President of the European Commission Romano Prodi
Address on His Visit to the Brussels Islamic Centre
September 27, 2001
Your Excellency Ambassador Alassaf,
Dr Aziz Al-Yahya,
Representatives of the Muslim community
Ladies and gentlemen:
I stand before you today on a sad day, a day still overshadowed by the pain
and suffering caused by the events of 11 September.
Last Friday, at the end of an extraordinary meeting, the European Council restated
its full solidarity with the American people in the face of terrorist attacks.
The European Union Member States will work together with the United States to
bring to justice the perpetrators, the instigators and the accomplices involved
in committing these barbaric acts.
I will shortly be leaving for Washington together with the President of the
European Council, Guy Verhofstadt. Together we will take President Bush the
message that he has the full solidarity of the Institutions and peoples of Europe.
Terrorism is an attack on our open, democratic, tolerant and multicultural societies.
Europe, together with the United States of America, wants to fight terrorism,
not Islam. We are well aware that Muslim countries have also paid a devastatingly
high price to terrorism in terms of human life. We will not fall in any way
or under any circumstances into a war of civilisations. That would strike at
the roots of our history and destroy our future.
Here in Brussels, just a few steps away from this magnificent mosque, in a city
which hosts churches and synagogues, temples and secular centres in peace, we
are building a Europe that is humane and open to all traditions and all religions
that respect these values.
These are the values that guide us on our course, now close to completion, towards
reunifying Europe and creating a larger area of security, stability, peace and
prosperity. And they are the same values that underlie our policies towards
the countries of the Mediterranean, the cradle of the three great monotheistic
religions and our civilisations.
The tragedy that we are living through and that affects America and all humanity
contains the conditions for even deeper political dialogue between Europe and
the Muslim countries in the common fight against terrorism. The defence of the
universal values of humanity against violence, discrimination and hatred is
our common duty, as is a close collaboration in the fight against injustice
We cannot give in to hate and confrontation.
May these atrocities never succeed in dividing us, in isolating us from each
other, or in thwarting the efforts of so many brave men and women to build bridges
between lives and civilisations that are different, but nonetheless an equal
source of fundamental values.