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Obama's Remarks on Mosque Plan Draw Quick Responses

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President Barack Obama's remarks Friday evening supporting the building of a mosque in Lower Manhattan several blocks from the World Trade Center site that was attacked on 9/11 drew immediate responses from both supporters of the plan and opponents.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg of New York, who has spoken in favor of the mosque, issued a statement on his website Friday night saying: "Two hundred and 20 years ago this week, the Father of Our Country penned his famous letter to the Jewish Community of Newport Rhode Island or, as he called them, 'the Children of the Stock of Abraham.' President Obama's words tonight evoked President Washington's own August reminder that 'all possess alike liberty.' As I said last week, this proposed mosque and community center in Lower Manhattan is as important a test of the separation of church and state as we may see in our lifetime, and I applaud President Obama's clarion defense of the freedom of religion tonight."

James Standish, who represents the Seventh-day Adventist Church to the United Nations, called the issue a "hoax." In The Washington Post, he wrote of the proposed mosque site: "It is separated by two full city blocks of towering buildings from the World Trade Center site. While the entire lower Manhattan might be considered "Ground Zero", the site of the mosque is separated visually and physically from the World Trade Center site. No one visiting the World Trade Center site will see it - unless they take a wrong turn on the way."

But Rick Lazio, a Republican candidate for governor and former congressman whose website has a petition urging Attorney General Andrew Cuomo to investigate the proposed mosque and the people associated with it, immediately criticized Obama and Cuomo, who is running for governor as a Democrat.

"President Obama and Attorney General Cuomo still are not listening to New Yorkers," Lazio said in a statement posted on his website. "With over 100 mosques in New York City, this is not an issue of religion, but one of safety and security through transparency."

He added: "President Obama along with Andrew Cuomo's silence nearly brought the civilian trial of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed to lower Manhattan. President Obama and Andrew Cuomo were wrong then, they are wrong now, and we made a promise to ourselves following 9/11 that we would 'Never Forget.' "

A spokeswoman for some of the families of 9/11 victims, Debra Burlingame, said, "Barack Obama has abandoned America at the place where America's heart was broken nine years ago, and where her true values were on display for all to see," according to The Associated Press.

Burlingame, the sister of one of the pilots killed in the attacks, called the mosque "a deliberately provocative act that will precipitate more bloodshed in the name of Allah."

Sally Regenhard, the mother of a firefighter who was killed on Sept. 11, said: "As an Obama supporter, I really feel that he's lost sight of the germane issue, which is not about freedom of religion. It's about a gross lack of sensitivity to the 9/11 families and to the people who were lost."

On Wednesday, before Obama made his remarks, a Time/CNN poll indicated that 68 percent of Americans oppose the mosque plan, compared with 29 percent in favor. Three percent were undecided.

NY1, the local cable news station in New York, found reactions in line with the Time/CNN poll, according to its website:
New Yorkers who spoke with NY1 had mixed opinions to the president's remarks.

"I don't think Obama should have any say influence over a New York state issue. I don't think it's a national issue, I think it's more of a state issue," said one New Yorker.

"It's a delicate issue. I think you have to be sensitive, but at the same time, I think you have to respect people's religious beliefs and rights -- and this is a free country. And all people of faiths passed in this tragedy here, not just Christians but Muslims also -- and we have to respect that," said another.

"Obviously we all believe in freedom of religion, but it's sacred ground for New Yorkers and Americans. It's a difficult topic. I don't know how wise it was for the president to interject," said a third.
Filed Under: Ground Zero Mosque

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Le Fay

Obama has a habit where he interjects himself into situations that cross the line between "States Rights" and the Federal Gov't, Once again Obama has failed to recall that he is not a King, or Dictator of the United States, but is an elected official and Head of State with a limited term. In the event Obama believes it is his duty to speak out on issues such as that which arose in New York, it's time for him to go back and read the constitution, likewise, the many important papers authored on the subject of States Rights before he starts a big fight on wheather this wonderful Union remains Unified.

September 27 2010 at 8:10 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

President Obama's comments are the most patriotic! People should be honered to have a man that can see through the horror, yet stick to our core beliefs.

September 11 2010 at 6:00 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

The mosque is a rallying point for those out to destroy our nation. It will be celebrated as a victory against America by those who supported the attack on America. It's being finananced by enemies of our country, including possibly our President. Separation of God and Country refers to the Gov't not supporting any one religion over another, not an attack on Christinanity and not the support of Muslins. No mosque, no gov't sponsorship of a mosque, and bring God back into our world.

