President Obama Tries To Quell Mosque Comments Backlash

NEW YORK (CBS 2) — The president created a firestorm of reaction when he showed support for the Ground Zero mosque Friday night. This weekend, as CBS 2’s Kathryn Brown reports, he’s clarifying his comments.

President Obama said he supports the right of Muslims to build it there, but wouldn’t say whether he thinks it is a good idea. “I will not comment on the wisdom of the decision to put a mosque there.  I was commenting very specifically on the right that people have that dates back to our founding,” he said.

Some criticize the president for turning an emotionally charged issue into an academic one. Long Island Congressman Peter King came out swinging.

“The Muslim community has absolute right to build a mosque anywhere.  The government cannot stop them.  But along with the right, they have responsibility, and the responsibility of the Muslim community is to reach out to New York, to all those families who had loved ones killed on September 11,” he said.

Retired FDNY Chief Jim Riches lost his son on 9/11 and said the controversy has nothing to do with freedom of religion and everything to do with sensitivity for those killed in the attacks.

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

But not all the 9/11 families feel that way. Tala’at Hamdani’s son also died in the attacks.

“I’m very proud of him that he’s standing by all his citizens, irrespective of their faith and race and ethnicity,” she said.

The Muslim community said its goal is and always has been to serve Lower Manhattan.

The planned center, Park51,  includes a mosque, library, fitness facilities, restaurant, and a September 11 memorial that will be open to the public.


One Comment

  1. brooklynguy says:

    I’m appalled by the comments some of you folks are posting in condemnation of the president. In the beginning I also felt torn over the idea of having a mosque in Lower Manhattan. I felt it was insensitive to all New Yorkers and its 911 victims. But then the realistic, rational and democratic part of my brain said hold on a minute, this is STILL a democratic society. The president is right to say that people of ALL faiths have a right to practice freely in this country ANYWHERE. What was the president of the USA supposed to say folks? That, NO, the mosque should not be built, when he is the one that is supposed to exemplify the idea of freedom and democracy for ALL. I happen to be of the Jewish faith. Our history is replete with examples where Jews could NOT practice their religion freely. Thank G-d we’re in America where we no longer have this problem. Hey, I felt it was a misguided and in sensitive decision to build the mosque there, but again if we’re going to stand up for the rights of ALL Americans, and keep our democratic society intact, then we must practice what we preach. I think relations with the Islamic community would have been a lot worse if he condemned the building project. The mayor has supported the mosque as well.


    Long Island Congressman, Mr., Peter King has commented:
    The Muslim community has absolute right to build a mosque anywhere. The government cannot stop them. But along with the right, they have responsibility, and the responsibility of the Muslim community is to reach out to New York, to all those families who had loved ones killed on September 11,”
    WORLD LEADERSHIP ORGANIZATION, WOLORG must add that the feelings of the families of the victims of 9/11 must be respected too. IKEY GALACTICCA, WOLORG

  3. linden williams says:

    “Historically they’ve put mosques where they’ve had their conquests and I think they’re doing that here,” said Chief Jim Riches.
    First Chief Richie – who are they? There’s a rather large Mosque in Ridgefield Park, it can be seen off of I-95. I ask you Chief Richie, what was the conquest there? In fact, there are Mosque all over New York City – in each of the five Burroughs – what were the individual conquest there? There are Mosque all over this entire country, what were the conquest there, how many lives lost? How many buildings destroyed?
    This country has fought in many wars, how many Christian churches were built in all of those countries? The number is countless. Here’s a fact for you Chief Richie, prior to 9/11, the second largest religion in this country next to Christianity is Islam. Chief Richie, prior to 9/11, you weren’t talking about their Mosques conquest then. Chief Richie, I don’t see you accusing Christianity of conquest, when a Christian by the name of Timothy McVeigh bombed the Federal building in Oklahoma. How about that Christian organization known as the Klu Klux Klan.
    Chief Richie, you had a loss on 9/11, however you not only dishonor that loss with your bigotry, you also dishonor our nation’s Constitution – “Freedom of Religion”. Here’s another fact for you Chief Richie, in the past three years, The FDNY has had to settle two major class action discrimination suits for its hiring, promotion and treatment of minorities regardless of religion. You Chief Richie were part of that bigotry and unfair practices. Now you get on I am replying to Chief Jim Richie, FDNY retired. I quote Chief Richie, you get on a public forum and spew your misguided venom! Shame of you!

