9/11 Families ‘Stunned’ The President Backs Mosque

Opponents: Obama Turned Local Issue Into National One

NEW YORK (CBS 2) — President Barack Obama says Muslims have the right to build a mosque at Ground Zero, but does that mean he thinks it’s a good idea?

While visiting the Gulf Coast on Saturday, the president elaborated on what he said Friday during a dinner with Muslim leaders.

Obama clarified his statements about the Ground Zero mosque, saying he supports the right of Muslims to build it, but he wouldn’t say whether he thinks they should build it.

“I will not comment on the wisdom of the decision to put a mosque there,” Obama said. “I was commenting very specifically on the right that people have that dates to our founding.”

President Obama first broke his silence on the politically charged issue Friday night, with a comment at a White House dinner celebrating the Islamic holy month of Ramadan.

“Let me be clear: as a citizen and as a president, I believe Muslims have a right to practice their religion as everyone else in this country, and that includes the right to build a house of worship and community center on private property in Lower Manhattan,” he said.

It’s the same message Mayor Bloomberg has been delivering for some time now.

“We would be untrue to the best parts of ourselves, as New Yorkers and Americans, if we say no to a mosque in Lower Manhattan,” Bloomberg said.

Republican Congressman Peter King responded strongly to President Obama’s stance.

“I strongly disagree with the president, the president is wrong. The mosque does not belong near Ground Zero,” Rep. King said. “With their right [to build the mosque] is the responsibility to relocate this mosque and take it away from Ground Zero.”

Retired FDNY chief Jim Riches says the controversy over the mosque slated to be built just steps from Ground Zero has nothing to do with religion, and everything to do with sensitivity for those killed on 9/11.

“Historically, they’ve put mosques where they’ve had their conquests, and I think they’re doing that here,” Riches said.

Riches’ eldest son Jimmy, a firefighter, was killed in the attacks. The Riches are an FDNY family – all four sons and father are firefighters. For them, the proposed proximity of the mosque to the site of the attack is painful.

“We’re not against them practicing Islam – we know not all Muslims did this,” Riches said. “We think they should be a little more sensitive and move this just a little further away from Ground Zero.”

Debra Burlingame, co-founder of the group “9/11 Families For A Safe & Strong America,” argued “Muslims have worshipped in New York without incident both before and after the attacks of 9/11. This controversy is not about religious freedom.”

Burlingame excoriated the president, saying he “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. Since that dark day, Americans have been asked to bear the burden of defending those values, again and again and again. Now this president declares that the victims of 9/11 and their families must bear another burden. We must stand silent at the last place in America where 9/11 is still remembered with reverence or risk being called religious bigots.”

“We are stunned by the president’s willingness to disregard what Americans should be proud of: our enduring generosity to others on 9/11–a day when human decency triumphed over human depravity. On that day, when 3,000 of our fellow human beings were killed in barbaric act of raw religious intolerance unlike this country had ever seen, Americans did not turn outward with hatred or violence, we turned to each other, armed with nothing more than American flags and countless acts of kindness,” Burlingame said.

“In a breathtakingly inappropriate setting, the president has chosen to declare our memories of 9/11 obsolete and the sanctity of Ground Zero finished. No one who has lived this history and felt the sting of our country’s loss that day can truly believe that putting our families through more wrenching heartache can be an act of peace,” she added.

Despite the on-going controversy, though, the construction of the Islamic center appears to have a green light.

CBS 2 reached out to the Cordoba Islamic Center for comment, but calls were not returned.

  • Chris

    I don’t have an issue with a mosque being built there I think they should be allowed to build wherever they like… I would like to open a mohammad novelty shop right next door and place the images on t-shirts……llittle calendars showing the wacky farside-esque antics .. mohammed bobble heads – that they can observe to and from worship every day.. maybe get one of those placard dancer people to dress up like mohammad to dance with a big arrow pointing to the sales…

    It’s funny how muslims cry for respect and tolerance yet can’t see this as inflamatory or at the very least in poor taste.

  • Othman

    This reminds me of an Arabic poet who wrote 1100 years ago the following poems: In Latakia(a city on the Syrian coast) there is a noise between Ahmed and Christ. One is ringing the church’s bells and the other is shouting in the minaret..
    It looks to me that Americans are still living in the 9th century, even before the US had been created!!!!!!!!!!! Miserable thinking………..

