|Screen shot of President Obama speaking in Washington, DC on 11 September 2010: AP Video|
Reporting from Washington —
Observing the 9/11 anniversary at the Pentagon on Saturday, President Obama asked Americans to honor the tragedy's victims by renewing a "sense of common purpose" and refusing to let terrorists tear down the nation's ideals.
The highest honor that Americans can pay to those killed that day nine years ago is to do what adversaries fear most, Obama said.
"We define the character of our country," Obama said, "and we will not let the acts of some small band of murderers who slaughter the innocent and cower in caves distort who we are."
Obama spoke not far from a prayer room opened by the military weeks after the attack so that service members of all faiths could pray, read their holy books and join clergy — including an imam, once a week — for services.
As the furor continues over the possibility that an Islamic center and mosque will open blocks from ground zero in New York, Obama vowed to champion the rights of every American to worship as they choose, "as service members and civilians from many faiths do just steps from here, at the very spot where the terrorists struck this building."
The country is not at war with Islam, the president said.
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