  4. abc says:

    Im sorry I voted for the bum. What a disgrace he has been in every catagory.

  5. INJUN93 says:


  6. American Worker says:

    Will the American Construction workers Union and Non Union the same workers who worked side by side facing the same dangers as the Emergency service personel recovering the victims of the Trade center build it.?
    Will the Union and Non union american truck drivers the same workers who hauled recovery tools and supplys non stop from across america want to haul the building materials?
    Will building supply companys have the building materials to ship?
    The politicians gave the permits let them roll up there shirt sleeves and strap on a tool belt and build it.
    There are some houses of worship of all religions across this country that are having financial problems keeping there doors open . How does this group come up with 100 million dollars to build this building ?

    1. wasabiwahabi says:

      Poppy fields in Afghanistan and crude oil.

      1. American Worker says:

        EXACTLY.. Follow The Money.

    2. velvethead says:

      An overseas GC, I can see. But local subs and labor doing this job. No way.
      Hardhats shown up with bats in hand? Don’t be surprised.

    3. U.S.A says:

      I am sure they will build with non union contractors here.

  7. vvv_nyc says:

    I used to like Obama, but…

    Pure and simple. As far as Obama is concerned, NYC is only as a source of political opportunity and funds, nothing else. On the very same week his administration cut off a major chunk of Homeland Security funding, he came to NYC for a fund raising at the Waldorf then sets up a press conference to praise NYFD for their work in 9/11. My,my. Such cheek! Such hypocrisy!

    This is not any different.

    He tries to score points with the Muslims with his pronouncements. Not that there is anything wrong with that, because of Freedom of Religion. But he simply ignores the ambivalent feelings of the majority of NYC residents the appropriateness of the location of the mosque.

  8. dubya says:

    Why did our president deem it necessary to even comment on building a mosque anywhere? Doesn’t he have a few more important issues to deal with? Like the economic meltdown.

  9. Jeff Marshall says:

    I applaud Mayor Bloomberg for standing firm against the opponents of the mosque. Telling a particular group of people where they can build or worship or live is racism. Can you imagine what the reaction would be if it was a group of black people building a Baptist Church or a group of Jewish people building a synagogue in a particular area and were told that they could not or should not build there? I was injured on 9/11 and twice escaped with my life on that day and to me there is nothing sacred about the site of the former World Trade Center. People die tragically every day in every country. We are all going to die at some point and we don’t have any control over how it will happen. The president and the Governor are saying that the Muslims have a right to build and a right to worship but maybe elsewhere. Have these two black men ever heard of Separate-but-Equal? Maybe they should get their heads out of you know what.

    1. wasabiwahabi says:

      Jeffy-boy, Jews and Christians are not permitted on the soil of many muslim countries. Any synagogues in mecca? Christians are murdered in these places without consequence.

  10. O says:

    What about also building a synagogue, a Buddhist temple, a church, etc. all in the same block? Let the mosque be just one of many places of worship so that all have a place to pause, reflect and find peace. We should be able to find a way to make this controversy into something more positive and forward looking. New York, New York big city of dreams.

  11. timwi says:

    We also have the right to have a person, each and every day, with a huge poster of the atrocity of 9-11 right by the entrance to the mosque. Maybe an image of one of the poor souls jumping? Right where the Muslim kids going in and out can see it. We have that right. Right?

    One of the mantra’s of our family, since my kids could understand, is “Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should”. Obviously, the upbringing of these mosque intruders didn’t include that little gem.

  12. suharyadi says:

    in indoneia all religious lives in peace. a everone leraning and anderstanding for islam and story islam so they will not thinking islam is terorist. in indonesia we feeling peace.

    1. wasabiwahabi says:

      suharyadi, what color is the sky in your little world? Consider the following from Indonesia:he Center for Islamic and Social Studies (PPIM), Pusat Pengajian Islam dan Masyarakat, carried out a survey on religion and violence in which was given the following results:

      * 0.1% have helped forcibly close illegal churches;
      * 14.7% were prepared to help forcibly close illegal churches;
      * 1.3% have committed “intimidation” against those considered to be blasphemers of Islam;
      * 18.1% support the murder of Muslims who converted to other faiths;
      * 20% supported the Bali bombings;
      * 40% were prepared to commit violence against those blaspheming Islam;
      * 44% were prepared to wage jihad on threatening non-Muslims;
      * 61% supported the waging of jihad on threatening non-Muslims;

  13. Lawrence says:

    i believe “Americas democracy” is going to kill America.

