President Obama Backs Ground Zero Mosque Plan

WASHINGTON (AP/WCBS880) — President Barack Obama on Friday forcefully endorsed allowing a mosque near ground zero, saying the country’s founding principles demanded no less.

“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 said, weighing in for the first time on a controversy that has riven New York City and the nation.

“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.”

Obama made the comments at an annual dinner in the White House State Dining Room celebrating the Islamic holy month of Ramadan.

The White House had not previously taken a stand on the mosque, which would be part of a $100 million Islamic 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.

“Our capacity to show not merely tolerance, but respect towards those who are different from us — and that way of life, that quintessentially American creed, stands in stark contrast to the nihilism of those who attacked us on that September morning, and who continue to plot against us today,” he said.

Obama harkened back to earlier times when the building of synagogues or Catholic churches also met with opposition. “But 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,” he said. “So it must be and will be today.”

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

But some Republicans were quick to pounce.

“President Obama is wrong,” said Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y. “It is insensitive and uncaring for the Muslim community to build a mosque in the shadow of ground zero. While the Muslim community has the right to build the mosque they are abusing that right by needlessly offending so many people who have suffered so much.”

Entering the highly charged election-year debate, Obama surely knew that his words would not only make headlines 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 included ambassadors and officials from numerous Muslim nations, including Saudi Arabia and Indonesia. Seated around candlelit tables, they listened closely as Obama spoke, then stood and applauded when the president finished his remarks.

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.

The group behind the $100 million project, the Cordoba Initiative, describes it as a Muslim-themed community center. Early plans call not only for prayer space but for a swimming pool, culinary school, art studios and other features. Developers envision it as a hub for interfaith interaction, as well as a place for Muslims to bridge some of their faith’s own schisms.

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. Some of the Sept. 11 victims’ relatives, however, are in favor.

The mosque has won approval from local planning boards but faces legal challenges, and New York’s Conservative Party is planning a television ad campaign to pressure a New York City utility to use its power to block the project.

(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


One Comment

  1. sk says:

    You can’t cmpare building a synagogue or a church to biluding a mosque. Other countries have not try to destroy (or continue to destory our country) or should I say the WHOLE WORLD. Many moslems aree not peaceful, they don’t believe in freedom of religion or expression. What about “Holy wars” and “Jihad”. you call that peaceful? Not all moslems hate, but ther are enough of them to be worried.

  2. COMMANDER,K says:

    TO THE WEAK-KNEED REPUBLICANS AND DEMOCRAT…..Wake up america!!!! This goverment is the most corrupt we have had in years. The good old boy network is very much in charge.Mr. obama and pelosi are the puppet masters.How many of their good friends benefited by the agreement ” what a farce. All of the u.sSenators voted for this. I am ashamed to say I voted for the these corupted self serving politicians.With good reason they picked an out of towner to be president.All u.s departments need an overhaul. We need to rid ourselves of the puppet masters and the dept heads that bow down to obama and pelosi.I am sick of the lip service I have been getting from these dummies over violations, their friends are getting away the goverment . Barack Hussein Obama , threatens friends and bows to Mmslim.
    INPEACH OBAMA ,GOD OPEN YOUR EYES.///For us there are only two possiblities: either we remain american or we come under the thumb of the communist Mmslim Barack Hussein OBAMA. This latter must not occur.THE COMMANDER

  3. COMMANDER,K says:

    OBAMA goes about his business by speaking the lie. II Thessalonians 2 says that he comes “with all deceivableness of unrighteousness.” Revelation 13:12 says, “and he spoke as a dragon….” Revelation 17 tells us that he was a false prophet, a prophet being one whose calling it is to speak and to teach. The armies of the world may have guns and tanks and bombs to bring people into submission; but the power of speech and ideas is a mighty power. In his initial attempts to destroy the cause of God, OBAMA used a serpent to deceive the woman with crooked speech: “You will be like God.” Now he uses a “dragon” who speaks crafty, lying words. His speeches will be heard by millions who will hang on his persuasive rhetoric. The content as well as the form of his speech will attract. Like most false prophets, he will even be sincere and passionate. But he is a liar. He adds dashes of truth to the mix, so that his lie tastes like truth. He will use all the right catchwords, using the language of the church, even throwing in a Bible text or two. But he is the ultimate Liar, and will deceive many.
    OBAMA will use every tool available: school teachers, politicians, news broadcasters, artists, musicians, scientists and doctors, lawyers and businessmen. All will be pressed into the service of OBAMA to deceive men. But especially he will use those whose calling it is to persuade and to teach — men who claim to be preachers of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

  4. Ricky says:

    The house of worship is considered as sacred place, but if it stand on place where plenty of people may not be happy or it can cause painful memories on others, perhaps its not a good idea to put it there….

  5. Victor says:

    What happened to freedom of worship, are Americans so vindictive and scared. The land is private owned, yet you want to deny the Muslims the right to build. That is why America keeps losing their friends. Suddenly emotions are being put before the law. What a shame to be an American.

