Governor Gary Locke’s Remarks
Idris Mosque Visit
September 10, 2002

Good morning. I am honored to be invited into this place of worship. And I am humbled to be asked to speak in this “House of God.”

Last year we gathered here after one of the darkest days in American history. This mosque was the target of vandalism and violence. The surrounding community rallied together to protect and defend the rights of the Americans who worship here. Because a threat against one is a threat against all. So we were really protecting and defending the rights of all Americans.

I said at that time: “As a state, we must stand together.”

And we have. We have made our way through a difficult year—together. We have grieved and struggled, and we have searched for hope and healing—together.

We have stood up to violence, threats, and hatred—together. And we come together again today to reaffirm our commitment to peace, justice and tolerance.

In the past year, we found strength and hope in the rejection of intolerance. When a criminal few tried to lash out in anger and hatred against innocent Americans, we said “No. Not in America.” We refused to condone stereotyping, ignorance and violence. We also refused to repeat the sins of a past national emergency.

We stood up a year ago for our friends and neighbors. We still stand firm today, united and unwavering.

One year ago, our nation suffered a terrible tragedy. But it would be a greater tragedy still if we had allowed the hate and violence of the terrorists to insinuate itself into the very fabric of our society. We refused. We will always refuse.

We continue to work to keep our state and nation safe against terrorists. We have strengthened our defenses and sought new laws to make us all safer and more secure. We have also taken great care to preserve and protect the rights of all Americans.

We all want to live in a world without evil and without hatred. Until we do, we must never stop working for such a world. As we continue to condemn and combat evil and hatred, let us always remember that the strength of our nation comes from our diversity of people, cultures and religions. We must always celebrate and protect that diversity.

Thank you.

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