August 13th, 2010
10:10 PM ET

Transcript: President Obama at White House Iftar Dinner



State Dining Room

Good evening, everybody. Welcome. Please, have a seat. Well, welcome to the White House. To you, to Muslim Americans across our country, and to more than one billion Muslims around the world, I extend my best wishes on this holy month. Ramadan Kareem.

I want to welcome members of the diplomatic corps; members of my administration; and members of Congress, including Rush Holt, John Conyers, and Andre Carson, who is one of two Muslim American members of Congress, along with Keith Ellison. So welcome, all of you.

Here at the White House, we have a tradition of hosting iftars that goes back several years, just as we host Christmas parties and seders and Diwali celebrations. And these events celebrate the role of faith in the lives of the American people. They remind us of the basic truth that we are all children of God, and we all draw strength and a sense of purpose from our beliefs.

These events are also an affirmation of who we are as Americans. Our Founders understood that the best way to honor the place of faith in the lives of our people was to protect their freedom to practice religion. In the Virginia Act of Establishing Religion Freedom, Thomas Jefferson wrote that “all men shall be free to profess, and by argument to maintain, their opinions in matters of religion.” The First Amendment of our Constitution established the freedom of religion as the law of the land. And that right has been upheld ever since.

Indeed, over the course of our history, religion has flourished within our borders precisely because Americans have had the right to worship as they choose -– including the right to believe in no religion at all. And it is a testament to the wisdom of our Founders that America remains deeply religious -– a nation where the ability of peoples of different faiths to coexist peacefully and with mutual respect for one another stands in stark contrast to the religious conflict that persists elsewhere around the globe.

Now, that's not to say that religion is without controversy. Recently, attention has been focused on the construction of mosques in certain communities -– particularly New York. Now, we must all recognize and respect the sensitivities surrounding the development of Lower Manhattan. The 9/11 attacks were a deeply traumatic event for our country. And the pain and the experience of suffering by those who lost loved ones is just unimaginable. So I understand the emotions that this issue engenders. And Ground Zero is, indeed, hallowed ground.

But let me be clear. As a citizen, and as President, I believe that Muslims have the same right to practice their religion as everyone else in this country. (Applause.) And that includes the right to build a place of worship and a community center on private property in Lower Manhattan, in accordance with local laws and ordinances. This is America. And our commitment to religious freedom must be unshakeable. The principle that people of all faiths are welcome in this country and that they will not be treated differently by their government is essential to who we are. The writ of the Founders must endure.

We must never forget those who we lost so tragically on 9/11, and we must always honor those who led the response to that attack -– from the firefighters who charged up smoke-filled staircases, to our troops who are serving in Afghanistan today. And let us also remember who we’re fighting against, and what we’re fighting for. Our enemies respect no religious freedom. Al Qaeda’s cause is not Islam -– it’s a gross distortion of Islam. These are not religious leaders -– they’re terrorists who murder innocent men and women and children. In fact, al Qaeda has killed more Muslims than people of any other religion -– and that list of victims includes innocent Muslims who were killed on 9/11.

So that's who we’re fighting against. And the reason that we will win this fight is not simply the strength of our arms -– it is the strength of our values. The democracy that we uphold. The freedoms that we cherish. The laws that we apply without regard to race, or religion, or wealth, or status. Our capacity to show not merely tolerance, but respect towards those who are different from us –- and that way of life, that quintessentially American creed, stands in stark contrast to the nihilism of those who attacked us on that September morning, and who continue to plot against us today.

In my inaugural address I said that our patchwork heritage is a strength, not a weakness. We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus —- and non-believers. We are shaped by every language and every culture, drawn from every end of this Earth. And that diversity can bring difficult debates. This is not unique to our time. Past eras have seen controversies about the construction of synagogues or Catholic churches. But time and again, the American people have demonstrated that we can work through these issues, and stay true to our core values, and emerge stronger for it. So it must be -– and will be -– today.

And tonight, we are reminded that Ramadan is a celebration of a faith known for great diversity. And Ramadan is a reminder that Islam has always been a part of America. The first Muslim ambassador to the United States, from Tunisia, was hosted by President Jefferson, who arranged a sunset dinner for his guest because it was Ramadan —- making it the first known iftar at the White House, more than 200 years ago. (Applause.)

Like so many other immigrants, generations of Muslims came to forge their future here. They became farmers and merchants, worked in mills and factories. They helped lay the railroads. They helped to build America. They founded the first Islamic center in New York City in the 1890s. They built America’s first mosque on the prairie of North Dakota. And perhaps the oldest surviving mosque in America —- still in use today —- is in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

Today, our nation is strengthened by millions of Muslim Americans. They excel in every walk of life. Muslim American communities —- including mosques in all 50 states —- also serve their neighbors. Muslim Americans protect our communities as police officers and firefighters and first responders. Muslim American clerics have spoken out against terror and extremism, reaffirming that Islam teaches that one must save human life, not take it. And Muslim Americans serve with honor in our military. At next week’s iftar at the Pentagon, tribute will be paid to three soldiers who gave their lives in Iraq and now rest among the heroes of Arlington National Cemetery.