  • BAL


  • joe

    When they attack us again and again we have no one to blame but the people who voted these people into office I did not vote for OBAMA or BLOOMBERG nor will I ever … I rather not vote at all.. Wake up america and smell the times … We are in for more attacks and more trouble .. Should we say 11-9-11 which is only a year away !

  • Someone who works there.

    Re: Tiffany – You’re an idiot, it’s not a mile away, it’s 2 blocks north from the WTC pit.

  • mack

    Muslims are evil. Here is what the loran says should be done with unbelievers.

    [2.191] And kill them wherever you find them, and drive them out from whence they drove you out, and persecution is severer than slaughter, and do not fight with them at the Sacred Mosque until they fight with you in it, but if they do fight you, then slay them; such is the recompense of the unbelievers.

    Doesn’t sound too peaceful to me.

    • Willie

      Just for the knowledge…this verse is about a certain incident and not a generalized one…unless you want to misunderstand or tend to find a reason to wrong them, then double check with someone who knows better…

    • derp

      and you are the cancer that is killing christianity

  • Maxwell

    “Stunned”? Are you Kidding me? It was expected!

    His first official phone call as President was to Palestinian Leader Abaas.

    He called the Aribic call to prayer “one of the prettiest sounds on Earth at sunset.”


  • albert goodproof

    How would all Moslems like a Catholic Church in the middle of Mecca???

  • An Actual 9/11 Parent

    The media should refrain from using as a headline 9/11 Families.If it isSOME 9/11 families,then say that. Not ALL 9/11 families disagree with President Obama.

  • PR_one

    The only area where it would be considered hollowed or sacred would be the reflecting pool. If it is ever built. The rest would be for commercial use. There would be space for those that worship the all mighty dollar more than anything else.

  • Mona

    What I don’t understand is why, in a place of worship, cultural especially, you would need a movie theatre, a restaurant and a swimming pool. I’m sorry to learn about the 400 Muslims who died at the WTC as I was there too! Another question, why is it no one is mentioning the Pentagon?

    • jd

      Ever heard of the YWCA or YMCA? Or perhaps the JCC or 92StreetY? Park51 will be a community center with a prayer room.

      And there are plenty of establishments nearby that might be labeled insensitive. Have America’s great defenders of propriety and hallowed ground not heard that there is a strip club a mere block away from the future site of the abominable mosque? A strip club, right in the heart of Ground Zero! Except, like the Cordoba Center, it isn’t at Ground Zero and is on private land.

      Tourists pulling up by the busload and gawking at the mass grave that is the World Trade Center are far more insensitive than this proposed mosque. Maybe you all could take your concern and start a media campaign against them and their lack of respect.

  • Lisa

    “it is a muslim prayer room in a cultural center to promote interfaith exchange.”

    So the Muslims won’t mind if a Christian brought his Bible in?

    How tolerant would Bloomberg, Obama and the Muslims who run this mosque be if a gay bar, a Christian church or a barbequed pork ribs restaurant tried to open across the street from the mosque? You would hear the screaming so loud about how “insensitive” it would be to have it so close to the mosque, and it would not be allowed.

  • joe

    For the sake of reglious tolarance NO one should object to my proposal of building a 16 story non-denominational christan church right next to ground zero with a giant cross on top shadowing “””other buildings”””. Of course for the sake of commercialism, NY’s famous PORK sandwich venders will be provided a place to sell their wares across from “”””other buildings”””.
    This is commercial and regilous freedom at its best.

  • Terry

    The president is right!!!!

  • jk

    Tiffany better get her facts straight. The proposed site is 2 blocks from ground zero.

    • Terry


  • disty4007

    This is America folks…Freedom of religion Let’s not forget that!

    A lot of our ancestors fought and died so we could worship our GOD in peace.

    • t

      Do they have the right to build it? Yes
      Do they have the sensitivity for others to not build it? NO

  • Willie

    There were more than 400 Muslims in the twin towers…nobody talks about that, it makes it more dramatic to the Americans this way…


    How many Muslims were working at or visiting the WTC towers that day and were killed? I don’t know the exact answer, but I bet it was more than just a few. I am sure their families feel that it is hollowed ground also. Why shouldn’t they have a place of worship nearby like Christians, Jews etc… do?

  • Mamun

    What is the previous name of bible? What is the first language of bible? What is the Mother tongue Of Jesus? Have you read?

  • up20

    I heard there’s already a mosque 4 blocks from Ground Zero. So why is there a need to construct another one? Freedom of Religion? Or is that another way for them to take advantage, take it for granted?