September 07 2010 at 10:08 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Why was the Mosque called the "Cordoba Mosque" originally by the Founders. Once the opposition arose, the name was changed to 51Park. The Cordoba Mosque erected in Spain after the defeat of Spain by the Muslims was a Victory symbol. The opposition by Americans to the site of the Mosque was not a denial of religious freedom, but a denial of a Victory site commemorating a Muslim victory over Big Satan, the United States. In discussing the site by New York City panel was the same procedure followed if a Church or Synagogue were to be built on the site. Study of number of people living in area that will use the Mosque to pray? Number predicted to travel from other areas? How will traffic be affected? How much noise will be generated that may upset neighbors? None of this information has been provided so that an informed judgement can be provided.

August 27 2010 at 1:25 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply

Who were the former owners of the property. Just asking if by any chance it was the city. Would that voilate church and state. Well if it was were the aclu on this?

August 15 2010 at 12:02 PM Report abuse +4 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to dowdrmd's comment

No, it comes under Shari'a law.

August 17 2010 at 3:52 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply

After reading through all of the back-and-forth that anything involving President Obama always seems to generate,I don't think the issue of the mosque construction a few blocks from Ground Zero is as much a Liberal vs. Conservative issue, or an Obama issue, as it is a constitutional and legal issue. Sure, both ultra-liberal and ultra-conservative groups claim ownership of both the constitution and the law - but both are wrong. I think a mosque in this location is a bad idea, showing insensitivity and a flagrant disregard for the feelings of the majority of victims and their families. However, to DENY them the right to build it has no basis in law, and disregards the basic principals that the USA was founded upon. At the end of the day, we just don't think they should . . . and I count myself among that large group.

But we MUST not say they cannot, just because we think it's a bad idea.

For those who propose that a gay bar (or a pork slaughterhouse) next door, or a coat of pig's-blood paint surreptitiously applied are possible responses to the mosque . . . I feel we should extend the same rights and penalties under the law to whatever course of action they choose.

I also find the touting of the proposed mosque as any kind of "Peace Center" to be disingenuous at best. One is tempted to roll one's eyes and say "Yeah, right". And yes, perhaps that's just my own prejudices speaking, but I know what I know and I can't "un-know" it. I can't imagine any thoughtful follower of Islam actually believing that placing a mosque so close to the site of an attack on this nation by the followers of admittedly radical Islam would be seen as anything but provocative and offensive in the extreme. It's a bad idea, and the wrong thing to do.

But I believe we must not summarily deny them the right to do so.

Just my opinion.

August 15 2010 at 10:20 AM Report abuse +4 rate up rate down Reply

The president will not make a judgement either way, hmm...than if the KLAN wanted to build a church by Rosewood and have christian services there every day in full garb that would be okay and would be supported by the whitehouse? They say they are christians...and not all christians are bad. This would be okay? Or would not a prudent president, a GOOD president, an AMERICAN president, say, that this would not be appropriate and may be use one of his official side step the senate orders to not allow this and maybe give them ground 10 miles a way, remember these words BY THE PEOPLE (we have spoken) FOR THE PEOPLE (9-11 survivors). I

August 15 2010 at 9:10 AM Report abuse +4 rate up rate down Reply

This is a matter to be determined by the state of New York. It has nothing to do with our president, someone asked him his opinion, he gave it and as usual he is being criticised for it. There are probably radical islamic people in the apartment complex next to someone in New York who already do whatever it is they do and worship in some other house of a higher power there now. The key word is "radical islamic" There are radical people of all sorts, every where at every given moment of the day. Will they worship in that particular building? Who is to say. Start a petition, do the necessary steps to keep it from being built. If you truely do not wish it there, then do something about it and make sure it does not get built. Good luck New York you have a tough one on your hands God Bless You.

August 15 2010 at 6:10 AM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply

Above all the President must speak out in favor of protecting constitutional rights and lawful actions of people or a group of people. That we are witnessing such opposition to anyone exercising their rights speaks poorly of us as a nation.

August 15 2010 at 12:05 AM Report abuse -3 rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to sfamilyent's comment

nobody is saying that they do not have the constitutional right..WE KNOW THAT. Its about decency. I do NOT use derogatory racial words because its wrong. But guess what, the constitution says i can, but I dont out of respect for other people.

August 15 2010 at 4:29 PM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply

Any group that condones killing in the name of Allah does not deserve constitutional rights.

August 16 2010 at 11:55 AM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply

okay folks, go back to "ginone2"'s post, which in part states: "Constitution allows for freedom of religion, to practice what faith you hold. It does not uphold any right to BUILD a church, mosque, temple or even place a tent just anywhere the followers wish. I agree with "ginone2" and frankly I feel this is a deliberate slap to Americans by the muslins and their intention is not to honor the victims of 9/11 but to build a momument to celebrate the deaths of 3,000 innocent people. They know exactly how the MAJORITY of Americans feel about this mosque being built, but do you see them reconsidering another site? They are insulting both the victims and the United States. It's time for Americans to stop worrying about being politically correct and do the right thing. NO MOSQUE NEAR GROUND ZERO.

August 14 2010 at 11:27 PM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply

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