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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. Darlene

    Mayby people are leary because of what the IMAM said
    http://weaselzippers.us/2010/08/12/sean-hannity-looks-at-the-imam-behind-the-ground-zero-mosque-video/

    He says we are responsible for the 9/11 attacks

    August 16, 2010 at 9:08 am |
    • Matt J.

      No, what he said was that American Foreign Policy is responsible for it. He is right, too. A lot of people recognized this. Why won't you?

      August 16, 2010 at 5:02 pm |
  2. Reality

    Recognizing the flaws and frauds in the foundations of Islam, Judaism and Christianity by the "bowers" (like Akbar Ahmed), "kneelers" and "pew peasants" will quickly converge these religions into some simple rules of life. No clerics, imams, rabbis, professors of religion and priests needed or desired. Ditto for their houses and classes of "worthless worship". It will be called the great "Pink Slipping" of religion and its leaders.

    As per James Somerville, Philosophy professor emeritus from Xavier University, Cincinnati,

    "The faith of the vast majority of believers (and non-believers) depends upon where they were born and when."

    It is very disturbing that such religious violence and hatred continues unabated due to radomness of birth. Maybe just maybe if this fact would be published on the first page of every newspaper every day, that we would finally realize the significant stupidity of all religions.

    August 16, 2010 at 5:46 am |
  3. Renaldo McKenzie

    What if Christian or Jewish groups at ground zero was planning on expanding their facilities? It would be o.k. right? Because they are less violent and not responsible for the 9/11 catastrophe. But this justification/argument is flawed because we are making scathing generalizations and denying the fact that all religions have demons in their closet. We blame Muslims for 9/11, so they shouldn't build at ground zero and maybe they shouldn't even live in New York or the US. But are all Muslims responsible for some rogue misfits in the religion? Should we blame the Tea Party for a few racist in their party that promote racism? You see, we are being too emotional. Its like arguing that I smoke marijuana because I'm a Jamaican and all Jamaicans smoke "weed" but this is a fallacious argument and this is exactly what is being argued in the mosque ground zero situation. Every group has exceptional individuals and hence we must be careful about forming opinions about a group based on this.

    August 16, 2010 at 1:54 am |
    • Matt J.

      But we also have to be careful about using YOUR line of reasoning to avoid recognizing valid generalizations.

      August 16, 2010 at 5:14 pm |
  4. Reality

    Actually, there should be no mosques anywhere on the face of the globe. Why?

    Muslim convert journalist Stephen Schwartz, American Jewish Committee terrorism expert Yehudit Barsky, and U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer have all separately testified to a growing radical Islamist Wahhabi influence in U.S. mosques, financed by extremist groups. According to Barsky, 80% of U.S. mosques are so radicalized.

    August 9, 2010 Germany shuts 9/11 plotters' mosque in Hamburg

    Police raided the mosque on Monday and hunted for evidence of jihadist activities German police have shut down the Hamburg mosque where the 9/11 hijackers met before their suicide attacks on the US in 2001.

    Police said they believed the Taiba mosque was again being used as a meeting point for extremists.

    The cultural association that runs the mosque has also been banned.

    A German intelligence report last year said radical Muslims had travelled to military training camps in Uzbekistan after associating at the mosque.

    August 15, 2010 at 11:28 pm |
  5. Keith

    We are under judgement. Our enemies(progressives) now rule over us. American Christians need to repent.

    August 15, 2010 at 10:16 pm |
  6. Darlene

    I think the mosque should be built somewhere else. If they truly just want a place to worship, then that will solve the problem. Otherwise, make a place of worship for all faiths.
    Did anyone see this interview. where Feisal Abdul Rauf, the Imam behind the plans for a Mosque near Ground Zero, says that the US was an accessory to the crime of the 9/11 attacks?
    Video right here
    http://weaselzippers.us/2010/08/12/sean-hannity-looks-at-the-imam-behind-the-ground-zero-mosque-video/

    August 15, 2010 at 9:26 pm |
    • Matt J.

      Well, yes, it SHOULD be built somewhere else - if it is built at all. But you have missed the point. Our free system leaves people free to do LOTS of things they should not do - including this one!

