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August 14th, 2010
03:04 PM ET

Obama on Islamic Center: not commenting on 'wisdom of making a decision'

CNN's Ed Henry talked exclusively to President Barack Obama today about his remarks last night in support of the controversial proposal to build an Islamic center in Lower Manhattan:

Ed Henry: What do you think about the reaction to your speech about the mosque?

President Obama: My intention was to simply let people know what I thought. Which was that in this country we treat everybody equally, 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 a decision to put a mosque there.

I was commenting very specificly on the right that people have that dates back to our founding. That's what our country's about. And I think its very important that as difficult as some of these issues are, that we stay focused on who we are as a people and what our values are all about.

Read CNN's story on his speech supporting the Islamic center near ground zero

Read Obama's speech

Read the Belief Blog's complete coverage of the Islamic center controversy

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: 'Ground zero mosque' • Barack Obama • Islam • Politics

soundoff (125 Responses)
  1. ICEMAN

    We have catholic monuments everywhere so if there's a group even worst than the ones some of you talk about then look in the mirror 100,000 million people died by the hands of the catholic church

    August 15, 2010 at 12:05 am |
    • Catholic

      Example???

      August 15, 2010 at 12:19 am |
  2. D.

    Erecting a mosque so close to ground zero will be a lightening rod for someone who believes in " an eye for an eye" and I fear that it might just come to this –just because a mosque could be erected so close to ground zero as a Constitutional right in the name of healing a better choice would have been not to.

    August 15, 2010 at 12:00 am |
  3. Nik

    I agree with the President. We should be fair. I think the main office of the Klu Klux Klan should next to the white house. I think a bust of Adolph Hitler should be at every Jewish place of worship. I think a Japanese flag should fly over the USS Arizona memorial. It was a mistake for Obama to open his pie hole on this issue as his opinion is necessary. We deserve everything we get.

    August 14, 2010 at 11:47 pm |
  4. amuslim

    Why are there so many people who gleefully lie to support their positions?

    It's a corruption of the soul and spirit to do this. Do you not understand?

    All these mistranslations and misrepresentations of the Quran is just plain evil. Don't you people understand the concept of evil?

    August 14, 2010 at 11:34 pm |
    • Matt J.

      Do they understand it? Good question. Probably not. There are two main obstacles to undestanding it in today's secular societies: 1) the growing number of radical secularists deny that good and evil really exist and 2) the Evangelicals deny that they have to participate in spiritual struggle against evil, since according to their twisted interpretation of the Atonement, Christ has already done all that for us. So they ignore EVERYTHING St. Paul says about the necessity for the Christian to participate in spiritual struggle.

      Why, many of them even deny that spiritual struggle exists, or that it is what it is.

      No wonder they turn to lying so easily. No wonder they so greedily lap up whatever outrageous lies are spoonfed to them.

      August 16, 2010 at 4:54 pm |
  5. Joe

    This is in the Qu'ran, the moslem holy book. make your own conclusion:

    “Take not the Jews and Christians for friends ... slay the idolaters [infidels] wherever ye find them. ...Fight against those who ... believe not in Allah nor the Last Day” (Sura 5:51; 9:5,29,41).

    August 14, 2010 at 11:11 pm |
    • vmprophet

      5:51 does not say all jews and christians, it says CERTAIN jews and christians, nice try though. 5:57 explains further which Jews and christians you should not befriend : O you who believe, do not befriend those among the recipients of previous scripture who mock and ridicule your religion, nor shall you befriend the disbelievers.

      9:5 does not simply say slaughter the idolaters but that would take too much brain to figure out. try posting from 9:4 because it talks about a peace treaty that must be upheld between the muslims then and those who were not and if they did not uphold it THEN you can fight and kill them. How do you break a peace treaty?? by attacking, does that make sense or do you want to go on and post snippets of things out of context to make your self seem smart. It must make people feel really smart to go on websites that confirm things they believe through lies? im not even going to bother pointing out whats wrong with the rest of your post

      August 14, 2010 at 11:22 pm |
    • CatholicMom

      Vmprophet,
      Would the CERTAIN Jews and Christians be the disbelievers? Then, if so, it would be all of them.
      Could you break a treaty by not believing in it and deciding to worship God?

      August 15, 2010 at 8:17 pm |
    • Matt J.

      You used too many ellipses, leaving yourself vulnerable to the rebuttal by 'vmprophet'.

