many, we are one," Obama said.

Obama said these 10 years have shown that Americans hold fast to their freedoms. "Yes, we are more vigilant against those who threaten us, and there are inconveniences that come with our common defence," he said.

"Debates -- about war and peace; about security and civil liberties -- have often been fierce. But it is precisely the rigour of these debates, and our ability to resolve them in a way that honors our values, that is a measure of our strength," Obama said in his speech at the Kennedy Centre in Washington, capping his day-long 9/11 memorial events that took him to the Ground Zero in New York, Shanksvile in Pennsylvania and the Pentagon.

"Meanwhile, our open markets still provide innovators with the chance to create, our citizens are still free to speak their minds, and our souls are still enriched in our churches and temples, our synagogues and mosques," the US President said, adding that these past 10 years tell a story of resilience.

"The Pentagon is repaired, and filled with patriots working in common purpose. Shanksville is the scene of friendships forged between residents of that town, and families who lost loved ones there.

"New York remains a vibrant capital of the arts and industry, fashion and commerce. Where the World Trade Centre once stood, the sun glistens off a new tower that reaches toward the sky.

"Our people still work in skyscrapers. Our stadiums are filled with fans, and our parks full of children playing ball. Our airports hum with travel, and our buses and subways take millions where they need to go.

"Families sit down to Sunday dinner, and students prepare for school. This land pulses with the optimism of those who set out for distant shores, and the courage of those who died for human freedom," Obama said.

Obama said when decades from now, Americans will visit the memorials to those who lost their lives on 9/11, they will run their fingers over the places where their names are carved into marble and stone, and wonder at the lives they led.

"Standing before the white headstones in Arlington, and in peaceful cemeteries and small-town squares in every corner of our country, they will pay respects to those lost in Afghanistan and Iraq. They will see the names of the fallen on bridges and statues; at gardens and schools," he said.

Lalit K Jha In Washington
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