European Union
President of the European Commission Romano Prodi
Address on His Visit to the Brussels Islamic Centre
Brussels, Belgium
September 27, 2001

Your Excellency Ambassador Alassaf,

Your Excellencies,

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 and poverty.

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.

Thank you