      However, there is no reason to let his rebuttal stand. After all, the very last word is 'disbelievers', which according to Islam, would be ALL of us Christians, since we must refuse to recognize Mohammed as a prophet of God. So much for 'vmprophet's claim that the command only applies to SOME Christians.

      August 16, 2010 at 5:08 pm |
    • Remember the families of 911

      This is not about religion this is about 911! Jews did not kill Americans on 911! Americans did not murder the people in the Twin Towers. The Muslims did! This is about the murder's of innocent people on 911! After the towers went down........who burned our flag? who laughed in the streets? It is a slap in the AMERICAN PEOPLE'S FACE. Build your Mosque build it in Death Valley but do not build it where thousands of people lost their lives on 911.

      August 16, 2010 at 6:01 pm |
  6. vmprophet

    It will be build because there is nothing wrong with it and nothing you can do about it. Christians were not the only innocent people that died that day in the towers, get over your ignorent hateful selves and realize that the world does not revolve only around you and what freedoms you want to apply to you or other people

    August 14, 2010 at 11:10 pm |
    • Tray

      Thank and the message above this one. I could not have said it better my self. I would like to old to it

      Greetings,

      To all that move in love not hatred. I am shocked at many of these comments, how is it that we can to care when situations suit us. It is a sad time when lives are lost anywhere not just when you feel offended that is the way of a Christian. Mr. Obama is current in his statement about the rights of our county, I believe most people listen but cannot hear, the nasty comments is apparent of this double talk. If you open your eye's and ear you may see that Mr. Obama speaks clear and direct, in doing what is fair and right for all people and not just one group. You hear nothing but hatred because that's what moves you. Wake up and move in truth. Look inside and around you know what truth is. Forgive as you were forgiven.

      August 15, 2010 at 7:29 pm |
  7. Amrullah Yousafzai, Margalla Hills

    Obama did not oppose the mosque, Obama did not support the mosque.

    Obama said that the people who want to build the mosque are not breaking any law, and have the right to build it there.

    August 14, 2010 at 11:00 pm |
  8. ANNETTE BENGTSON

    THE ISLAMIC CENTER TO BE BUILT WILL BE THREE BLOCKS AWAY FROM GROUND ZERO-DO WHAT IS THE PROBLEM? WE CAN NOT LET THE TERROISTS THAT DID THE BAD THINGS ON 9-11 TEACH US TO HATE ALL PEOPLE OF THIS FAITH-THERE ARE GOOD AND DECENT PEOPLE OF THE ISLAMIC FAITH ,AS THERE ARE BAD PEOPLE OUT THERE THAT CALL THEMSELVES CHRISTIANS. WE MUST LEARN TO BE TOLERANT OF ALL FAITHS. THEY SHOULD BE ABLE TO BUIILD THEIR CENTER THERE AND WE SHOULD REMEMBER THAT PEOPLE OF ALL FAITHS DIED ON 9-11 AT GROUND ZERO--REMEMBER WE HAVE PEOPLE HERE PREACHING THAT THEY ARE CHRISTIANS AND STILL PREACH HATE-WE MUST ALL REMEMBER TO TEACH OUR CHILDERN TOLERANCE NOT HATE-WE MUST WHAT GOD SAID TO LOVE ONE ANOTHER AS HE LOVES US ALL--THEIR CENTER IS NOT A REASON TO HATE-WE MUST TRY TO REMEMBER THAT WE ARE ALL GOD'S CHILDERN-WE MUST NOT TEACH HATE

    August 14, 2010 at 10:51 pm |
  9. G

    I'm sorry but if everyone does not see this as a slap in the face to the American people then I don't know what is wrong with you. Freedom of religion, sure, but keep it away from an area where Muslims took it upon themselves to murder thousands of Americans in the name of a fake deity.

    August 14, 2010 at 10:38 pm |
  10. IaCheNeHe

    keep being divided, its winning! the rich are richer and laughing at you simple folk divided by color race, religion and anything your little minds make up. They have milked the bank shut and still you won't support a single cause together. Life is NOT a Sports game and if it was... you'd be a bunch of looser since you can't work together as a team. DO SOMETHING, ANYTHING other then argue. Geeeeeez!!!!

