Barack Obama backs Ground Zero mosque

By Philip Sherwell

President Barack Obama has offered strong support for plans to build a mosque and Muslim community centre near the Ground Zero site in New York where Islamic terrorists destroyed the World Trade Centre.

Mr Obama made his first public remarks on the proposals on Friday night after weeks avoiding comment on a controversial issue that has dominated headlines.

(Photo by Fliart)

At a dinner celebrating the holy month of Ramadan, he declared “as a citizen, and as president, I believe that Muslims have the same right to practice their religion as anyone else in this country”.

In remarks prepared for the annual White House sunset meal breaking the fast, he said: “I understand the emotions that this issue engenders. Ground Zero is, indeed, hallowed ground.”

But, he continued, “this is America, and our commitment to religious freedom must be unshakable. The principle that people of all faiths are welcome in this country, and will not be treated differently by their government, is essential to who we are.”

Robert Gibbs, his press secretary, said last week that the President did not want to “get involved in local decision-making” as controversy grew when New York city authorities removed the last planning hurdle to the project.

But Obama aides said the White House simply did not want to become involved while the city was delivering its verdict on the proposed Muslim complex two blocks from the site of the Sept 11, 2001, attacks on the Twin Towers. Read more: Telegraph

Source: Telegraph –  By Philip Sherwell

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The construction of a mosque near Ground Zero

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