Obama supports ground zero mosque

President Barack Obama (AFP)

After skirting the controversy for weeks, President Barack Obama is weighing in forcefully on the mosque near ground zero, saying a nation built on religious freedom must allow it.

“As a citizen, and as president, I believe that Muslims have the same right to practice their religion as everyone else in this country,” Obama told an intently listening crowd gathered at the White House Friday evening to observe the Islamic holy month of Ramadan.

“That includes the right to build a place of worship and a community center on private property in lower Manhattan, in accordance with local laws and ordinances,” he said. “This is America, and our commitment to religious freedom must be unshakable.”

The White House had not previously taken a stand on the mosque, which would be part of a $100 million Islamic community center two blocks from where nearly 3,000 people perished when hijacked jetliners slammed into the World Trade Center towers on Sept. 11, 2001. Press secretary Robert Gibbs had insisted it was a local matter.

It was already much more than that, sparking debate around the country as top Republicans including Sarah Palin and Newt Gingrich announced their opposition. So did the Anti-Defamation League, a Jewish civil rights group.

Obama elevated it to a presidential issue Friday without equivocation.

While insisting that the place where the twin towers once stood was indeed “hallowed ground,” Obama said that the proper way to honor it was to apply American values.

Harkening back to earlier times when the building of synagogues or Catholic churches also met with opposition, Obama said: “Time and again, the American people have demonstrated that we can work through these issues, and stay true to our core values and emerge stronger for it. So it must be and will be today.”

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, an independent who has been a strong supporter of the mosque, welcomed Obama’s words as a “clarion defense of the freedom of religion.”

But some victims’ advocates and Republicans were quick to pounce.

“Barack Obama has abandoned America at the place where America’s heart was broken nine years ago, and where her true values were on display for all to see,” said Debra Burlingame, a spokeswoman for some Sept. 11 victims’ families and the sister of one of the pilots killed in the attacks.

Building the mosque at ground zero, she said, “is a deliberately provocative act that will precipitate more bloodshed in the name of Allah.”

Added Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y.: “President Obama is wrong. It is insensitive and uncaring for the Muslim community to build a mosque in the shadow of ground zero.”

Entering the highly charged election-year debate, Obama surely knew that his words would not only make headlines in the U.S. but be heard by Muslims worldwide. The president has made it a point to reach out to the global Muslim community, and the over 100 guests at Friday’s dinner in the State Dining Room included ambassadors and officials from numerous nations where Islam is observed, including Saudi Arabia and Indonesia.

While his pronouncement concerning the mosque might find favor in the Muslim world, Obama’s stance runs counter to the opinions of the majority of Americans, according to polls. A CNN/Opinion Research poll released this week found that nearly 70 percent of Americans opposed the mosque plan while just 29 percent approved. A number of Democratic politicians have shied away from the controversy.

Opponents, including some Sept. 11 victims’ relatives, see the prospect of a mosque so near the destroyed trade center as an insult to the memory of those killed by Islamic terrorists in the 2001 attacks.

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Online:

Park51: http://www.park51.org/vision.htm

Cordoba Initiative: http://www.cordobainitiative.org

Copyright © 2010 The Associated Press

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17 Responses to "Obama supports ground zero mosque"

  1. Almandine  August 14, 2010 at 9:28 am

    Well of course he does… he’d finally be able to find a place to worship.

  2. Guardhouse lawyer  August 14, 2010 at 11:19 am

    Oh cut the crap. You know as well as everyone else with half a brain that Obama is a Christian, notwithstanding all the BS coming out of the foaming mouth right wingers. ON top of that, his oath of office requires him to preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution.

    “No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws. ” (U.S. Const. 14th Amend., Sec. 1.)

    To preclude Moslems from building a mosque which meets the state and local guidelines for zoning, building size, etc., is to create a Moslem-free zone strictly for political purposes.

    What would the reaction be if someone wanted to prohibit a Baptist Church from a neighborhood because that someone did not like Moslems? What next, an arbitrary law that would tax only Catholic church religious (as opposed to secular investment) properties?

    “Equality is the soul of liberty; there is, in fact, no liberty without it.” Frances Wright.

  3. Bogofree  August 14, 2010 at 2:04 pm

    This is not a freedom of religion issue but what amounts to a culture clash and does anyone really think this is anything less than an “in your face” by building a mosque in that location? They can practice their cult without interferences thanks to our constitution but that does not necessarily include placing their symbols where they please.