    August 14, 2010 at 10:29 pm |
  11. RogerFromTexas

    Having a Mosque in view of where the Twin Towers once stood is a slight against the United States and a symbolic victory for Islam, who attacked us on 9/11 with unforgettable vengeance. To suggest, as our President has done, that what was perpetrated in Lower Manhattan in 2001 represents merely the goals of Osama Bin Laden and his Al Qaeda cronies - not the heart of the Islamic faith - is politically correct nonsense. What took place on 9/11 is consistent with Islam’s long history of desire for domination through warfare.

    One need only look at the life of Muhammad himself, the founder of Islam, to see that the history of the Muslims has been one of bloody conquest since its inception, starting with the subjugation of Mecca and Arabia in Muhammad’s lifetime. And their goals for domination have reached far being the Middle East since early on. After Persia and Egypt fell to the Muslim invaders, they conquered North Africa, Spain and Portugal within less than a century after Muhammad’s death.

    Thankfully, their empire was held in check by Charles Martel’s army at the Battle of Tours in 732. But victory at Tours didn’t end the story of the Muslim’s lust for power. Have we so quickly forgotten about the Fall of Constantinople in 1453, as well as subsequent battles over present-day Albania, Bosnia, Austria, and Poland, among other key locations?

    Moreover, the erection of Mosques in conquered territories has long been a priority to the victors of Islam, as they have often converted former Christian Churches to Mosques. Why has this not been mentioned in this debate over the erection of this new Mosque in New York City?

    Islam is not a religion of peace, but one of war against Christians and other “infidels”, and attempts to portray it otherwise are merely propaganda. Just read the Koran.

    Koran 8:12, “I am with you: give firmness to the Believers: I will instil terror into the hearts of the Unbelievers: smite ye above their necks and smite all their finger-tips off them.”

    Koran 8:59-60, “Let not the unbelievers think that they can get the better (of the godly): they will never frustrate them. Against them make ready your strength to the utmost of your power, including steeds of war, to strike terror into (the hearts of) the enemies, of Allah and your enemies, and others besides, whom ye may not know, but whom Allah doth know. Whatever ye shall spend in the cause of Allah, shall be repaid unto you, and ye shall not be treated unjustly.”

    August 14, 2010 at 9:21 pm |
    • vmprophet

      8:12 says "RECALL that your lord inspired the angels "I am with you ....." whats more interesting is that you left out 8:13 because this tells you who you can kill "This is what they have justly incurred by fighting GOD and His messenger" people who fight you again you left out 8:15

      8:15 O you who believe, if you encounter the disbelievers who have mobilized against you, do not turn back and flee."

      please try to put things in context i mean if your going to show a religion is full of hate and what not there shouldnt be any reason to just post certain things all of it will be full of hate and violence right? so why not post everything if thats the case. Im not going to bother with the rest of your post because its really a waste of time trying to make ignorant people see their own ignorance

      August 14, 2010 at 11:32 pm |
  12. mark

    funny that on the same news page, there is a piece on moslems in israel opposing plans to build at an ancient cemetary site. you see, moslems want everyone in the world to like and respect them with no obligation on their part fro receprocity. they also have the odacity of crying foul about the minarets in switzerland and the mosque in newyork when they give hell to christians and jews in islamic countries if they try to build or even renovate a church. saudi arabia would not even allow it, period. you can not carry a bible when you enter saudi arabia or you will be arrested and humiliated. those are the same people who move to the west and claim their right to relegious freedom. let me tell you that the day will come when our tolerance and corrstness will make us like saudi arabia and don't blame anyone but yourself everyone for letting this monster called islam dominate. some of the individuals who support the building of the mosque may one day realize that by defending the rights of evil, the day will come when you will have your hand chopped off if someone accuses you of stealing or even better, stoned to death if someone saw or told on you, whether truly or falsely, for having sex out of wedlock. for the person who spoke of jews being persecuted, let me tell you they ain't seen nothing yet. Mohamad said in one of his hadith, that there will come the day of the final battle with the jews when every rock and every tree will tell moslems about the jew who is hiding behind it so the moslem can slaughter him. wake up people of the west or else.

    August 14, 2010 at 9:11 pm |
  13. Z

    america no longer stands for democracy or freedom – it stands for HYPOCRISY.

    and we wonder why the world doesn't like us.

    August 14, 2010 at 8:23 pm |
  14. Ray Porter

    here's a better idea-an all denominational mall for all religions,not just muslim

    August 14, 2010 at 8:23 pm |
  15. James Druzak

    This so-called president is unbelievable. November, 2010, and November, 2012, cannot get here fast enough.