These Muslim Americans died for the security that we depend on, and the freedoms that we cherish. They are part of an unbroken line of Americans that stretches back to our founding; Americans of all faiths who have served and sacrificed to extend the promise of America to new generations, and to ensure that what is exceptional about America is protected -– our commitment to stay true to our core values, and our ability slowly but surely to perfect our union.

For in the end, we remain “one nation, under God, indivisible.” And we can only achieve “liberty and justice for all” if we live by that one rule at the heart of every great religion, including Islam —- that we do unto others as we would have them do unto us.

So thank you all for being here. I wish you a blessed Ramadan. And with that, let us eat. (Applause.)

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: 'Ground zero mosque' • Barack Obama • Muslim • Politics • Religious liberty

soundoff (135 Responses)
  1. Angelina

    Hooray for Reality! Hussein Obama – need one say more? He sucks up to them – like he did when he went overseas to apologize to them – for what? For killing innocent people and blowing up our buildings? The United States of America was founded on freedom, not suppression, or capitulation. I have no problem with any religion or construction of any building to worship a religion. But a mosque close to ground zero is an insult and they know it and they are doing it on purpose. The Imam and his old lady are contentious and spiteful. Maybe Michelle Obama is having an outfit made for the opening day – oh, not that she would be allowed in there most likely its for men only. Join the march on 9/11 to protest this ridiculous idea. Shame on Mayor Suck Up Blooomberg and all the other butt kissers.

    August 14, 2010 at 3:04 am |
  2. Ghada

    People who don't agree with Obama..he is a peace man.. he wants to make peace not war like Bush!
    Why don't you hate Muslims and Islam this much? it is a peaceful religion but the problem is that you believe Bush's lie that 11-9 is Muslims attacks while it's a big drama produced by Bush. You know the whole story, you know that the Jew is behind that disaster so don't act like you don't know!
    And the Jews control the American media so most of you don't know the truth.
    We Muslims don't hate you and want a better world. Our religion taught us to love all people from all races and religions but what you know about us is wrong. You are brain washed by the western media.

    August 14, 2010 at 3:02 am |
  3. Patty

    one nation under God....hmmm... who's God are we under?

    August 14, 2010 at 2:18 am |


      August 14, 2010 at 12:38 pm |
  4. Judi JJ

    This is wrong. President Obama (who I originally voted for, but, would never vote for again) is not America personified. He is slapping us in the face with 911, and for one can not stand by without putting in my opinion. I thought we needed change, but not to a communist/socaiistic government. We are America! When do the rest of us figure out what made us the USA? We can be afraid or lax in presenting our opinions, but, I for one, don't want where we are heading. Come on America, get us back to where we need to be! Get with it!!!!

    August 14, 2010 at 1:43 am |
  5. So Sad

    Our forefathers would roll over in their graves after hearing this. Would President Truman have let the Japanese build a temple next too the Arizona memorial in 1950? HELL NO.. Americans would have thrown him out on his rear. This statement that the president made is disrepectful to our dead. He should have to make this speech in front of the families of the 3000 people who died that day. -Former Ground Zero Telecom Worker-

    August 14, 2010 at 12:10 am |
  6. Mr. Wizard

    Yep Obama use the constitution when it suits you but ignore it in every other way. Our constitution is about limiting government a concept you can’t understand. Those of us that pay attention knew he would do this BEFORE he was elected. Surprised no, disgusted yes. I'm telling you there is a hidden agenda being pursued. And by the way, those non believers he spoke of HAVE NEVER HAD FREEDOM. That is a big lie as they are persecuted in this country. Don't believe me just tell someone that you don't believe in god and see the reaction.

    August 13, 2010 at 11:59 pm |
  7. Reality

    BO has been blinded by Saudi money. How can anyone support Islam, this horror of a religion!!!

    One more time:

    Mohammed was an illiterate, womanizing, lust and greed-driven, warmongering, hallucinating Arab, who also had embellishing/hallucinating/plagiarizing scribal biographers who not only added "angels" and flying chariots to the koran but also a militaristic agenda to support the plundering and looting of the lands of non-believers.

    This agenda continues as shown by the massacre in Mumbai, the assassinations of Bhutto and Theo Van Gogh, the conduct of the seven Muslim doctors in the UK, the 9/11 terrorists, the 24/7 Sunni suicide/roadside/market/mosque bombers, the 24/7 Shiite suicide/roadside/market/mosque bombers, the Islamic bombers of the trains in the UK and Spain, the Bali crazies, the Kenya crazies, the Pakistani “koranics”, the Palestine suicide bombers/rocketeers, the Lebanese nutcases, the Taliban nut jobs, and the Filipino “koranics”.

    And who funds this muck and stench of terror? The warmongering, Islamic, Shiite terror and torture theocracy of Iran aka the Third Axis of Evil and also the Sunni "Wannabees" of Saudi Arabia.

    Current crises:

    The Sunni-Shiite blood feud which is costing US taxpayers billions of dollars every year and the warmongering, womanizing (11 wives), hallucinating founder.

    August 13, 2010 at 11:53 pm |
    • Richard

      If you are American, work within the system to address any real issues. If things are like you say, then have a little faith in our military and intelligence people – they are on top of this wayyy more than you'll ever be.
      So don't worry so much, k? If there's any nasty consp1racies going on, trust in the people whose job it is to be on top of that stuff. It's too much for one person. Work with the rest of us and you'll be glad you did.