    The government is capable of placing enough roadblocks up to prevent this insult but so far the major players have shown no desire to do it. They certainly have managed to delay reconstruction of a Christian church in that area that was victim of activities of 9/11.

    http://www.jihadwatch.org/2010/08/nine-years-later-church-at-ground-zero-still-not-rebuilt-but-mad-rush-to-build-islamic-supremacist-m.html

    • logtroll  August 14, 2010 at 7:38 pm

      Yeehaw! Bin Laden shoulda been a baseball slugger, cuz he sure hit it outta the park! Almost a decade later an’ the Kristchun Idjits are still tryin’ to wage a jihad aginst their imaginary emenies!

      He sho-nuff won this one, and still a-winnin’, I reckon.

      Is this mosque illegal? Is it connected to bin Laden? Is Islam more a cult than Christianity? (no…)

      Are the Muslim haters fookin’ nuts, and mindlessly working for their imaginary foes? (yes…)

      It’s not complicated, boys.

      • Carl Nemo  August 14, 2010 at 7:52 pm

        Yo logtroll…

        Visualize Christian ‘radicals’ crashed airliners ijnto a major business center in Ridyah, Saudi Arabia killing 3000 citizens. All 19 of the hijjackers are linked to U.S. based terrorist cells.. Eight years pass and some wack job ‘developer’ wants to build a Christian cathedral in Ridyah. Do you think that plan would go over with the mullahs and Saudi leaders…? / : |

        Carl Nemo **==

        • logtroll  August 14, 2010 at 8:01 pm

          Check.

          Cap’n Nemo goes in the bin Laden puppets column.

          Imagination, fear and irrationality, that’s the stuff of civilization! Go get ‘em, Mad Dog Nemo!

          • Carl Nemo  August 14, 2010 at 8:56 pm

            Grrrrrruffffff…! : ))

            “I’ve gots rabies too”, doggy talk…pit bull Nemo.

            Just try to think a bit my challenged one. Arabs are not egalitarian thinkers nor do their actions indicate such when it comes to their skewed, wacked, concept of “holy jihad”. Neither are crazed Christians, defending the faith. It’s all madness as surely our end times rogue “government gone wild”.

            Carl Nemo **==

          • Almandine  August 14, 2010 at 10:37 pm

            What stupidity.

  4. Bogofree  August 14, 2010 at 10:11 pm

    In democracies the government, religion and economic systems are separate. They may overlap and they may attempt to influence on another but they do remain separate. As far as I can determine the only states today that have significant aspects of theocracy are Islamic states and the Vatican. Islam is all or nothing. How they treat women should say it all.

    I wonder what is next for Obama? The Japanese had 55 killed in the attack on Pearl Harbor. How about a memorial to that right next to the Arizona?

    • Almandine  August 14, 2010 at 10:42 pm

      A little too erudite, eh Bogo?

  5. logtroll  August 14, 2010 at 10:56 pm

    What? Stupidity?

  6. Bogofree  August 15, 2010 at 10:12 am

    I’m trying to get permission to build a McDonald’s on Cemetery Ridge at Gettysburg.

    Try the linkage with this. Exactly what was the religious persuasion of those involved in the 9/11 attacks? Did they attend mosques? What a great reminder to all!

  7. Guardhouse lawyer  August 14, 2010 at 1:18 pm

    What makes a person a Christian? Well, in the first place it is the simple matter of professing to be one. Who appointed you to say whether Obama’s faith is more or less Christian than anyone else’s? That in itself is not a Christian attitude, in my opinion.

    So I am precluded from making reference to the Constitution because my views do not jibe with yours.

    What’s the matter? Run out of logical arguments and have to again resort to name calling?

    Rather than insulting me why not engage in meaningful civil debate?

  8. Almandine  August 14, 2010 at 2:09 pm

    I called you nothing… or does your monitor show words mine doesn’t?

  9. Almandine  August 14, 2010 at 2:29 pm

    Oh, and the “cut the crap” thing, and “foaming mouth right wingers.”

    So that’s the a way to start meaningful debate, huh?

  10. Almandine  August 14, 2010 at 2:33 pm

    Sorry about my “the a” grammatical typo. Just suffering thru with my “half a brain”…

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