Washington (CNSNews.com) - One day before the ninth anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, President Barack Obama became adamant and emotional in defending the “inalienable” right of people “to practice their religion freely” and, specifically, “to build a mosque” two blocks from Ground Zero in New York City.
At a press conference on Friday, Obama was asked, “I wonder if I can get you to weigh in on the wisdom of building a mosque a couple of blocks from Ground Zero. We know that the organizers have the constitutional right. What would it say about this country if they were somehow talked out of doing that?”
The president said: “With respect to the mosque in
The president acknowledged the grief of the families of 9/11 victims killed when two hijacked planes were crashed into the World Trade Center in New York by radical Islamists, an attack plotted by the terrorist group Al Qaeda. But he stressed that the overwhelming majority of Muslims in the world reject extremist violence.
“I’ve got Muslims who are fighting in
Earlier in the news conference, the president referenced his own Christian faith after two polls from last month -- one by TIME magazine, the other by the
“We are one nation under God,” said Obama. “We may call that God different names, but we remain one. As someone who relies heavily on my Christian faith to do my job, I understand the passions that religious faith can raise. But I’m also respectful of people of different faiths even if they don’t subscribe to the exact same notions as I do and that they are still good people.”
The Ground Zero mosque became a national controversy after many 9/11 families protested its proposed construction because it was two blocks away from where the
Initially, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said that the matter was local and the White House would not get involved.
Then, at an Aug. 13 Iftar dinner for Muslims at the White House, Obama said that Muslims have the right to build the mosque.
“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. “And that includes the right to build a place of worship and a community center on private property in
Most opponents of the mosque acknowledged the developers have the right to build the mosque and community center, but they questioned the propriety of the location.
One day later, Aug. 14, Obama said he was only commenting on the right to build the mosque, not the “wisdom” of doing so.