    I’m Canadian, I don’t have be American/New Yorker cause’ I personally lost someone from that 9/11 when we used to live in NJ. I’m opposed to this. Muslims who have a bit of decency would understand why many people are against this.

    Otherwise, just ask yourself this: Why aren’t there any other establishments in Mecca other than Islam?

  • Mac

    It’s obvious that America is running out of resources. They are getting poorer and needs
    money so much. And that amount is surely huge.American can not accept the facts
    that their reign as no.1 citizens of the world is nearing its end.
    Obama is slowly selling americans in his true brother – muslim brothers.
    By the way, Obama is genuine muslim. His grand family were all muslims.
    So his act about the mosque in ground zero should be treated normal,
    don’t be too exaggerate about his action.You love him because you vote for him.
    In 911 attack, the so called terrorist planned it for years and they succeed.
    Putting their own American president in Washington is not a bad idea after all.
    Its a harvest season time. what do you think Americans?

  • Gregory Miller

    I sure would not like to be in the presidents shoes for this one.On one hand he has sworn to uphold the constitution, on the other hand he must have a sense of revulsion. How can you win on either side. I guess to take the high road they can build it. However most Americans— possibly the president himself— knows it’s wrong. Once it is built it will represent the Moslems victory over America..I wish I could have a answer from the Almighty himself.

  • Rashid

    hey all non-muslims out there please let me make it clear to you guys read the quran and if it says any thing that is against peace i bet i would what ever you want people just dont know islam in QURAN it is said ” killing an innocent live is like killing all of the humanity” people like al qaida have invented their own islam please guys read it and than say…………
    please all brothers and sisters its my humble request to you all read it ISLAM meaning is peace

    • t

      Does it (the quran) say anything about showing sensitivity to others? Building the mosque here is very insensitive towards others.

    • MACK

      Rashid as with all muslims you are a liar. A quote from the koran.

      “[2.191] And kill them wherever you find them, and drive them out from whence they drove you out, and persecution is severer than slaughter, and do not fight with them at the Sacred Mosque until they fight with you in it, but if they do fight you, then slay them; such is the recompense of the unbelievers.”

      Unbelievers are not innocent according to the koran

    • Lisa

      Rashis, if “killing an innocent live is like killing all of the humanity”, why then did so many muslims celebrate the killing of all those innocents on Sept 11?

  • nyc

    I was there and this racist Burlingame does NOT speak for me nor, I assure you, the vast majority of my fellow New Yorkers. Terrorist don’t like religious freedom, so if you don’t, either, you can move to Iran, Egypt, Israel, or any number of autocratic theocracies. You’ll be happier there.

    • jj

      Aside from all the political and religeous issues, this is just weird. It’s like someone killing your whole family and moving in next door. You can’t help but to understand why people might have a problem with this without being anti-muslim

  • jj

    The issue with this situation, just as it is with many social issues today, is the obama administration’s lack of interest in the will of the American people. With the AZ immigration problem, obama and his justice dept. slapped us all in the face by going against what 70% of all americans supported and on top of it spitting on AZ’s sovereignty and right to protect it’s people when the feds wont.
    Now he is bold enough to go against the majority of Americans and almost ALL new yorkers views and allow this victory marker to be built… to what benefit of the people of the US?

    This isn’t a religeous issue as much as it’s an issue of our government consistantly being ignorant to the will of the citizens (yes,legal) of America.

  • L

    Why is anyone surprised by this. He has never released his college transcipts or financial papers – Why???? How about foreign aid as a foreign aid student and the fact he has already declared himself of Muslim faith.

    He is exactly what you get when you pick someone because of?????? and the fact that Ted Kennedy loved this guy – should only confirm the type of person you have in the White House

  • david l

    I live 2 blocks from the proposed site and have since 2000. Apart from the fact that their right to build is a slam dunk on Constitutional and legal grounds….there is already a mosque at Ground Zero, 1 block from City Hall. It is so crowded that at times clusters of worshippers spread their payer rugs right out on the sidewalk since it is full inside. There have been no issues with the existing mosque as far as I know of.

  • Swit

    Why punish these muslims for something that was started in their home country? Many of them had know idea what was going on. America is made up of many different nationalities and many different religions. We didn’t have a problem before the 9/11 attack with this religion. If we feel the need to condemn them then we should be condemning all that have caused us grief, pain, and loss.

  • jake


  • norman thijsen

    If the president approve the mosque he will be called anti american because of 9-11 sentiment and if he disapprove he will also be called anti-american because of undermining the constitution.I guess the President is stock.The Republican made it finally to label Obama with muslim.A mastermind chessplay.I wonder who is really behind the mosque????