      But it also leaves us free to protest it.

      Now as for the video, I don't know why you even bother. Hannity is simply being irrational and irresponsible - as he always is.

      August 16, 2010 at 5:00 pm |
  7. ICEMAN

    CATHOLIC MOM well maybe they retracted there statement cause they know that they would get hammered on it but i will get you the web address so you can see with your own eyes and then close them like you do LIKE I SAID ONE OF YOUR POPES SAID THAT THEY ARE JESUS. "THEY JUST HAVE A VEIL ON" ALSO, ANTOHER SAID THAT THEY CAN FORGIVE SINS, ALSO JOHN PAUL THE 2ND SAID THEY KILLED MILLIONS OF PEOPLE........TRUTH RESEARCH YOUR HISTORY" DON'T LET ME LEAVE MY JOB THIS MORNING AND GO AND GET YOU THIS INFO. YOUR POPES ARE THE ONES SAYING THIS DON'T HATE THE MESSAGER HATE THE ONES WHO'S HEART GOT SO ICY THEY STARTED KILLING TO TAKE OVER THE WORLD

    August 15, 2010 at 9:21 pm |
  8. kenny

    You Americans have shopping malls built over Native American grave sites and now you call ground zero "holy ground," hypocrites! The president, senators, or anyone involved with the state can't say anything about free Americans legally buying a piece of property and putting a church, mosque, or shopping mall on their legally owned PROPERTY. Grow up people stop being so illogical and hypocritical. Religions that are different from yours are here to stay even if they are to close to proclaimed "holy ground."
    You people who oppose this center are so blind, you would rather see another store selling cheap goods made in China on or close to "Holy Ground" instead of an institution that actually makes America stronger via it's cultural diversity. Muslims make America stronger like Atheists make America stronger, like Christians make America stronger and on and on. All these people are Americans and America should be an open society where all can buy property and do whatever is their pursuit of happiness.

    August 15, 2010 at 6:42 pm |
  9. FishNchips

    I do not view "ground zero" as holy ground, and the only reason we still call it "ground zero" is because there isn't anything else there yet.
    If the President is not commenting on something, then there is no comment upon which to comment. Duh.
    The dead are the dead.
    The living need you more than the dead, so quit rolling around in the dust of 9-11 like a bunch of incoherent "holy-rollers".
    The rest of us would like to breath the clean air of common sense.

    August 15, 2010 at 5:08 pm |
    • Matt J.

      Wrong on both counts. By so breezily dismissing claims that it is 'holy ground', you show an inability to appreciate the loss, even an inability to understand how to honor the dead. And you completely miss why we call it "ground zero", too. It has NOTHING to do with whether or not something else is built there.

      August 16, 2010 at 4:57 pm |
  10. One Whose Name Means Beloved of God

    Here's some math for you:

    20 Muslims involved in 9/11 do not equal 1,500,000,000 Muslims worldwide.

    Punishing all these other Muslims for the crimes of so few would be like hating all Germans for the crimes of the Nazis. And there were a lot more Nazis than 9/11 plotters.

    August 15, 2010 at 2:17 pm |
    • Reality

      Unfortunately, those 1,500,000,000 Muslims follow the same operating manual aka the koran as do/did the Muslims responsible for the following acts of terror and horror:

      1a) 179 killed in Mumbai/Bombay, 290 injured

      1b) Assassination of Benazir Bhutto and Theo Van Gogh

      2) 9/11, 3000 mostly US citizens, 1000’s injured

      3) The 24/7 Sunni-Shiite centuries-old blood feud currently being carried out in Iraq, US Troops killed in action, 3,481 and 924 died in non-combat, 97,172 – 106,047 Iraqi civilians killed,

      4) Kenya- In Nairobi, about 212 people were killed and an estimated 4000 injured; in Dar es Salaam, the attack killed at least 11 and wounded 85.[2]

      5) Bali-in 2002-killing 202 people, 164 of whom were foreign nationals, and 38 Indonesian citizens. A further 209 people were injured.

      6) Bali in 2005- Twenty people were killed, and 129 people were injured by three bombers who killed themselves in the attacks.