    August 14, 2010 at 7:30 pm |
    • Ken Wood

      It sucks when the POTUS has a brain, AND uses it

      August 14, 2010 at 7:41 pm |
    • B Fair

      He should show ignorance and fear like the rest of us. Who does this so-called president represent?

      August 14, 2010 at 7:44 pm |
    • One Whose Name Means Beloved of God

      Definitely! We don't want a POTUS who wants us to actually follow the law of the land! how dare he! He's supposed to lie, cheat, and steal like all the other presidents!

      August 15, 2010 at 2:13 pm |
  16. Laurie F. Matherne

    I'm a bit confused. When Obama spoke at Georgetown University, (a Catholic University), he and his people ordered ALL christian religious symbols covered. I distinctly remember the picture of him on the the stage with drapes over all the symbols. Where was his dedication and respect for religious freedom on that day??? Wake-up people and smell the progessive- socialist agenda before its too late. It's ironic that they want to be called PROGRESSIVES... yet all they stand for will make us regress, digress and oppressed. God Almighty have mercy on this country...

    August 14, 2010 at 7:12 pm |
  17. Erica

    I can believe the statement "It's about sensitivity and decency". Good Lord, I'm offended by a thousand INDECENT displays that I see everyday in lower Manhattan! So now drug addicts, pimps, and prostitutes are tolerated, but a beautiful building is suppossed to hurt my feelings?

    August 14, 2010 at 7:10 pm |
  18. Ken Wood

    Deuteronomy 7:1-6

    When the Lord your God brings you into the land that you are about to enter and occupy, and he clears away many nations before you—the Hittites, the Girgashites, the Amorites, the Canaanites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites, seven nations mightier and more numerous than you— 2and when the Lord your God gives them over to you and you defeat them, then you must utterly destroy them. Make no covenant with them and show them no mercy. 3Do not intermarry with them, giving your daughters to their sons or taking their daughters for your sons, 4for that would turn away your children from following me, to serve other gods. Then the anger of the Lord would be kindled against you, and he would destroy you quickly. 5But this is how you must deal with them: break down their altars, smash their pillars, hew down their sacred poles,* and burn their idols with fire. 6For you are a people holy to the Lord your God; the Lord your God has chosen you out of all the peoples on earth to be his people, his treasured possession.

    August 14, 2010 at 6:47 pm |
  19. Ken Wood

    Are there any calls for violence against non-believers in the Bible? Is it all about love?

    August 14, 2010 at 6:34 pm |
    • Matt J.

      It is hard to read Exodus, Deuteronomy and Judges without thinking of 'genocide'. For what they did there really does meet the modern definition of 'genocide'.

      Of course, modern readers tend to forget two things when reading such passages 1) there was a time limit on the commandment to exterminate the aboriginal inhabitants: the commandment no longer applies, no matter what Netanyahu might claim and 2) the whole account, from Moses's first speech to Pharaoh to the final conquest of Canaan, is an allegory of Christian Baptism and the entrance into spiritual struggle following it. It is ONLY this allegorical interpretation that has any real spiritual significance for the believer today.

      August 16, 2010 at 4:49 pm |
  20. kay

    Some will defend this thin-skinned unqualified President no matter what he does. They forget he attended a Madrassah for 4 years as a child, and later in life an American hating Black Liberation Church. A church where the pastor's infamous comment was on 911 "America's chickens have come home to roost".

    August 14, 2010 at 6:31 pm |
    • vmprophet

      Read a book please. Its in the constitution that people have the freedom to worship and build places of worship on private property, its called the law. Even if the president was against it, it would make no difference because you are not the only one that has rights in this country. Secondly, do you know what the definition of a Madrasa is? do you even know what is taught there? Its defined as a school, one where you learn things like math, geography, history, try going to one and maybe then your ignorance might not shine so brightly

      August 14, 2010 at 11:13 pm |
    • One Whose Name Means Beloved of God

      How is he "thin-skinned" here? He's stepping up on an issue where he knows some crazies already distort the truth (he's a Muslim!).

      And as for Rev. Wright: I don't think he's right on everything, but I think he hit the nail on the head as far as how American foreign policy got us into this mess. At least he bothered to know something about American foreign policy which is better than many people.

      August 15, 2010 at 2:11 pm |
    • Matt J.

      That he attended a Madrassah is a slander. He did no such thing. See http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/01/24/AR2007012400371_pf.html if you don't believe me.

      August 16, 2010 at 4:44 pm |
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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.