At a memorial ceremony for Israel's fallen soldiers at in Jerusalem, Israel's President Moshe Katsav (himself of Iranian origins) spoke to the Muslim religious and political leaders in attendance and asked them:
Are you really sanctifying the spilling of blood as a religious value, as a value with which you want to shape the future generation? Can it be that one of you will rise and say – this is not the way, not through the path of the spilling of blood? Could it be that we, the Jewish people, will be the only one who say that terror is not the path of Islam, that it stands in contradiction to the tenets of the Koran, and not one of you speaks up? It's best for those who send [the terrorists] and leaders is to admit that their path did not lead them anywhere but the abyss.
In another pointed question, Katsav asked, "Can we possibly say that this is not the way of Islam, when the imams are silent in the face of terror?" And in a nearly simultaneous interview with the Jerusalem Post, he made a similar point:
How absurd. I as a Jew come and say that Islam and the Koran oppose bloodshed and terrorism. They, in the name of Islam, say, "No, Islam does support acts of terror," like the one in the old bus station in Tel Aviv, against women, old people, young people, hurt in the name of religion. I am certain that there cannot be a religion that supports bloodshed. It cannot be that the Koran and Islam support this. But I don't hear Muslim religious leaders speaking out against this.
Comment: These are most daring statements for a politician. Will other Israeli and Western leaders follow suit? (May 2, 2006)
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