      7) Spain in 2004- killing 191 people and wounding 2,050.

      8. UK in 2005- The bombings killed 52 commuters and the four radical Islamic suicide bombers, injured 700.

      9) The execution of an eloping couple in Afghanistan on 04/15/2009 by the Taliban.

      10) Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan: US troops 1,116 killed in action, 902 killed in non-combat situations as of 08/10/2010.

      11) The killing of 13 citizen soldiers at Ft. Hood by a follower of the koran.

      12) 38 Russian citizens killed on March 29, 2010 by Muslim women suicide bombers.

      13) The May 28, 2010 attack on a Islamic religious minority in Pakistan, which have left 98 dead,

      14) Lockerbie is known internationally as the site where, on 21 December 1988, the wreckage of Pan Am Flight 103 crashed as a result of a terrorist bomb. In the United Kingdom the event is referred to as the Lockerbie disaster, the Lockerbie bombing, or simply Lockerbie. Eleven townspeople were killed in Sherwood Crescent, where the plane's wings and fuel tanks plummeted in a fiery explosion, destroying several houses and leaving a huge crater, with debris causing damage to a number of buildings nearby. The 270 fatalities (259 on the plane, 11 in Lockerbie) were citizens of 21 nations

      August 15, 2010 at 11:38 pm |
  11. nuwnuw

    I think if the president allows the mosque to be built near ground zero which now is holy ground . I think it would be a big slap in the face to all that died ,their families and all of the US. Obama wants to say that the situation is the right thing to do beause of the US policy cocerning the freedom of religion,but what about the religous freedom of those that lost their lives.What about the reality of 9/11. It was a result of some of the people of Islamic religon who believed in sacraficing themselves in the name of their religon. Killing thousand of innocent people. ..So why is he using religon as a smoke screen far as this religion comment is concern for him having a much larger plan in mind dealing with the issue. Thats why he thinks this mosque should be built, besause for those of us who knows and sense whats going on behind close doors. And we know the real truth behind it. There will come a time very soon where everything done in the dark shall come to the light. But if this mosque is built then in the terrorists minds they will feel a sense of victory and may even plot to carry out some other kind of dangerous ideas. Is the president that blind that he can't see the forrest for the trees or could it be that he has his own hidden agenda concerning this whole situation. What of the loyalty and american justice for the fallen ones and the USA, At what cost are we suppose to keep being casualties of war right here in our own back yard.

    August 15, 2010 at 10:47 am |
  12. LorraineH

    The American Press needs to listen to what is being said instead of putting words, thoughts into other peoples mouths. The President was not expressing support for building a mosque near the site of 9/11; he was simply stating that the Constitution of the United States protected the right of a religious group to build places of worship on private property. His role as President is to protect the Constitution – he swears an oath to do this. He specifically did not comment on the wisdom of the building of this mosque as that is not his role. Americans have no problem citing the Constitution, ad nauseum, when it comes to bearing arms, even though some might find that particular right abhorrent. Again, the President of the United States can comment on the Constitutional right to bear arms but not on his personal opinion of that right. Personally, I think building this mosque at that location is disgusting but, unless Americans are willing to open the door to making changes to the Constitution, unfortunately nothing,except more violence, can stop the building. More violence will just give terrorists the ammunition they need to get more followers. I can hear them now – democracy doesn't work for all, Americans all hate Muslims, we must retaliate in order to save face, Americans have insulted Allah, etc. The rhetoric needs to be toned down and the Press and Political Pundits need to stop fueling the fire before something really stupid happens.

    August 15, 2010 at 7:43 am |
  13. Adam Msuleiman

    I read about the mosque in new york ground zero,infact a lot of you needs kwn about your faith from what read some of you have no regards to your leaders.
    I remember few decades back an average AMERICAN does not know about some continent of the world,because America teaches you only what they wants you to know.when some of you engaged your self by insulting other religion you kind lack time read about your individualistic faith.
    G.Z some of gave a good remarks by saying other faith could also stand the chance put a structure there.
    For those of you that called islam all kinds of names may ALLAH forgive because you do not know,U are both ignorant
    Congratulation brothers and sisters for such a remarkable achievement acquiring that plot of land.
    For those we lost during the 9/11 may Allah be them and grant them mercy Amen.