      August 14, 2010 at 12:02 am |
    • Jeffrey Young, Sr

      In response to your interpretation of Islam I beg you to read of the many battles of the Jews in the old testement as they founded Judaism; I implore you to study the battles and carnage that are the crusades; the horrors that embody the Inquisition; the justification of salvery and the conquest of the western hemisphere and then come and we can talk about how religions have been used throughout history to justify war, conquest and inhumanity. Islam holds no distinction as a religion filled with death and destruction. All monotheistic religions have been used as weapons of war, reasons for war or as reasons for conquest.

      August 14, 2010 at 5:33 am |
      • Observer

        Yes, all Abrahamic religions (Judaism, Christianity, and Islam) had there fare share of violence, terrible atrocities, injustice, and bigotry – just read the historic accounts and Holly Books. However, there is the difference: when Judaism and Christianity overwhelming mainstream-majority religious scholars re-interpreted this historic violence in non-violent metaphysic way, Islamic scholarly – mainstream(!) – still interpretation this violence literally and showing it as legal obligation!
        Example: In the Jewish law disrespect to ones parents are a crime punishable by stoning to death. This law derived from the Ten Commandments and, therefore, too fundamental to be repealed or overridden. However, Jewish scholars saw the imbalance in crime-and-punishment in this case and put so high bar for proof (it should be in public and observed by minimum number of people and be in specific words and with particular intend and so-on and so-on), that this law became technically unenforceable already in times of Jesus 2000 year ago. Now, look at the stoning case for alleged (not even proven beyond reasonable doubt) adultery in Iran of year 2010 AC. Please, show me a mainstream widely respected Islamic legal scholar who holds active official capacity and publicly working on repealing stoning for adultery on a legal Sharia ground (not just for current individual case to “save face” of Iran on international arena, even this was never reported). Did you found one? No? Then maybe ANY recognized Islamic legal scholar? I would be happy to get big list of brilliant names, but I afraid it’s too much to ask. (I’m sure that many Muslim opposing it on the personal level, but I’m looking for a legal authority in Sharia)
        It’s only one example and I can point to numerous others. If you want to dive in it, please look TORA (Old Testament) numerous cases of violence and it’s interpretation in Talmud (interpretations and Jewish legal writings) and in Koran and Sharia legal writings.
        Well, you can say that Islam is 2600 younger the Judaism and 600 year younger then Christianity and Christianity of early 15th century just started to get over violence of centuries of Crusades (where, by the way, more Christians died then Muslims) and kept fires of Inquisition burning, but we live now and can’t wait another 600 years till Islam will mature to level of nowadays Christianity.

        August 14, 2010 at 5:11 pm |
        • GABRIEL


          IS IT HIM YOU SEEK?

          August 14, 2010 at 5:30 pm |
        • freddy

          Lame analysis!!

          August 14, 2010 at 6:19 pm |
        • (B)iraq Hussein Osama

          hopefully, Islam will not mature to the level of the christianity that Born Again Bush and his bigoted right w ing voter base practices!

          August 15, 2010 at 2:31 am |
        • Observer

          I'm not sure you're getting the point: As long as stoning for adultery is a legal Islamic value, I’m in doubt Islam will promote tolerance. Freedom of religion is a fundamental American value; however it’s not applied to religious cults (and this was upheld numerous times). I’m not a legal scholar and I don’t know if promotion of stoning enough to constitute a “cult” designation...
          Anyway, as Islamic community is highly intolerant to any offence (even like drawing of “Muhammad” in far-away non-Islamic land by newspaper cartoonist; as no-one knows how Muhammad looks like, the “offence” only in cartoon title, otherwise you need to assume that “real portrait” exists and known to Muslims), it should be evenly sensitive to not causing offence to others. The supporters of this mosque should take an offer (multiple options have been reported including one from Governor of NY) for alternative site and let to use this site for NON-DENOMINATIONAL community center (same as designed, but without mosque on-site).

          August 15, 2010 at 11:59 am |
      • concerned one

        But Christianity doesnt ask anyone to kill anyone or declare war on anyone. In the new testament – which is our testament – there is no hint of was or violence...How people have behaved in history after the early centuries of persecution was a different matter,,,
        Islam promotes violence as a way of spreading religion-thats mostly how it was spread, by the sword- and promotes JIHAD – holy war.

        The New Testament doesnt promote war. So you cant compare Christianity and Islam – not at all. In christianity God became man, the bible is translated into each and every language – Islam asks its adherents to learn arabic. Thats how they keep one culture across many countries...
        In every country muslims will be among the people who do illegal activities....smuggling, prostitution,,money laundering,sending illegal money to any country, sending people illegally to countries including USA...
        "he will be a wild donkey of a man, his hand will be against everyone and everyone's hand will be against him, and he will live in hostility toward all his brothers" Gen 16.12

        August 15, 2010 at 4:16 am |
    • Reality

      Actually, the major reason for the sometimes misguided crusades was to stop the spread of warmongering Islam. Obviously, another crusade has begun

      August 16, 2010 at 3:52 pm |
  8. Debbie

    Every religion can be debated by every other religion but I think the point is more about the sensitivity of where the mosque is being built not that the mosque is being built. Why must it be built where so many lives were lost and so many lives were affected by those losses. Why is it so important that it be built in that particular space? As for our President, the majority voted for him (I did not) but he is my President. As my President, I would like to see him spend more time in the Oval Office working on issues such as our economy, education and the health and welfare of our elderly than appearing on every talk show or sitting down and having a beer and playing peace maker between two grown men, etc.