  • Tim

    Ben & David. Give critical thinking a crack sometimes. You seem to be entirely ignorant of the democratic principles by which this country is governed. It the the rights of the minority that supersede the ‘will of the citizens’ as you call it. The will of the citizens may be the majority opinion but the majority is often uninformed, bigoted or otherwise in opposition to the rights of individuals. If you don’t like this, consider moving to an undemocratic country. As to your confused statements regarding the governments role in religious issues–are you really unaware of the separation of church and state? This center is to be built on private property. The government has no right to dictate whether a mosque or church or temple be or not be allowed on that land. And fortunately, you don’t either.

  • Willie

    Well..I’m glad that the Muslims gave you something to talk about, as if the Americans have too much time on their hands, and no problems left…you guys should worry about what happens underground, than what happens on the ground…or is it just you who have the good intentions invading other countries in the name of “freedom” and “democracy”…but then again…go on…hate on…like you need more hate…white vs black, straight vs gay, democrat vs republicans…and people wonder how some countries just vanish….

  • Anonymous

    The suggestion that Obama’s statement made this a national issue is ridiculous. Cable and radio talk shows have been sensationalizing this like any tabloid designed to sell papers. Facts have been distorted, and if not for deliberate propaganda, the building would likely have been unnoticed since it is not in the immediate vicinity of ground zero. Yes, with few exceptions, Islamic countries are theocratic police states, which is why we don’t want to become the same thing.

  • madboyyyee

    I dont know what is the problem check history Europeans killed millions of people destroyed entire civilizations on build a church to top it off…one Mosque wont hurt lol

  • Louise

    We have freedom of Religion, but within reason…peoples feelings about the area should be taken into account. Mulsim countries see America as weak that we would allow a mosque so close to ground zero. Is that what we want?

  • ANT

    ben you are right. i posted a few things on facebook that were deleted. THEY ARE ALL TRAITORS!

  • alan

    You are all idiots. Go educate yourselves before you try to comment on this issue again. It is apparent that you all have not a clue as to what made or what keeps this country great !!!!!

  • Ben

    There is no freedom in America for Americans anymore: my comments and links to Arabian media have been removed instead of allowing it to inform americans what exactly are being taught in these mosque, and what is worshiped.

  • Nick

    Ben – thats a nice tolerant view isnt it. Just proves our point !

  • Bas

    As a Christian expatriate in Saudi Arabia, I WANT A CHURCH!
    But they don’t even let us to wear a cross or get a bible into the country!
    So why should we give always!??

    • Ben

      Because we HAVE NO RIGHTS and are the curse of Allah. And Obama and Bloomberg agrees and has just reinforced it.

    • Z

      because america is not a ‘christian’ country. it is a multi-religious, multi-cultural open country.

  • David

    President Obama endorses having a mosque at ground zero, yet he wants to take God out of the Pledge, off our money, and take away our National Day of Prayer which is our freedoms. Where do our Christian religious views come in to our freedom of religion? Waite we are not muslims so we don’t have freedom of religion even though the Constitution says we do!

  • dxM

    Mr. Obama & Mr. Bloomberg are silent members of the Al Quaida, followers of Bin Laden. They are both a disgrace to the people of the USA & to the world community.

  • Ray

    It is offensive, not sensitive and not unifying but they have a right. until it is proven (not suggested) that they are linked to radicals then they are protected under the constitution. If we stop this then what do we stop next? It’s a very slippery slope that challenges all of our freedoms

  • DAVE

    I think O’bama was elected head of the wrong country. He forgets this is the United States. The will of the Citizens of this country should always come first, not the will of a few who cause problems. Let them go home and build any kind of mosques they want there.

    • Kathleen

      Dave has it exactly right. Let Obama go to another country that agrees with his thinking. I think GROUND ZERO IS SACRED GROUND!!!!!! How dare they build a mosque there. It is just to show us who is boss. This is NOT ABOUT RELIGIOUS FREEDOM!!!! It is DISRESPECT FOR THE DEAD!!!

      • Tiffany

        No one is building a mosque exactly on ground zero. OMG people need to get their facts straight. It is going to be about a mile away.

    • Judicious

      I thought Obama was elected by majority. From the above comments it appears he was elected by a minority. Does he not represent the will of the majority of the Citizens of this country? Bear him for his tenure and his decisions, America has not place for bigots of the kind these comments represent.


