The Council on American-Islamic Relations, a leading Muslim civil rights organization, occupies one floor of a red-brick office building on Capitol Hill. Visitors must use an elevator pass code to reach the suite, the only one in a building of tenants that is secured against attack.

On the wall of its conference room hangs a framed front page of a newspaper showing a U.S. president, standing shoeless in a mosque and reaching out in dramatic fashion to Muslim Americans.

It’s not Barack Obama, who pledged early in his presidency to combat negative stereotypes of Islam “wherever they appear.”

The clipping depicts George W. Bush. Within a week of the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, Bush visited the Islamic Center of Washington to remind an angry and frightened nation that “the face of terror is not the true faith of Islam.”

“That was huge,” said Nihad Awad, CAIR’s executive director, who accompanied Bush on his visit. “His statement and his visit made a big impact at home and in the world.”

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