Sure took him a very long time. What he should have done instinctive and credibly on Day 1; he instead is doing in a scripted way on Week 3 or 4... Not good enough George...not by a long shot.
Bush Denounces Anti-Islamic Remarks by U.S. Clerics
WASHINGTON (Reuters - 13 Nov) - President Bush, urged to denounce anti-Islamic remarks made by U.S. conservative Christian leaders, said on Wednesday such comments were at odds with the views of most Americans.
"Some of the comments that have been uttered about Islam do not reflect the sentiments of my government or the sentiments of most Americans," Bush told reporters as he began a meeting with U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan.
"Islam, as practiced by the vast majority of people, is a peaceful religion, a religion that respects others," Bush said.
Although Bush did not identify conservative Christian leaders as his target, a White House official said he was prompted by the anti-Islamic remarks of some of them. Muslim Americans have stepped up their calls for Bush to repudiate such remarks.
"Ours is a country based upon tolerance, Mr. Secretary General," Bush said. "And we respect the faith and we welcome people of all faiths in America. And we're not going to let the war on terror or terrorists cause us to change our values."
As he courts an estimated seven million U.S. Muslims, Bush's efforts to discourage a backlash over the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks are coming into conflict with increasing antipathy to Islam shown by among conservative Christians, a core of his support.
Leaders of the U.S. Christian right have angered Muslims with remarks denouncing Islam.
Rev. Jerry Falwell, a leading voice of the Christian right, in October described the prophet Mohammed as a "terrorist." The popular U.S. television evangelist and conservative commentator Pat Robertson said, "Adolf Hitler was bad, but what the Muslims want to do to the Jews is worse."
Although Bush has repeatedly urged tolerance for Muslim-Americans, American Muslim leaders have stepped up calls on him to directly repudiate remarks deemed as attacks on Islam.
Ibrahim Hooper of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, said he welcomed Bush's comment.
"It's encouraging to see that the president is finally addressing the issue of Islamophobia in America by addressing a specific attacks on Islam. This is a new stance, and it's one that we would encourage and support... Obviously, we'd like to hear him repudiate these people by name, but we appreciate that he's moving in that direction," he said.