  6. rome says:

    is anybody surprised at obama’s support of the mosque? he’s show his true color since he got elected.

  7. MAI-SALEEM says:

    This is the land of the free, IS IT NOT ? Why don’t you racist STOP the HATRED and LET ALL AMERICANS LIVE IN PEACE !!!!!!

  8. Andrew says:

    thats simply BS… yes we all want freedom, but if the KKK wants to set up a headquarter there would we allow it?! heck no

    Islam is a religion that teaches as much hate and intolerance as the KKK, its not just all about freedom. Yes, not all muslims are the same, but why aren’t the majority of them speaking up against all the violence and hate that their religion is speading!

  9. GR says:

    We told you time and again he was Muslim and by him celebrating Ramadan should prove it to even the most harden democrats on this earth. We have been warned for over fifty years now we will be taken over with out a shot being fired. We can just sit on our laurels and watch now to see which ones tack it first.

  10. Alexandra Gabanyi says:

    anywhere else- but NOT there!!

  11. Opie says:

    The mosque issue is not about feelings of Americans but to walk the talk of American democracy in the face of Islamic terrorism. Americans are generally blinded by their own culture. The real challenge is for Americans to see clearly what they have caused for such wave of Islamic Terrorism and how they are going to handle it, fight by all means but rights of everyone must be accorded otherwise Americans are no better than those terrorists.

  12. saul says:

    obama’s a muslim of course he wants his terrorist friends in manhattan

  13. Gobama says:

    Good for Obama, defending people’s religious freedoms. The organizers are Sufi, which is a moderate, tolerant denomination. They have repeatedly denounced the acts of the 9/11 terrorists. Besides it won’t even be visible from Ground Zero. It’s two blocks away and the site is already dwarfed by all the other construction going on there.

  14. ROBERT SMITH says:

    If you really want to know what kind of man obama is and how he will protect the mulisim before the Christians then go to the library and read his book BUT DO NOT BUY HIS BOOK because it would be helping the mulisims

  15. Anni says:

    can’t believe this is happening. what a sorry, lame excuse for a man. vote this sorry-butt out of office!!!

  16. ROBERT SMITH says:

    God help America before obama make America a mulisim country

  17. Eric Bradfeild says:

    You guys are stupid. Islam is not a religion of terror! U all are stupid because u dont have your own opinion you just read what news are writing. U better be ashamed of yourselfs. Islam is a religion of peace and so are all other religions. I am also a Christian but I respect Islam because I have read what its all about and there is no terror in it. Read first and make up your own opinion before you say anything stupid idiots.

  18. Pat Karchik says:

    michael-u r right. Everyone should fight!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  19. Dave says:

    I think it is horribly insensitive and in very poor taste to build a mosque at ground zero. Of course, America is a free country, so people can do whatever they choose. That doesn’t mean that the vast majority of us have to agree with it. Frankly, polls show that a majority of Americans are not supportive of this mosque.

  20. Allyson says:

    The President is correct. As per the US Constitution, the American people have the free right to worship as members of ANY religion they choose, in ANY location they so choose. This is guaranteed by the First Amendment. Denying that right would be illegal, unconstituational, and un-American…. so, if you’re not happy with the laws of our land, perhaps it’s time for you to move elsewhere? There is no room for intolerance in America.

    First Amendment text: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

  21. Arie says:

    I agree Mr President.Muslim suppose have the right to practise our religion like anyone else and its a good start to build the mosque overthere…

  22. benedik says:

    hey obama why don’t you spit on the faces of the victims’ families while you’re at it!

  23. DINO says:

    ONCE A MUSLIM ALWAYS A MUSLIM, like no one knew which way he would go on this. He’s a one term president in the making. Good riddance!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  24. michael says:

    wanna build a mosque… fine… just not there!! Muslims build a large mosque everywhere they conquer…. right by the world trade… ignorant americans… islam is NOT a religion of peace

    1. BAKER says:


    2. claude schlager says:

      yes i agree and now they have a mulisim president in the USA to help them why do you think they helped to get him in office and waited 8 years to build it BECAUSE ANYOTHER PRESEDENT WOULD HAVE STOPPED THEM

  25. True American says:

    If anyone has done their research they will find that Christians that try to build a church in an Islamic country would not have a chance and they are persecuted everyday in Arab countries. The Vatican allowed a mosque to be build I belive in 1996 close to the Vatican with an agreement that Catholic churches would be built in Saudi Arabia. Guess what it never happened in Saudia Arabia they loed as usual. Wake up people the only thing Muslims want to do is wipe out all other religions and control the world. This is a shameful thing and the president and all the supporters will face the consequences in the upcoming elections. Maybe our president is truly a muslim

  26. deb says:

    If the mosque was being built to glorify God, I would be for it..But I know it is not…What would Jesus do?..If not to glorify his father, then I doubt he would be for it…

  27. JasonS says:

    @patrick ervin: Islam is inherently opposed to the philosophy of Western freedom, which it sees as decadent and immoral. Mosques all over the West are vipers nests of hate speech and the condoning and direct support of terrorist movements which seek to destroy Western society, i.e. deny our freedom to exist. Islam is not simply a religion, it is a political movement and an ideology. You have to ask yourself why almost all terrorist attacks across the world are carried out in the name of Islam, as opposed to say Hinduism or Buddhism.

