WASHINGTON –On Feb. 5, President Bush led prayers at the National Prayer Breakfast, attended by more than 4,000 people at the Washington Hilton Hotel. Bush prayed for peace as he stressed religious tolerance.
He also prayed for fallen American soldiers, troops still serving in Iraq and Afghanistan and for "the safety of our nation.”
Despite Bush’s pledged to finish fighting against the war on terror in Iraq and Afghanistan, he clarified that those efforts are not to denote hatred against the countries’ people.
"Americans are a prayerful people.... We pray for the people of Iraq and Afghanistan, that they may live in safety and freedom.
"America welcomes people of every faith," he said. "The Iraqi people are mostly Muslims and we respect the faith they practice," Bush said.
Bush even referred to Christians, Muslims, and Jews as “the sons and daughters of Abraham."
While praying for American soldiers in Iraq, a machine-gun sound erupted causing the president to pause for a moment before continuing without mentioning the sound. The sound was caused by a feedback from wireless microphones.
Gen. John Abizaid, chief of the U.S. Central Command, led the opening prayer. His prayer was consistent with Bush’s theme of peace through out the prayer breakfast. "As-Salaam-Alaikum," Abizaid concluded, which is the Muslim salutation for "peace be with you."