  14. Muhammad NaIya says:

    So from thepoint view of those against the Islamic Centre, every Muslim is an accomplice of the 9/11 attacks! What an irony. The people that want to build the mosque are citizesns of the United States, don;’t they have a basic right to freeedom of worship. Thanks to the extremist views of former President Bush and now Palin for this arrogant and concieted manipulation of religious sentiment. Now we undertsand why the extremists are so vociferous whenever tne United States of America in mentioned.

    1. wasabiwahabi says:

      Extremist? “Fight against them until there is no more disorder and Allah’s supremacy is established. If they desist, let there be no hostility except against the oppressors.” The koran supports murder, unless you, personally, disavow it.

  15. Blanche says:

    I think it’s the Muslims that proposed it for drama. Have I missed the building of a Christian, Jewish, Hindu, Buddhist center in Mecca?

  16. The gift of GAB says:

    Why should a religion have to get permission to put a church anywhere. They clock their racism by saying the other side should be sensitive. A lot of people said blacks that could afford to live in a white area should take into account the sensitivity of the white people who don’t want them there. On one of your stories somebody said the mosque was on ground zero, it is not, it is two blocks away.

  17. Tman_n_Nash says:

    President Obama is absolutely correct, any religious group in America has a right to build a church, center, etc. on private land if it is within the building codes and restrictions. To not allow Muslims to build their center while allowing other religious groups to have their centers, ministries and churches in the area, is exactly what America must avoid. At the same time, it shows that the Islamic community of Manhattan is not interested in gaining any respect in the area. It is insensitive and will never have the “positive” effect that they seem to be deluding themselves into believing it will have for the community. I suspect t they will spend have to spend a lot of money to protect the center from constant attacks. This will also be an added burden on the law enforcement of the area. I would be nice if, under the circumstances, the Islamic community would use the occasion to show their intent to be a healing force by respecting the sentiment of the community. Not to do so will be a backlash for them. That said, this is America. They do have the right, misguided though it may be.

  18. tellingitlikeitis says:

    Livingston…Islam is not a RACE so right their your comment is ignorant…Learn about ISLAMICS and how they build mosques on grounds they conquer and wake up..your freedoms will also be at stake if Islam one day dominates as that is their mission..but then again that would mean LOOKING UP things and learning about ISLAM…Look up AL-Taqiyya and THINK..The IMAM for this mosque is now tied to IRANIANS who are ??? look up Javed Larijani….Oh never mind..I can not make he blind see…but one day you will wish you paid attention..if not for YOU but for the kids in AMerica…

  19. Bill says:

    The Muslim community here in New York would further enhance

    their relations with fellow New Yorkers by voluntarily seeking an

    alternative location distanced from Ground Zero to build their

    community center. So many people are grieving the loss of loved

    one’s, this undertaking is in our face, it HURTS US DEEPLY.

    After the attack on Pearl Harbor would we have allowed the

    construction of a Japanese Shinto or Buddhist community center

    in the vicinity of the Arizona Memorial?

    I think not!

  20. Nic Kutsop says:

    As citizens of this country all people are endowed with the god given right to practice their religion openly and from fear of persecution. But past that this mosque should be considered a victory for all Muslim and non-Muslim citizens of America and especially NYC. This mosque means that we beat the terrorists, that they were unable to scare us into changing our American way of life. Nothing anyone can do will ever make us compromise our values and rights. We should wear our battle scars with pride and let the whole world know that we will never be defeated.

    1. wasabiwahabi says:

      “Nothing anyone can do will ever make us compromise our values and rights”
      This will.

  21. Jake says:

    See you in November.

  22. Livingston says:

    It certainly brings out the ignorant racists. The drama is way over the top. I think it will help lower Manhattan recover. Right now its a ghost town. Maybe it will motivate the rebuilding of the World Trade center so the families can move forward instead of still looking at a hole in the ground.

    1. AdamSmith says:

      Lower Manhattan a ghost town?
      Talk about ignorance and racism compounded, degree in idiotics Livingston??

  23. Daniel says:

    I would be surprised if only one muslim family agrees with Obama and the terrorist.

    1. josey says:

      i think its a disgrace that building a mosque in that particular spot is a disgrace and permitting it is only to get the moslem votes

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