    August 15, 2010 at 7:12 am |
  14. Nabi

    please check out http://www.islamicsolutions.com/islam-a-quick-introduction/

    August 15, 2010 at 5:41 am |
  15. KLM10

    he won't comment because he wants that frigging thing to be built under "freedom of religion". OK build it. and then open a Honey Baked Ham next door

    August 15, 2010 at 1:10 am |
  16. ICEMAN

    hey catholic want an example read some of the Catholic National they been putting out forever and see just how much of it you agree with or read some Britannica. Hey one of your holy Pope said that their Jesus yes the head of your man made church said this "your history is really mushy"

    August 15, 2010 at 1:01 am |
    • ICEMAN

      WELL THE POPE SAID THAT "THE POPE" IS JESUS ON EARTH AND THEY CAN CHANGE ANYTHING THEY WANT

      August 15, 2010 at 4:12 am |
    • CatholicMom

      Iceman,

      Google 'in EIus persona agant' so that you can quote Truth.

      How did your heart get so icy?

      August 15, 2010 at 12:07 pm |
  17. Rick Raef

    Let's see how many Obama supporting New York union construction workers would take a dispatch to the Mosque construction site. Does anyone here actually believe that the same hard hat wearing people who responded the day the towers went down,and the same construction workers who spent 11 months removing the rubble and human remains would simply ignore the past and go build that Mosque for the very Islamic people who tried to kill us? And lets see how many U.S construction firms would bid for the job in the first place. On both accounts Obama looses. Not a single New York construction worker will lift a finger to build it and not a single U.S contractor will bid on it. And I predict the labor union support that Obama will count on for his re-allection will throw him out with the trash

    August 15, 2010 at 12:52 am |
    • One Whose Name Means Beloved of God

      You honestly think (in this economy no less) that contractors will turn down work?

      Actually, if you look at the local surveys–more New Yorkers are OK with the idea than people elsewhere. Don't hijack their tragedy to suit your own bigoted ideals.

      August 15, 2010 at 9:57 am |
  18. Daniel

    The first amendment of the US constitution states: Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof. The government has no right to deny these people from building an Islamic community center on private property. Or do those who are against this want to repeal the first amendment like they want to repeal the 14th amendment. Obama is right. The people wanting to build this center have every right to do this. It's three blocks away from ground zero. That doesn't matter. They have a right to build a mosque across the street from ground zero. Get over it. This is America. The land of the supposedly free and the supposedly brave.

    August 15, 2010 at 12:43 am |
  19. ICEMAN

    sorry that was 100 million people not 100,000

    August 15, 2010 at 12:40 am |
    • Matt J.

      And that figure is just as groundless.

      August 16, 2010 at 5:05 pm |
  20. Americano

    TO ALL WHITE TRASH TRAILER PARK HOMYYYS

    The developer of the cultural center is an AMERICAN born in Brooklyn, NY from a Christian and Muslim parents.
    His kins are married into Jewish families.

    He is a REAL AMERICAN FROM THREE DIFFERENT RELIGIONS TRYING TO promote peace and harmony between ALL AMERICANS HIS COMMUNITY.

    This blog is full of IGNORANTS, Jesus is turning in his grave listening to all this hate. You should not talk about BEING Christians and in the same breath you spit hate and terror...

    Remember this is AMERICA THE LAND OF THE FREE
    NOT THE LAND OF THE CHRISTIANS
    NOT THE LAND OF THE JEWS
    NOT THE LAND OF THE WHITE

    IT IS THE LAND OF THE FREEEEEEEEEEEEE

    August 15, 2010 at 12:15 am |
    • Anon

      Soooo, who is financing it? This one American?

      August 15, 2010 at 12:21 am |
    • One Whose Name Means Beloved of God

      Really? JESUS is turning in his grave????

      August 15, 2010 at 9:55 am |
    • Matt J.

      By saying Jesus is turning over in his grave, you reveal who is the real 'trash' here. Hint: it isn't the people you arehypocritically attacking with your own ignorance.

      August 16, 2010 at 5:04 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.