    August 13, 2010 at 11:52 pm |
    • (B)iraq Hussein Osama

      the idea behind building the mosque near 9/11 is to expose to America its racist nature. That it wants "moderate islam" to rear its head and point fingers at radical islam, but when the moderate muslims try to build a mosque to promote their message of peace, than it is not OK. you want moderate muslims to fight radical terrorists, but you do no want to give moderate muslims the same rights as everyone else. It is not a mosque, it is a mirror on your face showing your own hypocrisy.

      August 14, 2010 at 3:32 am |
    • Robert

      Absolutely correct Debbie.
      Dear (B)iraq Hussein Osama , a bit argumentative aren't you-what are you hiding under that mask of hate.
      Do you know who your daddy is?

      August 14, 2010 at 1:37 pm |
  9. CatholicMom

    The President wishes to educate us and the world on the Muslim’s religion. Will he do the same to help the world understand Christianity, and other religions also or just the one he is most familiar with?

    August 13, 2010 at 11:49 pm |
    • Omar

      He made similar addresses for passover, easter, and diwali

      August 14, 2010 at 2:04 am |
    • DontDistort

      Stop it. Oh, you poor christian, you are so persecuted. Virtually every member of congress, the president, and the almost every supreme court justice is a christian. You aren't persecuted. Everyone knows about christianity, you cram it down our throats everyday. If you were really so happy in your life, you'd live it, and let everyone else live theirs as they see fit too, but no, you feel like you have to make everyone see the world the same as you, live just like you, believe as you believe. That is the problem with religion; you are the example of what is wrong with religion.

      August 14, 2010 at 8:07 am |
    • Joshua

      A Mosque Symbolizes the Muslim religon, A symbol of that religion at ground zero is worst possible place to do this support this religion to americans. Are we going to go build a church somewhere in a bomb crater over in Iraq or Afganistan and expect their culture to agree with it. This is the dumbest Idea you have had yet Mr President. You will not be getting my vote.

      August 14, 2010 at 11:16 am |
    • freddy

      He's not catholic

      August 14, 2010 at 6:21 pm |
    • Fatima

      Brohters and Sisters,

      Please get to reality , revise history and then make your judgment , terror has no nationality nor religion it's about goals,
      Islam is the religion of mercy and if you want to make a fair opinion you may need to go through quran that tells you about the justice that must be implemented towards all other relgions.

      Just for every one's information there are CHURCHS in every muslim country and maybe with equal number to mosques and christians are living there with happiness and similar rights , hence muslims in america should be treated the same.

      I think Obama is trying to form a unity of society in his country which is a great goal that every leader should strive for.

      Best regards to all of you.

      August 22, 2010 at 8:52 am |
  10. Rob

    well enough of this. i should've known better than to read or even post to cnn.com. most of you are exactly what's wrong with America. i'm done with this and this web site.....over to foxnews where the real Americans hang out. Most of you live in a fantasy world i am not accustomed to nor willing to enter into.

    Later Liberals.

    August 13, 2010 at 11:43 pm |
  11. Joe

    If the 9/11 murders can get us, as Americans, to stop defending our own principle of freedom of religion, then the terrorists have already won. Whether or not the majority of Americans think it's wrong doesn't make it so. Well said, Prez!

    August 13, 2010 at 11:39 pm |
    • richard

      well stated joe. this was the point of the 9/11 attack anyway. to get americans to denounce their values and principles all in the name of security. and this real amaricans concept is also poison to our values and principles and as the cheif defender of our constitution, the president had to come forward withh this statement.

      August 14, 2010 at 1:30 am |
    • richard

      It is important that people who believe in the values and principles of the constitution (ie freedom, and rights afforded to all) to continue to expose this sour tone that have developed in american with respect to such freedoms and keep before its citizenery these principles through these types of websites. get you views out.

      August 14, 2010 at 1:39 am |
    • Will


      August 17, 2010 at 8:47 am |
  12. Disgusted

    This is a disgrace. Would Truman have allowed the Japanese to build a shrine on the beaches of Pearl Harbor less than ten years after the fact? You know how Michelle Obama said that the first time in her life that she was proud of her country was when her husband was elected? Well I can tell you that the first time I have ever been embarrassed by my country's leadership was after her husband was elected. My brother is currently serving this country in Afghanistan and I hope they censor the news so he doesn't have to hear this bulls*&t.

