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Obama was for the Mosque, before he was against it

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Filed: Timeline
Down the rabbit hole we go: After speaking forcefully about the right of developers to build a mosque two blocks from the World Trade Center site on Friday, President Obama qualified his remarks. Speaking in Panama City, Florida, while visiting Gulf Coast region, he said, "My intention was simply to let people know what I thought, which was that in this country, we treat everybody equally and in accordance with the law, regardless of race, regardless of religion. 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 that dates back to our founding. That's what our country is about."

http://gothamist.com/2010/08/15/obama_clarifies_hedges_downtown_mos.php

President Obama's remarks Friday and Saturday on a proposed mosque and Islamic cultural center near Ground Zero sparked some heated exchanges on the Sunday morning news shows.

Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.) said on CNN's "State of the Union" that the issue is not that there's a legal right to build the mosque, but that those involved should listen to public opinion, which is strongly opposed to the project. He added that Obama's remarks indicate that he "is trying to have it both ways."

"If the president was going to get into this, he should have been much more clear," King said.

Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.), whose district includes Ground Zero, countered that there is a "fundamental mistake" behind the thinking of those opposed to the project.

"The fallacy is that al-Qaeda attacked us. Islam did not attack us," Nadler said. "It is only insensitive if you view Islam as the culprit, as opposed to al-Qaeda as the culprit." Nadler added that on the issue of where Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf and others involved ultimately want to build the mosque, "that's up to them, and government should not pressure them one way or the other."

Also appearing on "State of the Union," Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Chris Van Hollen defended Obama's remarks.

"I agree with the president," Van Hollen said. "I think the issue is one for the people of New York City." He added that "we should all agree that it would be wrong to politicize this issue."

Chief Deputy Minority Whip Kevin McCarthy responded by questioning Obama's decision to address the mosque issue.

"If Chris is saying this is a New York issue, then why did the president engage in it?" McCarthy asked. He added that when Obama brought up the issue Friday night, "he brought up the exact location and said he supported it." McCarthy also criticized Obama for wading into the controversy over the mosque rather than spending time focusing on jobs.

Meanwhile, on "Fox News Sunday," Sen. Jack Reed (D-R.I.) said that the issue of the mosque will be settled by local officials. He added that troops in Afghanistan are being asked to find common ground with Muslims.

"If we can't do that here in the United States, we're going to have a very difficult time over there," Reed said, later adding that "religious tolerance is what makes this country different from a lot of other countries."

National Republican Senatorial Committee Chairman John Cornyn responded that the issue is "not about freedom of religion."

"I do think it's unwise to build a mosque in the site where 3,000 Americans lost their lives as the result of a terrorist attack," Cornyn said, and accused Washington, the White House and President Obama of being disconnected from the mainstream of America. While Cornyn agreed with Reed that the issue will be decided by local officials, he didn't say whether the Republican Party will try to make the mosque an issue in November's midterm elections.

Republican strategist Ed Rollins didn't hesitate when asked on "Face the Nation" whether the mosque will be an issue at the ballot box.

"It's going to be a big, big issue for Democrats across this country," Rollins said.

http://voices.washingtonpost.com/44/2010/08/obamas-mosque-remarks-ignite-s.html

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Filed: Other Country: Israel
Timeline
"I do think it's unwise to build a mosque in the site where 3,000 Americans lost their lives as the result of a terrorist attack," Cornyn said, and accused Washington, the White House and President Obama of being disconnected from the mainstream of America. While Cornyn agreed with Reed that the issue will be decided by local officials, he didn't say whether the Republican Party will try to make the mosque an issue in November's midterm elections.

Not all who died on 9/11 were Americans, and that is something lost on so many. This is not just a NY issue, it's an issue of how much Americans value the progress that has been made in approaching their ideals of religious, racial and national equality in applying the defense of rights granted by God that no government is allowed to curtail. While rights are not absolute, emotionalism or feelings of superiority are not sufficient to cancel the right of any faith to be and to worship near or on Ground Zero. If it is to be known as sacred ground, that elevates the need to resist a move to exclude or marginalize any group on the basis of guilt by association.

I am ashamed of many of my fellow Americans re this issue. They have proven to me and others that they are willing to unfairly accuse and unwilling to learn about those they accuse. In the 10 years after 9/11/2001, there is still a gaping hole in the ground, a living monument to an inability to decide what to do. On the other hand, when a group of Muslims decide what they are going to do to heal the wounds, these same incompetent malactors about the hole in the ground attempt to shut down efforts to move forward.

Those that are stuck in hostile mode, who cannot move on from that day to build something productive and unifying on the graves of those of many faiths who died in that hole are not the ones who should be defining the dialogue. They will only take us down. They have demonstrated by their vitriolic propaganda and manipulations and that they do not deserve to lead. They must be excused, despite their exalted status among the wounded, and replaced by more level-headed and less hostile leaders who can take us forward toward something positive that we can build together and be proud to show the world how Americans represent and live our values.

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It is hardly having it both ways. I feel exactly the same. They have the right but fail to see why so many feel the location is wrong. The two sentiments are not diametrically opposed.


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So two blocks is too close? How far away is acceptable?

What I keep hearing is "at ground zero" when it's two blocks away and what I keep seeing is people who are making this place out to commemorate the "battle" that took place as if they're trying to build a trophy or something. They're building a mosque. A mosque is a house of worship, not a war trophy.

Are people really that ignorant to think it's an intentional slap in the face? Are they really insinuating that almost 2 billion people are choosing to worship 19 hijackers instead of their god?

Come on, America. Does tolerance only happen outside a two block radius?


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