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Obama Backs Islamic Center, Sort Of

Clear on developers’ rights, less on wisdom

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President Obama speaking Friday night.(Nicholas Kamm/AFP/Getty Images)

As you probably heard, on Friday night, while hosting a traditional Muslim Iftar dinner, President Obama expressed his support for Park51, the Cordoba Initiative Islamic center to be built a couple blocks north of Ground Zero.

Of course—perhaps because that side of the issue polls atrociously, both nationwide and even in New York City—it didn’t take 24 hours before the walk-back began: An Obama spokesperson said the president was merely passing judgment on religious freedom in the abstract, and then Obama himself added, “I was not commenting and I will not comment on the wisdom of making the decision to put a mosque there. I was commenting very specifically on the right people have.” Not sure if that is anything we can believe in. (Though a former Bush speechwriter finds plenty.)

Republicans, meanwhile, pounced, both responsibly (“This is not about freedom of religion,” said Sen. John Cornyn of Texas, “but I do think it’s unwise to build a mosque at the site where 3,000 Americans lost their lives as the result of a terrorist attack”) and irresponsibly (ahem), even as some wonder how Obama’s predecessor—a Republican, but one who made great strides to show tolerance toward Islam—would have handled this.

Meanwhile, someone makes the right-wing case for respecting property rights. At the most, Obama probably pushed the conventional wisdom in that direction. But beyond the civil libertarian angle—the only angle, incidentally, that in my humble opinion falls within, say, the Anti-Defamation League’s purview—is it right that the center be built there? Both the left and the right have their answers.

Obama Backs Manhattan Mosque [Ben Smith]
Republicans Slam Obama Over Ground Zero Muslim Center Remarks [Haaretz]

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Burton Paikoff says:

It’t nice to know how much we like and understand the rights to practice Freedom if Religion in the United States. These Moslem’s who wish to put a Mosque near Ground Zero must be told that Has an obligation to Defend that RIGHT. We and they know that there are IMAMS and Mosques in this Country that are recruiting and training young men and to Blow up Innocent Americans. If these Moslems are so bent on their Right in this Country then the should be Helping our Govenment to find these people. They should be gaurantying that they are not contributing to any of these people and working with our Government to weed them out. They seem to find it easy to demonstrate for their RIGHTS, but seem to be very quiet when their Fellow Moslems Cheer when Americans DIE.

It is Time our reporters and News Caster star asking these Question while covering these Demonstrations.

The point in this problem is not the right to build mosques and to worship according to one’s faith. There is no doubt that throughout the West – the Free World – that right exists. The argument is about the choice of the site – which appears to be a provocation to those who have lost a loved one in the cowardly 9/11 terrorist attack, as well, in fact, as to the rest of society.

The fact that this is even a subject of debate makes me wonder what country I’m living in or what century. I fear that the U.S. is becoming exactly what extreme anti-American forces want us to be: intolerant, self-serving, xenophobic bullies. The most healing thing I believe we could do in the physical environs of Ground Zero is to build centers for every faith, belief, until it becomes a monument to multiplicity and diversity – which is anathema to extremists of all persuasions!

Corey said it well for me.

It wasn’t the Muslim faith that brought down the twin towers. It was individuals who have interpreted Islam in a specific way to meet their socio/political/economic needs. There is diversity among Muslims on the meanings of specific beliefs as there is among Christians and Jews–and probably Buddhists, Hindus and other faiths that I’m not as familiar with; also, incidentally, among agnostics and atheists. The framers of the Constitution included the First Amendment precisely because they realized that the decisions regarding different faiths should be covered by law, rather than by the changing and unobjective interpretations of humans in power.

I have read the backgrounds and views of the people behind the Cordoba mosque and find them to be folks of the American tradition and values. I welcome them and their project to the city of my birth anywhere they wish to build their center.

Marty Janner says:

It is quite interesting to hear the contrasting views as to whether this center should be built at the proposed location. In my opinion those ranting negatively have not taken the time to investigate whom the principals are behind this project.

For one, these people are the same individuals who have done so much in NYC to bring different faiths together into a community of understanding. With a little effort, one can readily find their historical achievements and a diverse group of Americans who are in support of the center.

What is most disturbing, are those that are using this issue as a political football. One can certainly feel for those who may have lost loved ones, some of which are in favor,and some are inthe negative.

America has always been known for it’s liberality when it comes to the practice of religion, let us not now take a wide brush and discriminate against those whom wish to create a tool to bring people of all faiths together. If this comes to fruition, may it be a beacon of light and understanding!

TheDevilCanDance says:

What about churches? Hitler was a Catholic & he slaughtered millions of Jews and gentiles.

In volume I, at the end of chapter 2 of Mein Kampf, the Fuhrer said: “Hence today I believe that I am acting in accordance with the will of the Almighty Creator: by defending myself against the Jew, I am fighting for the work of the Lord.”

I don’t see any outrage over this ?!

But wait, the freaking Pope is a former Nazi party member and German soldier, everything comes in order finally….

All religions are mental disorder

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Great content material and great layout. Your blog deserves every one of the positive feedback it has been getting.


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Obama Backs Islamic Center, Sort Of

Clear on developers’ rights, less on wisdom

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