    August 13, 2010 at 11:37 pm |
  13. Richard

    What our President has done is to show leadership, wisdom, strength, loyalty to the American people, and he has reaffirmed his Oath of Office in defending the U.S. Const1tution from a lot of ninnyhammers.
    If you are American and love the USA, then show it with support for the freedoms that make this country great.
    I respect the President for standing up and showing us the way when he could have gone golfing instead -like his predecessor.
    Bush constantly violated his Oath of Office along with Cheney, Rove, Rumsfeld, and all his other cronies. If you want to complain about "muzlins", go talk to them. They feed off of people like you.
    There are times I don't like freedom of religion and how some criminals hide behind it, but I will work within the system all I can because that is what Americans are supposed to do.
    As for the bigots, racists, and others of that ilk, we need a way to give you access to mental health professionals. Hate is a disease of the mind with some of you "muzlin haters".

    August 13, 2010 at 11:37 pm |
    • Big Boy

      Keep loving what our politicians are doing and you will awaken one day in a foreign land! Just because we have freedoms in our country, it doesn't give rights to do whatever your heart desire. There must be limitations placed on all freedoms, if not, our country will spiral out of control. Can you cry “fire” in a crowded theater? Would you feel the same if the KKK or some other radical group wanted to build near the 9/11 site? You would rightly discern that it would be more than about the building of the structure, it is about an ideology and changing the minds and hearts of the people. We must exercise wisdom in this instance. Wisdom is: the quality or state of being wise; knowledge of what is true or right coupled with just judgment as to action; sagacity, discernment, or insight. Build the Mosque, but not at this site. Remember thousands of Mosques have been built in this country and you have never heard anything said of it.

      August 14, 2010 at 7:39 am |
    • Pig's Eye

      You must be kidding.....this pres has done more harm to America and to freedom than all that came before him.

      August 14, 2010 at 11:18 pm |
    • Will

      Thank you Richard. non-emotional based reasoning prevails....

      August 17, 2010 at 8:42 am |
  14. Chris

    I agree & believe everyone has the righrt for religious freedom – but how insensitive can you be? I'm sure there are plenty of properties's to choose from to build your Mosque, but on the ashes of so many American's whom lost their lives during this horrible tragedy?? Sad. I'm so disappointed – and my list of disappointments continue to grow with the choice I made. But, there is a ray of hope, as I will not make this voting mistake again.

    August 13, 2010 at 11:35 pm |
  15. 1chordwonder

    Right on, Mr President! Well spoken. I am proud to have you for my President. Thank you and God bless.

    August 13, 2010 at 11:17 pm |
  16. Derek

    worst president ever, i can't believe this idiot.

    August 13, 2010 at 11:00 pm |
    • (B)iraq Hussein Osama

      outside of America, your idiot president is highly admired. They even gave him a Nobel Prize!! That is how highly he is thought of as a peacemaking statesman.

      August 14, 2010 at 3:27 am |
    • Shadia

      really??? so run a country into debt and going in to a war (bush)with eyes shut was a good thing? wow how stupidty runs rampant these days.

      August 14, 2010 at 12:58 pm |
    • Will

      Obama will be reviewed as one of the best Presidents if he keeps this up.

      The job of POTUS is not to cater to the whims of the ignorant populace. As POTUS, he carries the weight of the free world on his shoulders. He is responsible for making sure our Constitution's sanctity is passed on to the next generation or POTUS. The POTUS MUST fight for the Constitutional rights of the minority. They MUST risk political damage to do the right thing. He must be willing to take the punches from the ignorant masses and still maintain his dignity.

      In your simple world, you don't have to worry about much compared to him. Keep your world simple and no one will REALLY find out your weaknesses.

      August 17, 2010 at 8:40 am |
  17. elizabeth

    Mr President,
    I believe in reglious tolerance, but not the building a mosque in that area. Islam is intolerant of other religion, and as soon as anyone oppose them they cry Islamphobia.

    They have used England, Canada, and most of Europe's own anti-discrimination laws to expand Islam's ideology against them, and the same will happen here. When they went into these countries and built mosques, their intentions were all good, and loook what happened....radicalism. None of us know the future, but if Europe is any indication, we may well regret this decision.

    August 13, 2010 at 10:34 pm |
    • Shadia

      There are no "buts" in religious tolerance as there are no "buts' in freedom of speech. You are either for it of against it. U show such ignorance by equating a religion of 1.6 billion people with the acts of a few. How would u feel if I said Christanity was a dangerous religion b/c of what Timothy Mcveigh did? You wouldn't like that. Stop spreading "fear rumors"

      August 14, 2010 at 12:56 pm |
  18. dollarbill

    he is a joke!! are you kidding me? he is trying to play to both sides again!! did we allow the Japanese to set up a memorial at Pearl Harbor? would be even have given it a second thought? no way!! even FDR is turning in his grave!!

    August 13, 2010 at 10:30 pm |
  19. Rob

    Congratulations Obama (he does not, in my opinion even warrant the address Mr. President). You have sunk to a new low, Throwing your support to the Muslims and their mosque at ground zero. You have absolutely, without question, surpassed President Carter as the worst President in my lifetime (I am 47). The separation between church and state is still in effect....EXCEPT for the Muslims. Your pandering to the muslims is sickening. Your platform of being nice to the muslims so they won't bomb us is STUPID. How about pandering to the American people or to the Christians or to any other non-terrorist group that lives within the confines of the U.S. While you hold a dinner in the honor of the religion that supports terrorism and killing those that disagree with them, You have given the American people, Christians and most of all the survivors of 911 victims your middle finger. Thanks for being the weakest president I have ever seen. America has voiced their disagreement with the mosque at ground zero but like everything else, you could care less and move forward with your agenda. I guess that all your years of experience (JOKE) tells you that you know better that the majority of America. By the way, what is your agenda? Why don't you just come out and let everyone know instead of letting the liberal media continue to make excuses for you.

