Obama’s controversial comments will turn many voters against him after he said he backs the building of the Muslim mosque on Ground Zero.
“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 stated on Friday evening.
“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 $100 million Islamic community center will be built two blocks from where nearly 3,000 people died after jets crashed into the World Trade Center towers on September 11, 2011.
The building of this mosque has sparked criticism with Republicans including Sarah Palin and Newt Gingrich announced their opposition.
Obama said the place where the twin towers stood is “hallowed ground” but stated, “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.”
Barack’s comments didn’t set well with many Republicans or the 9/11 victim’s families.
From the Associated Press:
“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.
Building the mosque at ground zero, she said, “is a deliberately provocative act that will precipitate more bloodshed in the name of Allah.”
Sally Regenhard, whose firefighter son was killed at the World Trade Center, said the president had failed to understand the issue. “As an Obama supporter, I really feel that he’s lost sight of the germane issue, which is not about freedom of religion,” she said. “It’s about a gross lack of sensitivity to the 9/11 families and to the people who were lost.”
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.
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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