    Mosque is planned to be a symbol of Islamic success for Islamic tourists!
    I vote NO!!!!

  • lopress

    Everyone is infuriated by the complete stupidity of both Bloomberg and Obama. How ignorant can these people be? Islam is not a religion. Its a dangerous TOTALARISM. They have just invited this plague to expand into America, and in a site where thousands were murdered by the very same religion these idiots claim Muslims should have freedom to practice. By supporting this new mosque, they have also given their unofficial support to terrorism. Terrorism exist solely on the ideals of Islam and is not separate from Islam. Obama’s delusion that terrorism does not reflect Islam is beyond ridiculous. The entire middle east is anti-american to the core and hates america. Is he actually incapable of understanding this? Where exactly are all these peace loving Muslims who allow churches, temples and synagogues to exist in the middle east? Can he please point that out to all of us? It is Arabia, the seat of Islam, who supports and finances terrorists. Bloomberg and Obama is committing treason to this country.
    Enough with these politicians! We had an entire nation and economy collapse under Bush and now another idiot is in the helms! This country has no chance to survive if we don’t remove these kind of people from power.

    • Bryan

      Blaming Islam for 9/11 is like blaming Christianity for the Iraq War

    • melise

      Islam in the true meaning or this religion means peace but there are people who by their wrong interpretations and understanding of this religion have done more damage and have made the religion called Islam bad …….but its unfair to judge the religion coz many of those true muslims who follows true teaching and are law abiding and are wanting peace and doing good are also hoping that extemism and terrorism would end.they also have same wish as those many other christinas, protestants and those who had also been into other religions,peace , prosperity,and unity…Islam religion is not bad in its real sense and meaning. muslim people are not bad….not all are bad those people doing those horrible things are the once that are bad only claiming they are muslims, that they follow Islam religion and that they’re doing those ideals that they believed in and never even bother to think about the good of all people …

    • Pat in NYC

      People weren’t murdered by a religion on 9/11. They were murdered by a fanatic that used religious trappings. Bin Laden is not an Imam. He uses his religion as an excuse and a tool . Just as Christianity doesn’t murder abortion doctors, but fanatics using their religion as an excuse do and Pro-life organizations have been known to do. Terrorism isn’t about religion it is about using fear to control people’s political choices.

      Muslims died along with Christians and Buddhists and atheists on 9/11 at the hands of fanatic hijackers. This Mosque is not on Ground Zero. It is in the area two blocks away. It is the project of an Imam who has condemned Bin Laden, his tactics and terrorism contrary to his depiction by the biggest opponents to this.

      Just as Bin Laden isn’t about Islam, those who have started this are not interested in NYC, its people, or the best interest of our country. They are about fueling hatred and fear to enable an agenda that has no basis in fact or law.

    • Nicola101


  • bf

    It is suggested that people building this center are deeply linked to the radical movement and that they are using this as a symbol of power. That would be wrong.

  • tony guerra

    Better stick to the problems of AZ. That’s the problem of the federal government’s making. This mosqeu is a NYC problem and none of your concern. So butt out.

    • pbm

      AZ border..a national problem…Mosque at Ground Zero is inviting another national problem based on info being reported.

  • hbf

    People have said that the people building it are associated with radicals and that it is an intended positioning of power. If that were true then the president would be wrong.

    • Z

      My home is here. I live and work downtown, and that is where I need a place to pray. The muslim community downtown has grown to the point where mosques are turning down people for lack a space. that is a much needed project, especially that it is a muslim prayer room in a cultural center to promote interfaith exchange.

      • jd

        My home is here, I don’t need a place to pray and I still welcome this so-called “mosque” with open arms. Even if the rest of the country chooses bigotry it should be known that the people who live here do not. We remember what it was like to be attacked simply for our beliefs and we would never ever try to deny anyone free exercise of religion.

        Bring on your “terrorist” swimming pool, film series, concerts and maybe cooking classes too!

      • t

        Perhaps an existing mosque could add some space. And there could be a show of understanding FROM Muslims TO the others by not building on this particular site.

      • freedom??

        lets put a sushi bar at Pearl Harbor too . while we are at it

    • Bal

      This is it… Obama’s true color has emerged!

  • http://magic155384.lovein.tw/cartoon/?p=42 Ground Zero Mosque Controversy Goes National » 東方線上漫畫

    […] more on WCBS-TV New York 2010 年 08 月 14 日 | admin | Tags: Controversy, Goes, Ground, mosque, National, Zero | No […]

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