- The Washington Times - Friday, March 7, 2003

TOLEDO, Ohio, March 7 (UPI) — Rep. Nancy Kaptur, D-Ohio, has stirred the ire of Republicans by comparing reputed terrorist mastermind Osama bin Laden to the American revolutionaries.

In a recent interview with the Toledo Blade, Kaptur said: "One could say that Osama bin Laden and these non-nation-state fighters with religious purpose are very similar to those kind of atypical revolutionaries that helped to cast off the British crown."

Kaptur also told the Blade that even if the United States succeeds in ousting Iraqi President Saddam Hussein, the problems leading to social and political upheaval in the Islamic world would remain.

"Even if we take the ground, we do not share the culture and in the end we have to learn to co-exist in a world with religious states that we may not agree with and find ways to cooperate," she said.

Kaptur issued a statement Thursday attempting to clarify her remarks, repudiating the use of terror.

"My comments were intended to point out that what faces us is a rising revolution being felt across repressive regimes of the Arab and Islamic world," the statement said. "The American people understand the power of revolution. It is in that context that I referred to the American Revolution."

Kaptur's remarks, however, sparked condemnation from Republicans.

"Osama bin Laden is the face of pure evil. To compare his terrorist network to our Founding Fathers and to suggest that the heinous acts he committed were patriotic dishonors the Sept. 11 (2001) victims and their families," said Rep. Deborah Pryce, R-Ohio, the fourth-ranking Republican in the House.

Ohio GOP Chairman Robert T. Bennett said Kaptur's "big mouth kicked in before her brain had a chance to catch up."

"To suggest any similarity between the great leaders who fought for our nation's independence and this insane madman is nothing less than repugnant and an absolute disgrace to the halls of Congress she walks everyday," Bennett said.

Kaptur said "food and education" are a better response to the situation in the Islamic world than war.

"I think that people of faith understand that for many of the terrorists, their actions are acts of sacred piety to the point of losing their lives," Kaptur said. "And I think that people of faith understand that there is a heavy religious overtone to the opposition."

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