The United States will always remain a tolerant country and will never be at war with Islam, the U. S. president said at a memorial service at the Pentagon on the ninth anniversary of September 11 attacks .
"As Americans, we will not and never will be at war with Islam. It was not a religion that attacked us that September day. It was Al-Qaeda, a sorry band of men which perverts religion," Barack Obama said.
"For if there is a lesson to be drawn on this anniversary, it is this: we are one nation - one people - bound not only by grief, but by a set of common ideals. And that by giving back to our communities, by serving people in need, we reaffirm our ideals - in defiance of those who would do us grave harm," Obama continued on.
The ninth anniversary is overshadowed by a nationwide debate over plans for a mosque nearby and a Florida pastor's threat to burn copies of the Koran.
Terry Jones, a pastor from the Dove World Outreach Center in Gainesville, Florida, has called off his plans for an International Burn a Koran Day on the 9/11 anniversary, which have set off anti-American protests in Muslim countries around the world.
President Obama has defended the right of Muslims to build a mosque near Ground Zero.
Rallies both for and against the mosque will be held after the official ceremonies commemorating 2,975 people killed in the 9/11 attacks, New York City authorities said.
Four airliners were hijacked on September 11, 2001. Two planes crashed into the twin World Trade Center towers in Lower Manhattan. A short time later hijackers slammed another plane into the Pentagon while the fourth crashed in rural Pennsylvania.
WASHINGTON, September 11 (RIA Novosti)