US will "never" be "at war with Islam": Obama

Washington, Sept 12 (ANI): At a ceremony at the Pentagon Memorial to mark the ninth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, US President Barack Obama has emphasised that America will "never be at war with Islam.

"As Americans, we will not and never will be at war with Islam.... It was not a religion that attacked us that September day. It was Al-Qaeda, a sorry band of men, which perverts religion," the Dawn quoted Obama as saying.

The president, who was at the Pentagon memorial service to commemorate the 184 people who were killed after a plane hijacked by extremists slammed into the Defense Department headquarters, added, "The perpetrators of this evil act didn't simply attack America; they attacked the very idea of America itself."

In the wake of controversy surrounding the radical Florida pastor's plans of publicly burning copies of the Koran to mark 9/11 and the debate over plans to build a mosque near Ground Zero, Obama urged his compatriots to be "tolerant."

The president said that extremists like Al-Qaeda "may wish to drive us apart but we will not give in to their hatred and prejudice."

However, rallies by rival groups, supporting and opposing the disputed project of building an Islamic cultural center and mosque two blocks away from the attacks site, were to take place nearby soon after the official ceremonies at Ground Zero, breaking an unwritten taboo on open politicization of the anniversary.

September 11, 2001 was a black day in the history of the USA, as Al-Qaeda terrorists hijacked four aeroplanes and carried out the suicide attacks that ultimately brought down the World Trade Center in New York, slammed into the Pentagon and crashed into a field in Pennsylvania. (ANI)

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