    August 13, 2010 at 10:26 pm |
    • elizabeth

      Rob, you are being unfair to the President, I may not agree with his support, but two wrongs does not make a right. we can disagree with each other and be respectful. This is just from a Christian perspective

      August 13, 2010 at 10:38 pm |
    • Rob

      Elizabeth, how are my comments unfair? Are the majority of Americans against this? Is this the wrong thing to do? Is he sticking his middle finger up to America and the relatives of the victims of 9/11? Yes, Yes and Yes. Wake up. Being a Christian doesn't mean that you have to cower. Jesus preached turning the other cheek (i figured that would be your response so i wanted to address it) but he also wreaked havoc on the money changers in the temple. Get a backbone and stand for what is right.

      August 13, 2010 at 10:52 pm |
    • Alicia


      Your distorted perspective is nothing more but a poor reflection of what a true American should be. I am not American, but a Malaysian. Growing up Catholic in a country with the national religion being Islam and with the current religious battle amongst Catholic and Islam there, yes, I have my own bias views about Islam. But still, I try to balance my views and dissect the Radicals from real Islam – that is the peaceful tolerant religion. What you have just said seems rather unjustified. Presumably you are educated, try reading the transcript thoroughly. It is the Al Qaeda that is the common enemy and not the Muslims. What a fair way to generalize the 1 billion other Muslims. Although the Al Qaeda may have stem from the radicalism of Islam, it is unfair to drag the rest of the 99.9% other Muslims.

      We teach our kids to kiss & make-up after a fight. And we punish kids in the wrong but at the end of the day, we don't encourage our kids to hate. Why do so yourself?

      So grow up for God sake. You are 47. You should know better than this.

      August 13, 2010 at 10:53 pm |
    • Rob


      for goodness sake, people, stop reading into what i am saying. i don't think i said anything about hating anybody. maybe i generalized but did not mean to. i am sure there are muslims who do not agree with the terrorists. obama has said that we need to help the terrorists understand us and they won't try to kill us.....that is a rediculous line of thinking. he is sending an imam that agrees with the terrorists as an envoy to the middle east on our behalf ( this is a slap in americans face and illegal as he is crossing the line of church and state). if you can't see that obama is pandering to the muslims and terrorists then you are blind. i am not a radical christian but i am an American and proud of my country. if you think that building a mosque at ground zero is the right thing to do, against the wishes of the American people, then please move to another country where the gov't gets to do whatever they want.....because that's where you belong.

      August 13, 2010 at 11:06 pm |
    • Alicia

      First of all, I am glad that you take pride in being American. I admire your patriotism but let's not be presumptuous that the rest of the 300 million Americans are exactly just like you or much so, share the same opinion as you do. ( That would be extremely disappointing after spending more than $100,000 on my education here, but thankfully, I have met well-educated, level headed Americans)

      By no means I was supporting the building the Mosque on Ground Zero. Everyone else in the world felt the pain when we saw the tower crumbled. I still remembered my dad crying as he watched the news on CNN, thousand of miles away from America.

      All I am saying that, the tone of your message sounded rather inciteful. The property was bought two blocks ( correct me if I am wrong) from Ground Zero. If they owned the property, why can't they build it there? Isn't that one of the main tenets in the Constitution, that one has the freedom to practice religion?

      I think it is slapped when I see Muslims burning and trying to bomb my church, but I still don't hate the Mosque two block down the road nor do I really believe in retribution.

      But anyway, these are just my two cents. I am not here to disregard your views but more so of exchanging them. And no, I am not moving to another country because I just goddamn invested $100,000 on my education here.

      August 13, 2010 at 11:35 pm |
    • Richard

      Rob, your posts are horrible and anti-American. I'll bet you don't even live in this country. Go peddle your anti-Americanisms somewhere else. America is strong with freedom. America has a strong President. Our Armed Forces are "can do" people.
      Our Const1tution remains the supreme law of the United States of America. Your posts aren't supreme anything but sick.

      August 14, 2010 at 12:14 am |
    • Rob

      ok one last one. Richard, I do live in this country. probably you don't as you can't see that obama doesn't adhere to a democracy. you're right, our constitution is strong and right....but obama believes it is outdated and thinks it needs to be changed. that is on record. but of course you don't know this because you just go by what cnn and all the other liberals tell you. based on your postings...you have no clue as to what you speak. obama is not a strong president. he is the weakest on record. since you agree with him, you must be a weak liberal who thinks America should aplogize for everything...including departing from England. You are a disgrace to America.....and you're an idiot!

      August 14, 2010 at 12:26 am |
    • (B)iraq Hussein Osama

      A Malaysian telling a 47 year old American to "grow up for Gods Sake"! too funny!

      you really do need to come here for a visit and see these gun-toting cartoon characters in person. Atleast you will give up on the idea of them growing up. We hope you will not lose the rest of your idealism.

