Jews and Muslims protest against Laura Bush

U.S. first lady &to=http:// ' target=_blank>Laura Bush said on Monday she was not surprised at protests by Jews and Muslims during her weekend visit to Jerusalem holy sites, but appealed to both groups to put aside their anger.

Bush said protesters' jostling and haranguing in the walled Old City on Sunday had not undermined her solo tour, aimed at countering regional anti-American sentiment. "These are very, very emotional places. They're sacred places to religions," Bush said in a CBS "Early Show" interview. She told CNN she had spoken to her husband President Bush about the incident, which she said was being exaggerated.

Bush began her Middle East trip on Friday acknowledging that the United States' image in the Muslim world had been badly damaged by a prisoner abuse scandal and a magazine report, since retracted, that U.S. interrogators had desecrated the &to=http:// ' target=_blank>Koran, informs Reuters.

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