Archive for Sunday, August 15, 2010

Obama supports ‘right’ for ground zero mosque

August 15, 2010


— Weighing his words carefully on a fiery political issue, President Barack Obama said Saturday that Muslims have the right to build a mosque near New York’s ground zero, but he did not say whether he believes it is a good idea to do so.

Obama commented during a trip to Florida, where he expanded on a Friday night White House speech asserting that Muslims have the same right to freedom of religion as everyone else in America.

The president’s statements thrust him squarely into a debate that he had skirted for weeks and could put Democrats on the spot three months before midterm elections where they already were nervous about holding control of the House and maybe even the Senate. Until Friday, the White House had asserted that it did not want to get involved in local decision-making.

The White House quickly followed up on Obama’s latest comments on the matter, with Obama spokesman Bill Burton saying that the president wasn’t backing off in any way from the remarks he made Friday.

“What he said last night, and reaffirmed today, is that if a church, a synagogue or a Hindu temple can be built on a site, you simply cannot deny that right to those who want to build a mosque,” Burton said.

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

Florida Gov. Charlie Crist, who was among those who met with Obama on Saturday, lauded the president’s position. Crist is running for the U.S. Senate as an independent.

“I think he’s right — I mean you know we’re a country that in my view stands for freedom of religion and respect for others,” Crist said after the Florida meeting with Obama and other officials. “I know there are sensitivities and I understand them. This is a place where you’re supposed to be able to practice your religion without the government telling you you can’t.”

Others were quick to pounce on Obama’s statements.

In a statement Saturday, House Minority Leader John Boehner said the decision to build the mosque wasn’t an issue of religious freedom, but a matter of respect.

“The fact that someone has the right to do something doesn’t necessarily make it the right thing to do,” Boehner said. “That is the essence of tolerance, peace and understanding.”

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.”

Democratic Senate candidate Jeff Greene of Florida took Obama’s Friday speech to mean the president supports the construction.

“President Obama has this all wrong and I strongly oppose his support for building a mosque near ground zero especially since Islamic terrorists have bragged and celebrated destroying the Twin Towers and killing nearly 3,000 Americans,” said Greene. “Freedom of religion might provide the right to build the mosque in the shadow of ground zero, but common sense and respect for those who lost their lives and loved ones gives sensible reason to build the mosque someplace else.”

The mosque 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.

The proposed construction has sparked debate around the country that has included opposition from top Republicans including Sarah Palin and Newt Gingrich as well as the Jewish civil rights group the Anti-Defamation League.

Obama’s Friday comment was taken by some to mean that he strongly supports the building of an Islamic center near the site of the Sept. 11 terrorist attack, something he never said.


kansasmutt 7 years, 9 months ago

I agree 100% I also think it is a slap on the face of the USA to build it in NY state at all. Infact i say with what we know about islam in a whole, i say ban it all. They hate the western ways so much, get em the hell out of the USA. They have a huge sand box to play in , back in the middle east, so i say go home. I cant say i have met anyone from the muslim or islamic background i care for at all, they are sneaky and shady. Seems like every one of them has an agenda to ruin the western ways. This is my opinion and i say this. If you dont like it, get the F@#k out !!!!!!!!! I remember back in the 70s when they were all going to KU to learn our ways, so they could come back and use that knowlage to destroy us. I say shut the door and round em up and ship em home.This used to be a free country, now not so much due to the influx of cultures that despise us, but yet come to spoil us.

slowplay 7 years, 9 months ago

Send the Irish back while we are at it. The Italians too. Why in the world we let Jews stay here is beyond me. Of course if you have any Slavic heritage your the first in line. In fact, if you are not a full blooded Native American get the hell out.

beatrice 7 years, 9 months ago

Students of the '70s were given "knowlage" to destroy us.