      August 14, 2010 at 3:25 am |
    • SR


      Your rant was well thought out. If Obama persists on pandering to Islam so that they will go easy on us, he is a coward and our enemies can smell this supplicant's fear.

      Remember guys in America: this may be a story of one state in India. But it is going to be America's future. I guarantee this will happen in New York city pretty soon. This is the next step for Muslims.

      "There’s nothing surprising about the rash-like emergence of violent Islamism in Kerala. God’s Own Country, as Kerala was known for its natural splendour and cultural heritage, is rapidly turning into the springboard of jihad in India. This hasn’t happened overnight, nor has Islamism spread its tentacles over the past few months to make its presence felt in the most shocking manner: The attack on a professor for allegedly denigrating Islam has served to highlight the seeping terror unleashed by homegrown jihadis.

      The rain-gorged verdant plains and hills along the lush Malabar coast are fast turning into the billious green of radical Islam. Roadside brick-and-mortar glass-fronted shrines dedicated to Virgin Mary with flickering candles lit by the devout and ancient temples with amazing hand-crafted brassware and bell metal utensils that once celebrated the Hinduness of Kerala are overshadowed by spanking new mosques that seem to be mushrooming all over the place. Not only are they built with Arab money — donations by Muslim Malayalees working in Gulf countries, especially Saudi Arabia, add up to only a fraction of the cost — but they also symbolise the increasing influence of Arab ‘culture’, which is largely about visible manifestations of Islam and Islamism, that threatens to stamp out Kerala’s rich indigenous culture. Huge billboards, advertising ‘Arab Pardha’ in English and Arabic, now jostle for space along with those advertising jewellery, new apartment blocks and investment schemes. The ‘Arab Pardha’ billboards are illustrated with larger than life images of women clad in head-to-toe burqas: They look shapeless and formless, their identity smothered by black fabric and their eyes barely visible through slits. “Arab Pardha”, declares one billboard, “All pious women should wear it.” The copywriter has it all wrong; it should have read, “All pious women should disappear behind it.”

      August 14, 2010 at 12:09 pm |
    • Tom

      Rob's outrage is little different from mine. Our culture, like any other culture, has many components beside the cold judgment of written statues of law. Maybe someone should open a store that specializes in selling cartoons of Mohammed next door to that mosque. Anyone have any problems with that? I would think Obama has given away any right to object.

      August 14, 2010 at 2:17 pm |
    • Arch

      I could not write or say it any better. I am a veteran and to see what is going on in this country now is just wrong. May God bless you!

      August 14, 2010 at 5:29 pm |
    • Patricia

      Rob, I so agree with you. It is a slap in THE AMERICAN'S WHO DIED IN THE TWIN TOWER ON 911!!!!

      August 14, 2010 at 10:25 pm |
    • Devoni

      Amen! You just said what I have been trying to put into words...can't WE THE PEOPLE take OUR COUNTRY back and RELIEVE this TERRORISTIC, EVIL IMPOSTER from his position as President of the United States????

      August 14, 2010 at 10:46 pm |
    • Pig's Eye

      Thanks Rob, well said.....I am a bit older than you and our nation has never been in more inept hands. I fear for the future of America and the freedoms that our ancestors fought and died to defend.

      August 14, 2010 at 11:12 pm |
    • Will

      Rob, it takes a STRONGER person to stand up for what is right and to do the right thing even when it rubs a lot of people the wrong way. You speak from a weak position. You do not carry the weight of the free world on your shoulders. To deny one of the basic tenets of our Constitution for the sake of emotion would be tantamount to the collapse of our country.

      Obama and Bush BOTH kept the silly anti-Islam bigots at bay. Bush visited Mosques immediately after 9/11 attacks to show our issue is NOT with Islam. Obama is attempting to keep to high ground so that America's moral supremacy is supported.

      Obama and Bush are protecting our country from the terrorists within....namely people like YOU! You would destroy the fabric of our country to make yourself feel better. You should never run for political office for you will surely get your district/town/state/etc sued for violating someone's civil rights.....and, before you think otherwise, civil does not mean race related...

      August 17, 2010 at 8:03 am |
    • Will


      yes, if someone opens a shop displaying cartoons offensive to Muslims, not profane or obscene, they have that right, also. This is a VERY important right in our country. You all that want to deny this to one set should REALLY stop to think about what you are promoting. One day, your children or grandchildren will be minorities in this country. Christians may not be the majority.

      Are you prepared for true majority rule even if you are not in the majority?

      The laws and the Constitution are in place to protect the few FROM the many. It is not to uphold the beliefs of the majority. it is to ensure the majority can't impose tyranny against those without the strength of the many. The Constitution negates the power of the masses and, instead, promotes righteousness even if from only one person.

      YOU, as an individual, can choose to not worship any god and not salute any flag.

      YOU, as an individual, can't choose to hire people based on their religional beliefs, sex, or national origin.

      I, as an individual, can choose to be your friend and socialize with you whereever we choose.

      I can't own a bar, though, and say only SOME people can come in to have a drink unless I follow the laws within that city to make it a private club. Even then, the private club can't discriminate against potential members based on the protected classes within the Constitution because even private clubs use public facilities to function. My tax dollars should not be used to discriminate against me.

