- The Washington Times - Friday, September 2, 2005

ROSEMONT, Ill. (AP) — An American Muslim group yesterday said participants in its annual meeting will be asked to endorse a statement that calls terrorism “the epitome of injustice because it targets innocent people.”

The statement attempting to check the spread of extremism was released by the Islamic Society of North America, which also will send it to mosques across the country.

ISNA had invited President Bush to attend its annual gathering, saying his attendance could mark a powerful show of support for mainstream Islam to the world’s 1.2 billion Muslims. The administration representative is Bush confidante Karen P. Hughes, recently confirmed as undersecretary of state for public diplomacy.

At the press conference, Mrs. Hughes, whose tasks include improving the U.S. image in Muslim countries, said she came to listen and learn.

“As we seek to engage the wider Muslim world, I thought it was first of all very important to listen and try to understand and work with the voices of our own American Muslim community,” Mrs. Hughes said.

The three-day convention, which began yesterday, was expected to attract more than 30,000 Muslims. ISNA is an Indiana-based group that serves as an umbrella association representing Muslim groups and mosques in the United States and Canada.

The convention comes little more than a month after U.S. Muslim scholars issued a fatwa, or religious edict, condemning terrorism. But a summer of deadly terrorist attacks in London and Egypt has made mainstream Muslims fear a renewed sense of suspicion.

The convention was attended by a 19-member official delegation from Britain, where four suicide bombers killed 52 commuters on London’s transit system in July.

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