Today is the 20th anniversary of former president Bush’s visit to a mosque, just six days after the 9/11 attacks. His visit was an act of statesmanship and moral leadership. It should be remembered.
In the days immediately following the terrorist attacks, the president was concerned about reports of bias against Muslims, including harassment. He wanted it stopped. Bush did not mince words:
Women who cover their heads in this country must feel comfortable going outside their homes. Moms who wear cover must be not intimidated in America. That’s not the America I know. That’s not the America I value.
I’ve been told that some fear to leave; some don’t want to go shopping for their families; some don’t want to go about their ordinary daily routines because, by wearing cover, they’re afraid they’ll be intimidated. That should not and that will not stand in America.
Those who feel like they can intimidate our fellow citizens to take out their anger don’t represent the best of America, they represent the worst of humankind, and they should be ashamed of that kind of behavior.
You could see a hint of sadness on Bush’s face, and his resolve: “That should not and that will not stand in America.”