In it, but not of it. TPM DC

George Bush Stays Out Of 'Ground Zero Mosque' Fray

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As the AFP points out, it was Bush who spent years telling the nation Islam is a "religion of peace."

Six days after the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, Bush visited the Islamic Center in Northwest D.C. He stressed a message his administration would repeat as it began wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. "The face of terror is not the true faith of Islam," Bush said then. "That's not what Islam is all about. Islam is peace. These terrorists don't represent peace. They represent evil and war."

And as we reported earlier, Bush's State Department dispatched the imam behind the planned Islamic center on diplomatic missions.

But now, he's staying out of the fray. So are many of his top deputies. We tried to check in with other Bush-era aides who were tasked with Muslim outreach.

Assistants for Karen Hughes and Condoleezza Rice declined to comment. We've also requested interviews with several other prominent Bush administration aides, including Colin Powell and James Glassman.