      The Islamic center is being built on private property within the laws and rules for the property location.
      You and I have nothing to say about it besides our useless opinions.

      And, that's how it SHOULD be.

      August 17, 2010 at 8:34 am |
  20. Rick

    When should a US President get involved in the matter of where an Islamic Mosque be built? I think he would be better suited solving our dire economic problems rather then participating in a local issue of people who are still reeling from a national catastrophy! The people who live in NYC should be the ones who decide if such a place should exist near a site that was clearly an Islamic slap in our nations face. There is no problem with Islam. The proble is that the site of the mosque is insensitive and a slap in every American's face. Build the Mosque somewhere else, not at the world trade center.!

    August 13, 2010 at 10:23 pm |
    • rhonda

      This is about the first time I have disagreed with Obama. YES, this is America....Our America...Land of the Free.....But these different people with different religion are coming here on their own and are excepting all American's to change our religion and way of doing things. It's not right. Everyone of them should come here to live in a free world, but also learn the American way, including speaking english. But the Islamic center at ground zero, makes no human sence at all. It's not right...........If anything it should be a center to remember what stood there and who lost there. America can not bend over backwards to let all these people try to set up their county here. What do you think they would do if Americans went to their land and tried bulding our churches????? You know what,...... They would not let us..... Better re think this very hard for all Americans.

      August 14, 2010 at 12:33 am |
    • Dave

      this is unbelievable,theres no memorial for people of 9/11 to go pay respects,but if you bomb the US you get rewarded with a mosque right next to where you carried out your terror campain....nothing against islam,but at least build it away from a sacred ground

      August 14, 2010 at 1:43 am |
    • Andy Freedman

      Ground Zero is supposed to be a memorial for 9/11 victims obviously we have freedom of religion in America so yes Muslims can set up a Mosque however since this is a war not against all Muslims but against governments like the Taliban having a Mosque at Ground Zero weakens the type of emotions you want to allow mourners to be able to feel during the Coldwar we talked about being against the Russians but everyone obviously knew we meant the Russian government not the Russian people so while there were no Russian cultural centers near any coldwar memorials any individual Russian could buy a house in any community they chose to or eat in any restaurant and we would just assume they were here because they were against the Russian government obviously our Civil Rights laws do and should protect all people

      So while any Muslim because we have Federal Civil Rights Laws will and should be allowed into any restaurant,hotel,or apartment building and should be allowed to have a place of worship because this is a memorial to people who were attacked by a Terrorist group Al Queda that only was able to launch an attack because the Taliban allowed them to use their country as a base for an attack THE MOSQUE SHOULD NOT BE NEAR GROUND ZERO we weren't at war with the Russian people,we weren't at war with the idea of people being nice and sharing with eachother,we were at war with a dictatorial form of government so we were nice to Russian people but against there system by the same token we are not against Islam we are against the type of atrocities against women the Taliban commit so we will be nice to all Muslims in Ameirca they have a right to build mosques but we won't have the Mosque near the Ground Zero memorial especially while another state with that ideology Iran we are trying to deal with

      August 14, 2010 at 3:39 am |
    • Kent

      Goes to show you Obama is the antichrist as read in the book of Revelations. Woo the general public like he did prior to election, then turn on them to the devil's side. I can honestly say I did not vote for this man for exactly that reason. Frustrating to see it all now come true.

      August 14, 2010 at 11:24 am |
    • Jim

      Obama is wrong in so many ways. WRONG about AZ. WRONG about respecting Ground Zero. WRONG on $pending. November can't come soon enough.

      August 14, 2010 at 11:37 am |
    • Gordon

      August 14 2010
      It is truly a slap in the face of America for a President who has claimed to be muslin as well as one who has kissed the ring of a Saudi King. Americans are in for big trouble with this president. He has screwed up the economic situation for America now he wants to convert everyone to his muslin belief. Shame on those who voted for him.

      August 14, 2010 at 4:20 pm |
    • Angela

      Rick, I agree with you. It was the city of New York's responsiblity to accept or reject the building application of the mosque. One of the requirements of any building application is to establish that is the ONLY suitalble location for the proposed structure. The Planning Commission for the City of New York is to be held responsible for this mishap. The location for the structure was a poor decission. The citizens of New York need to take a stand against the mosque and do it for those who lost their lifes that sad September morning. I do not believe President Obama holds any responsiblity for the location of the mosque and by agreeing with it or not does not change our rights to freedom of religion expression. That is the beauty of being an American. If the Muslims want to be accepted as part of our country THEY ought to respect the feelings of those this location will impact.

      August 15, 2010 at 1:55 pm |
    • Annonymous

      You are one of the million Americans that obviously miss the point, in what our nations President is saying. He not only speaks for the people in New York or any one state for that matter. He speaks for all people. And for the millions of Muslims who are constantly ridiculed and attacked on a daily basis, because they have made a choice to live in Islam. Stop being ignorant and open your mind, this way you will seemingly start to relate to other peoples situations and start to empathize with the terror and attacks that not only does this country face, but the people of this country face, including the Muslims who have been born and raised here, and the ones who are here, only to serve their God and be good to themselves, and their fellow neighbors.

      August 19, 2010 at 10:55 am |
1 2 3 4
About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.