Sadat's widow: Freedom will triumph over terrorism

RENO, Nev. (AP) - On the eve of the 20th anniversary of her husband's assassination, Jehan Sadat said terrorism must not be allowed to thwart Mideast peace efforts.

Compromise and face-to-face diplomacy, not bullets and tanks, hold the key to long-term peace, the widow of Egyptian President Anwar Sadat told about 750 people at a University of Nevada, Reno banquet.

``I don't know what will change the hearts and minds of terrorists,'' she said Friday night. ``But a small minority should not be allowed to stop the (quest) for peace.''

Before beginning the speech, she asked for a moment of silence for the victims of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on the East Coast.

``My heart is breaking for I, too, have been the victim of such evil,'' she said. ``My God have mercy on the souls of these innocent people.

``Evil and hatred belong to no religion. Terrorists belong to no religion ... Terrorism will not triumph over freedom and liberty.''

One of two militant groups allied in the plot to kill Anwar Sadat on Oct. 6, 1981, is closely linked to Osama bin Laden, the main suspect in last month's terror attacks.

Sadat was condemned by radicals for standing in the way of establishing an Islamic state and for being the first Arab leader to sign a peace treaty with Israel in 1979.

Jehan Sadat urged world leaders to follow her husband's example by trying to listen and understand the concerns of others.

She noted the treaty followed her husband's visit to Jerusalem and face-to-face meetings between leaders of the two countries.

``How can the people of different countries get along if their leaders won't agree to talk face-to-face?'' she asked. ``Peace can only follow after sincere conversation ... and compromise.

``Anwar Sadat was such a force for change because he was willing to cast away ancient animosities. If the leaders of Palestine, Syria and Israel would follow his advice, the violence would end and the process of peace would begin.''

Mrs. Sadat, a professor at the University of Maryland, said she plans to continue her husband's mission for peace.

``My husband was the greatest teacher I've ever known,'' she said. ``He gave lessons on diplomacy and the value of making peace.

``You can't tackle the problems of illiteracy, poverty and disease until there's peace.''

Mrs. Sadat also continues to devote efforts to women's rights and the education of children.


Use the comment form below to begin a discussion about this content.

Sign in to comment