Bush, like virtually everyone else, continues to ignore political Islam and to pretend that by ignoring it, it will disappear. Things will not prove to be that easy.
“Bush to name envoy to Islamic Conference,” by Ben Feller for Associated Press:
WASHINGTON – President Bush announced Wednesday he will establish an envoy to a coalition of Muslim countries, with hopes of bolstering ties to the Islamic world and improving the image of the United States.
Bush’s special envoy, who has not yet been named, will be a liaison to The Organization of the Islamic Conference. The intergovernmental organization, representing more than 50 Islamic states, promotes Muslim solidarity in social and political affairs.
“Our special envoy will listen to and learn from representatives from Muslim states, and will share with them America’s views and values,” Bush said in a ceremony honoring the 50th anniversary of the Islamic Center, a mosque and cultural center in Washington.
“This is an opportunity for Americans to demonstrate to Muslim communities our interest in respectful dialogue and continued friendship,” Bush said.
His move marks the first time a U.S. president has made an appointment to the Islamic Conference. The naming of a U.S. envoy comes as the plodding war in Iraq has fanned anti-American sentiment across the Muslim world.
The smell of incense filled the mosque, originally dedicated by President Dwight D. Eisenhower.
Those attending the ceremony, including the president, took off their shoes as they entered. Bush listened as a verse from the Quran was read….
“This Muslim center sits quietly down the road from a synagogue, a Lutheran church, a Catholic parish, a Greek Orthodox chapel, a Buddhist temple “” each with faithful followers who practice their deeply held beliefs and live side by side in peace,” he said.
Bush singled out Iran and Syria and accused them of religious and political repression.
“Millions seek a path to the future where they can say what they think, travel where they wish and worship as they choose,” he said. “They plead in silence for their liberty and they hope someone, somewhere will answer.
“So today in this place of free worship, in a heart of a free nation, we say to those who yearn for freedom from Damascus to Tehran: you are not bound forever by your misery. Plead in silence no longer. The free world hears you. You’re not alone. America offers you its hand in friendship. We work for the day when we can welcome you into the family of free nations.”
ADDENDUM: To give you a sense of the implications of an American envoy to the OIC, Charles at LGF offers a trip down memory lane.