At a White House dinner honoring Iftar (the first meal permitted during Ramadan), President Obama reversed previous statements by Robert Gibbs claiming the Ground Zero Mosque was a local decision, and fully embraced the project before a group of Muslims. Frank Gaffney reports at Big Peace:
As the AP reported, “President Barack Obama on Friday forcefully endorsed building 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 anyone else in this country,’ Obama said, weighing in for the first time on a controversy that has riven New York 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. This is America, and our commitment to religious freedom must be unshakable.’
“Our capacity to show not merely tolerance, but respect to those who are different from us-a way of life that stands in stark contrast to the nihilism of those who attacked us on that September morning, and who continue to plot against us today.”
Gaffney presents a quick rundown on some of the people present at the dinner with ties to Muslim extremist groups. It makes for sobering reading.
The American people are overwhelmingly against the mosque, understanding (as the President does not, apparently) the Islamic practice of constructing mosques to commemorate victories over infidels and symbolize Muslim dominance. The self-proclaimed reconciliation motive of Imam Rauf is not being served by construction of the mosque’ rather, it is aggravating the relationship between Muslims and the American people.
This move puts the mosque (and community center) squarely into the midterm election debate. It is a bit difficult for me to understand the motivation behind this move. Was the President pressured by some of his Muslim friends present at the dinner? Is this a heartfelt statement of principle? Or is this some Alinskyite move, intended to heighten contradictions and “rub raw” (in Alinsky’s words) the emotions of the public for yet-to-be revealed purposes? Certainly, from the standpoint of electoral advantage, it is not a logical move. Perhaps the President really does want a Republican Congress that he can run against in 2012.
Update: Andrew Malcom of the LA Times provides the official text of the President’s address, and the guest list for the dinner. These were no off-the-cuff remarks.
Rick Moran adds:
No one is really surprised at this – especially those of us who understand the overwhelming desire, even need, for liberals to be seen as tolerant and inclusive.
It’s not so much that they actually believe in those values. It’s not important that they believe. It’s that they have a compulsive need to be seen as supporting them, both as a measure of their own self-worth and as a sign to the rest of us that they are our moral superiors.
With 70% of the country opposed to building the mosque, Obama’s support also plays into the great liberal narrative that they are bucking the odds, standing on the battlements waving the bloody shirt of social justice despite the rest of the world being against them. If it sounds like an adolescent’s heroic daydream, you are spot on.
Now, if only those “moderate Muslims” who are building the mosque would take 10 seconds to acknowledge the fact that 9/11 was perpetrated by evil men who also happened to be followers of Islam, that would be a breakthrough. But since Imam Rauf and his crew have failed to dialogue with families of those who lost loved ones on 9/11 and have made statements in the past that places blame for the attack on the US, we won’t get any satisfaction from them.
And note the strawman argument; no one that I know is advocating the notion that Muslims have no right under the Constitution to build the mosque where they please. It has always been the idea that the stated reason for building the mosque flies in the face of the Cordoba Initiative’s actions. That, and the fact that Imam Rauf has some troubling connections to terrorists, and has made statements that would lead one to believe he is no friend of “tolerance and dialogue.”
I hope this statement by the president makes Democrats squirm. Imagine on the campaign trail or in a debate asking the Democratic candidate if he agrees with the president about the mosque? There will be much clearing of throats and hemming and hawing before any kind of an answer to that question is forthcoming.
WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama on Friday forcefully endorsed building 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 anyone 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.
Republicans were quick to pounce on the president’s remarks.
“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.”
Read more here.
Last week, a journalist who writes for the North Country Times, a small newspaper in Southern California, sent us an e-mail titled “Help.” He couldn’t understand why an Islamic Centre in an area where Adam Gadahn, Osama bin Laden’s American spokesman came from, and that was home to three of the 911 terrorists, was looking to expand.
The man has a very valid point, which leads to the ongoing debate about building a Mosque at Ground Zero in New York. When we try to understand the reasoning behind building a mosque at the epicentre of the worst-ever attack on the U.S., we wonder why its proponents don’t build a monument to those who died in the attack?
New York currently boasts at least 30 mosques so it’s not as if there is pressing need to find space for worshippers. The fact we Muslims know the idea behind the Ground Zero mosque is meant to be a deliberate provocation to thumb our noses at the infidel. The proposal has been made in bad faith and in Islamic parlance, such an act is referred to as “Fitna,” meaning “mischief-making” that is clearly forbidden in the Koran.
The Koran commands Muslims to, “Be considerate when you debate with the People of the Book” — i.e., Jews and Christians. Building an exclusive place of worship for Muslims at the place where Muslims killed thousands of New Yorkers is not being considerate or sensitive, it is undoubtedly an act of “fitna”
So what gives Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf of the “Cordoba Initiative” and his cohorts the misplaced idea that they will increase tolerance for Muslims by brazenly displaying their own intolerance in this case?
Do they not understand that building a mosque at Ground Zero is equivalent to permitting a Serbian Orthodox church near the killing fields of Srebrenica where 8,000 Muslim men and boys were slaughtered?
There are many questions that we would like to ask. Questions about where the funding is coming from? If this mosque is being funded by Saudi sources, then it is an even bigger slap in the face of Americans, as nine of the jihadis in the Twin Tower calamity were Saudis.
Read more here.
A new poll from Siena finds that 61 percent of New York residents and 56 percent of New York City residents oppose the proposed Ground Zero mosque. Only 33 percent of NYC residents support it. Here’s the breakdown:
By a margin of 61 to 26 percent, New Yorkers oppose the proposal to build the Cordoba House, a multi-story Muslim Cultural Center in lower Manhattan two blocks from the site of the World Trade Center according to a new survey released today from the Siena College Research Institute (SRI). New Yorkers have been following the new Arizona immigration law very closely and 52 percent support passing a similar law here in the Empire State. Seventy percent of New York residents say that the presence of 10 to 20 million illegal immigrants poses a somewhat (30%) or very significant (40%) problem to the U.S., and large majorities call for comprehensive immigration reform that would include enhanced border security (79%), the creation of a process for admitting legal temporary workers (70%), and implementing a tough but fair path to legalization for those already here (65%).
A New York City panel voted unanimously Tuesday to reject landmark status for a building near the World Trade Center site, paving the way for construction of a mosque and an Islamic community center.
Opponents of the project, including 9/11 first-responders and family members of victims of the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks, have said the location would be insensitive.
The mosque is slated to be part of an Islamic community center to be operated by a group called the Cordoba Initiative, which says the center will be a space for moderate Muslim voices.
Several members of roughly 50 people who attended the hearing applauded the ruling, while others shouted “shame” as commission chairman Robert Tierney called for the vote. The city Landmarks Preservation Commission then proceeded to vote 9-0 against granting landmark status to the site’s 152-year-old building, which can now be torn down to make way for the Islamic center.
One opponent, Linda Rivera, of Manhattan, held a sign reading, “Don’t glorify murder of 3,000. No 9/11 victory mosque.”
Read more here.