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Lieberman Warns of Global Religious War

The Associated Press, USA
Nov. 30, 2003 • Monday December 1, 2003

Iraq is the testing ground that will determine whether fanatical Muslims go to war against other religions, including moderate Islam, Democratic presidential candidate Joe Lieberman said Sunday.

“There is no substitute for victory here. We must pull together across party lines, here in the United States, and we have to pull together with the rest of the world in a way that President Bush has not been able to accomplish yet,” Lieberman said.

Lieberman, considered the most centrist of the nine Democratic candidates, was an early and strong supporter of the invasion of Iraq, sponsoring the resolution that authorized it. He has accused Bush, however, of arrogance and unilateralism in failing to recruit stronger international backing.

The world must be convinced, the Connecticut senator said, “that victory in the conflict we’re in in Iraq now matters as much to them in the civilized world as it does to the United States of America.”

Appearing on “Fox News Sunday,” he said: “This is a battle to stop al-Qaida, Saddam Hussein and every other enemy of freedom and modernity from turning the beginning of the 21st century into what is truly unbelievable, which would be a global religious war.”

“We can’t let that happen, and this is where we’re going to stop it.”

Asked whether such a global religious war would be “Islam versus Christianity and Judaism combined,” Lieberman, an orthodox Jew, said, “Islam against – fanatical Islam against Christianity, Judaism, Hinduism, every other `ism,’ every other religion, including every part of Islam that doesn’t agree with these fanatics.”

“Iraq is the testing ground, and that’s why we’ve got to make sure that victory is assured.”

Over the years, he said, Saudi Arabia and some other Muslim countries have been afraid to contest the extremists, Lieberman said.

“This is a classic case: if you try to ride the back of this tiger, you’re going to get swallowed,” he said. Now, “I believe they’re getting it, because they’ve been attacked now, two or three times this year, in a devastating way.”

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