    Nobody is calling for any special laws to deny religious freedom to Muslims, but our freedom of speech gives us the right to speak out against such an insensitive proposal as this. Barry had every right to say he opposes the mosque, but he chose to say the opposite, yet another issue about which he remains directly opposed to the vast majority of Americans.

    Islam is a religious movement of intolerance. We are under no obligation to be tolerant of intolerance.

  28. bill sam says:

    it’s not about religious freedom, it’s about tact and caring about other people. Only an uncaring person with no concern for others would put a mosque there. Hey I know lets put a statue of Hitler next to the holocaust museum

    I guess that this just shows that Obama does not care about those affected by 911

  29. Touti says:

    i think he is president for all so he shows how better judgment he is. i think only history can tell. wait and see.

  30. shawn says:

    They burn down christian churches and kill anyone who follows them in any muslim city

  31. Jay says:

    This is not about freedom of religion, which all Americans support. The fact that obama had to comment on this, is the problem. Bush was criticized for his “religious” comments and obama should be criticized for his endorsements of islam. obama is a fraud and a disgrace.

  32. DB says:

    Im just shocked that CBS is letting me post an anti Obama comment considering they helped get him elected. Maybe they are are slowly waking up. I mean if they are gonna really go all out with the mosque thing and build it, they should put a picture of Osama Bin Laden or OBAMA on it especially since OBAMA is the most famous Muslim in the world now.

  33. Abdul Waheed Qureshi says:

    Bravo ! ! Thats the beauty of America which keeps it prospering and one day it’ll be Islamic U.S.A……………………………………………………………….Insha Allah

  34. Cat says:

    I guess what the President is saying is that it’s “politically correct” to build the Mosque. Well, I hope that there will be enough police to deal with the spillage of these Muslim worshippers when they start to overflow into the streets…just like a video I saw with them outside a Mosque on Madison Avenue.

    I read an article earlier today about Mayor Blomberg and his reasons for sanctioning the building of the Mosque…something to do with his parents having to get their lawyer to buy their house back in the day and then resell it to them because Jews were not accepted in the area or something along those lines. Well, he needs to take those sentiments over to the Middle East and inform his buddy Netanyahu to stop the illegal occupation of Palestinian land. What’s good for the goose is good for the gander!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! What a crock if I ever heard it!!! It’s all about the Muslim votes Mr. Mayor!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  35. Pat Karchik says:

    Heh Obama-Share your money with the underpriveleded.. Maybe that can be a Tax Deduction for you and your Family……

  36. karson says:

    It is sad that a black president would cause so many racist people to come to light. It is sad how bad this country has gotten and bigotry has gotten so much stronger.

  37. patrick ervin says:

    Because freedom or religion only applies to Christians? Come on folks. THINK.

    1. Pat Karchik says:

      I agree with ou Patrick

    2. JP says:

      It”s because he”s one of them

  38. Theresa B. says:

    President has lost my support and my respect.

  39. Mark Ballard says:

    What does one expect from the Muslim in the White house? This fellow is obviously NOT Christian or Pro American.

  40. Pat Karchik says:

    Vote Him Out!! Before He makes us Muslims!!!!!!!!!!!

    1. patrick ervin says:

      Pat, you need to be a little more intelligent about this.
      Can anyone make you a Muslim, Mormon, Jehovah’s Witness, Methodist or Pentacostal? Of course not. You choose. Obama can’t choose for you.

      Regardless, he waited to voice his opinion until the matter was settled by local authorities in NY. The mosque will happen. Accept it and move on. It won’t matter to you in your daily life.

    2. D R says:


      1. Pat Karchik says:

        Get out & Vote.. That might help..

    3. robert smith says:

      even in his book he said that he would take sides with the mulisins other the Christian and now he is showing it.

  41. D says:

    He’s a Muslim so of course he backs it. They can’t even find an american birth certificate for him. If he wasn’t in office building a mosque at ground zero would never happen.

  42. Pat Karchik says:

    Disgrace? Worst President in History!!

  43. dumb title says:

    This title to this article is rediculous. It makes it seem like the mosque is right on ground zero, rather than in the neighborhood. Stupidity.

  44. PatKarchik says:

    Obama should be ashamed of himself. Who is he standing for?? America or Muslims. The worst president in our history!! Stand up & vote “AMERICA!!

  45. Yousuf Jamil (Karachi, Pakistan) says:

    This is what I like about the USA. Freedom in its true form. All Muslim countries should actually learn from this.

  46. walter k says:

    Explains why his middle name is Hussein

  47. Tony Guerra says:

    Keep your nose out of local problems in NYC. Arizona called they needd help with the immigrant problem.

  48. JasonS says:

    Keep digging that hole Barry.

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