[Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: William J. Clinton (1997, Book II)]
[December 29, 1997]
[Pages 1826-1827]
[From the U.S. Government Publishing Office www.gpo.gov]

Statement on Vandalism of the Islamic Star and Crescent Display on the 
December 29, 1997

    I strongly condemn the vandalism of the Islamic star and crescent 
displayed on the Ellipse in front of the White House. This year for the 
first time, an Islamic symbol was displayed along with the national 
Christmas tree and the menorah. The desecration of that symbol is the 
embodiment of intolerance that strikes at the heart of what it means to 
be an American.
    It is especially hurtful that such an act would occur at a time when 
so many communities are

[[Page 1827]]

coming together to celebrate their respective religions. The holiday 
season holds special meaning for us in America, where freedom of 
religion is one of the cornerstones of our democracy.
    This administration will continue to fight against such acts of 
desecration and hate crimes that tear at the fabric of community life in 
America. Desecration of a religious symbol motivated by prejudice and 
hatred hurts us all.