Really? In what course did they learn to hijack a plane using box cutters, and why did they take decades to enact this plan? Yes, kick all the "bad" people out so we can once again be a free country. Brilliant.

kansasmutt 7 years, 9 months ago

English, Math , Social studies, Economics and anything to teach them the western way of life. They dispise us and used us to learn how to destroy us. They learned how to fly the planes here in america. They earn money here and send it home to finance the war against us.

slowplay 7 years, 9 months ago

Nice clip and paste. Your point? As usual, not an original thought in your head.

izzybear 7 years, 9 months ago

thank you to the writer's of this piece it is what i have been saying. President Obama must support the law that does not mean he likes it. again i say it is a very rude and thoughtless act that the muslims are pushing for the have no respect for the people of this Country.

voevoda 7 years, 9 months ago

The Muslim community is not setting out to offend the rest of the American population. Here are some facts that have gotten lost in the hoopla: This American Muslim community has had a mosque on this site for a long time. They preach a moderate version of Islam that is consonant with American civic values: tolerance, civil rights, equality, and pluralism. The mosque existed at that site prior to 9/11/2001. It has continued to exist since then. The Muslim community there bothered nobody. They threatened nobody. Nobody spoke out against their presence at that spot. Then the Muslim community decided to convert the site to a community center to promote interfaith dialogue, understanding, and reconciliation.
There was no problem until some right wing pundits and politicians decided to rile people up in order to promote their own agendas. They mixed outright lies and distortions about this American Muslim community and its plans in order to mobilize public resentment against Muslims in general, against religious pluralism, against liberals, against Democrats, and most of all against the Obama administration. They have tried to make condemnation of "the mosque at Ground Zero" a litmus of American patriotism. Despite the fact that the planned building is not a mosque and is not located at Ground Zero. And despite the fact the Muslim community at the center of this controversy was conducting itself in exactly the way the opponents of radical Islamism have insisted Muslims must behave if they are going to prove their peacefulness and loyalty to the United States. To judge from the plethora of news stories and the vituperative comments on this and other public forums, the right-wing pundits and politicians have succeeded. They brought the bigots out in swarms. They also managed to recruit well-meaning but gullible people to their cause by calling on the Muslim community to "prove" their good will by abandoning their plans out of "consideration" for the "feelings" of the "public"--feelings they themselves had fomented through their propaganda.
Should this American Muslim community give up their plan, just to placate bigots and antagonistic politicians? Or should they keep going on with their plan, knowing it to be a legitimate one? That is their decision alone. But I hope they continue with their plans. Bigots cannot be placated by giving in to their demands. Bigots only grow stronger, because they see that intimidation succeeds. And people who aren't hate-filled but just unthoughtful fail to see bigotry for what it is. America should have learned this lesson from the bigotry that was Jim Crow and from the "gentlemen's agreements" that kept Blacks and Jews and, yes, Muslims, out of other Americans' neighborhoods on the grounds that the (white, Christian) Americans would be "uncomfortable" with the presence of Americans who were different from them. This situation is no different.

verity 7 years, 9 months ago

Thank you for a sensible and correct statement of the facts.

Unfortunately, this has been a situation where too many people have felt that they are not only entitled to their own opinions, but to their own facts.

voevoda 7 years, 9 months ago

You have taken quotations out of context to distort what they mean. If you look at the context, it will be clear to you that Abdul-Rauf was criticizing the superficial form of much interfaith dialogue; he has personally promoted more effective ways. If you look at the context, it will be clear that Abdul-Rauf is justifying democracy and innovation in law and governmental form. As a cleric, he is going to talk in terms of Qu'ran and Shariah, just as a Catholic priest might talk about Bible and Papal decrees, an Orthodox priest might talk about Bible and rulings of Church Councils, a rabbi might talk about Torah and Talmud. Shariah can be read in a variety of ways--just like the Bible can be. Abdul-Rauf reads it in a way consonant with American political values.

voevoda 7 years, 9 months ago

I still don't see any problem, Hydra. Shariah is a compilation that contains a myriad of sometimes-conflicting opinions, rather like the Jewish Talmud or Roman Catholic canon law, or Eastern Orthodox Nomokanon. Religious leaders and religious practitioners use their scriptures creatively as a guide for evaluating the justness of their governments and their societies all the time. Less than two weeks ago, a candidate for governor in Kansas called for the use of the Bible to evaluate all Kansas state law. Many Christians argue that some aspects--even many aspects--of the American government are unChristian--pointing at racial discrimination, or poverty, or education, or social welfare programs, or abortion, or war, etc. Many of them have posted on LJW forums in just the past month. Jews do the same, based on Jewish religious teachings. Why should anyone think that it is somehow more sinister when Muslims speak in analogous terms?

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