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Senator Calls For Tolerance

Senator Calls For ToleranceSpeaking at Tufts this afternoon, U.S. Sen. John Kerry asked Americans to show compassion and fight bigotry.

Medford/Somerville, Mass. [09.18.01] One week after the nation suffered one of the biggest tragedies in its history, U.S. Senator John Kerry asked Americans not to turn their anger on each other. In a speech at Tufts this afternoon, the Massachusetts Democrat called for tolerance and a focus on community amid reports of violence against Arab Americans across the U.S.

[Click Here For The Photo Gallery From Kerry's Speech]

"At a time like this, there are no hyphenated Americans -- no Irish-Americans... no Italian-Americans... no Israeli-Americans, " Kerry told a large audience at Tufts' Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy. "We are all Americans, united by a bill of rights and a notion of justice."

Spiritual and community leaders from the greater Boston Islamic community, as well as a large audience from within Tufts, were on hand for the Kerry's remarks. Boston's major print and broadcast media flocked to the Tufts event as well.

"The United States must respond to acts of terrorism as acts of war, but I am concerned that innocent students and citizens fear for their personal safety," Kerry said.

He wasn't alone in his call for caution in the coming weeks.

In an open letter to world leaders, students and faculty at Tufts' Fletcher School called for a break in the cycle of violence.

"To equate 'justice' with violence and indiscriminate retaliation during this time of intense emotion and deep sorrow risks perpetrating the cycle of violence throughout the world," they wrote. "Any action, military or otherwise, that could jeopardize the much-needed dialogue between the great world cultures must be avoided."

The coming weeks and months require great leadership, they wrote.

"Only world leaders capable of addressing deeper issues of identity and equity, who can propose constructive ways to mobilize the world community against those who would commit such atrocities, will lead an effective campaign against terrorism," the letter stated.

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