Friday, August 13, 2010

Obama's remarks about the ground zero mosque

President Barack Obama hosts an iftar dinner, the meal that breaks the dawn-to-dusk fast for Muslims during the holy month of Ramadan,  at the White House on Friday. (AP)
On Friday night, President Barack Obama stepped into the thorny debate over the Muslim community center and mosque planned for near ground zero. What do you think? Share your thoughts in the comments section.

Obama's remarks for Friday night's iftar dinner at the White House, marking the breaking of the daily Ramadan feast, transcribed and distributed by the White House:
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. 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.

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.


BadtoThebone said...

How dare the President of the U.S. actually honor the First Amendment of the Constitution of the United States. He should be like all the other U.S. Citizens who want to deny freedom of religion and freedom of assembly to anyone who practices a religion the majority does not like. Why not deny Muslim citizens the freedoms other Christian U.S. citizens hold so dear. Just because a Christian or a Jew or a Hindu or a Buddhist can built a church or synagogue or temple where ever they want to why should a Muslim be allowed to do the same? To heck with that pesky first amendment. The will of the majority is all that matters.

There now lets see how many people agree with these statement.

Anonymous said...


So our Muslim African born president of the USA with the full Muslim name Barack Hussein Obama actually supports a pagan Muslim Allah worshiping Mosque in the exact location where the WTC twin towers were destroyed killing 3000 people and even hebrew Bloomberg is for it too?

So in all fairness when will America allow a Hitler Nazi memorial in downtown DC with an Uncle Adolph statue too? There are 50 million German-Americans here.
How about a rising sun Japanese Memorial in DC ( or Honolulu ) to their brave attack on Pearl Harbor? Throw in one for Hanoi and N Korea and even Saddam.

While you at it how about Lenin, Stalin, Mao and Marx. Some will argue the Socialist Commies are well represented already in DC.

Anonymous said...

Somebody tell the uneducated ignorants at the ratification of the Constitution in 1791 the Founding Fathers who were all christian ddint have pagan muslims in mind when they vote the 1st amendment "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion ..."

They knew history and the Crusades 700 yrs earlier that lasted 200 yrs to killing millions of pagans from the Holy Land. One main reason for Americas founding over 500 yrs ago was due to these pagans blocking trade routes to Asia. The FFs could have never guessed in a million yrs these scabs would be moving here or they would have blocked them out and all other pagans like buddism etc.

Technically "christianity" is not a religion. It is the only true divine Word of the omnipotent omnicient One in the universe. Anything can be a belief or "religion". Atheism is a religion. Beastality, human sacrifice or cannibalism voodoo is a religion. Islam is nothing less than some fake cheap terrorist pagan belief.

Anonymous said...

"Allah" is the Muslim word for "God". And not only do Muslims read the Old and the New Testaments, they also believe in Jesus. So to call the "Pagans" is just factually incorrect. I will agree that a Mosque not be built there if every place of Worship in vicinity be torn down. If not, then the Mosque should stay - after all - it's the
American way.

BadtoThebone said...

So for two people believe in trashing the U.S. Constitution and disregard freedom of religion, freedom of assembly, and private property rights. Heck this used to be Klan country. I was expecting a lot more vitriolic hate filled comments than what I have seen so far. I am sure that there is more anti-first amendment people out there. Let's hear some of the twisted logic to explain denial of basic rights to fellow U.S. Citizens. Prove Al-Qaeda right Charlotte. Prove that this isn't a nation of laws and that only Christians have freedom of religion in this country.

Anonymous said...

Allah is not the word for G-d. That is an educated myth. Allah was the ancient pagan crecent moon god of ancient Mesopotania the predecessor land of arabs. The ancient pagans had 100s of gods. Allah was picked by Mohammed since he know this was a well known pagan god. Word association to draw all the arabs under the same tent.
Mohammed was high on crack hash and went into a cave and plagerized the Book reaaranging it making himself the final prophet using all the same places and characters.
What a bogus POS. False religion.

Jim Jones claimed he was the final prophet too before he passed out the kool-aid.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

To Anonymous and others who would like to deny the First Amendment, get a life and get off your high-horse. Why do you think your rights are more important than any other citizen in this country? This "insanity" has got to stop. So many of the responses are either totally false and should appear on or the inaccuracies and innuendos do nothing but demonstrate the writer's ignorance.

I just felt compelled to respond. First, the mosque is NOT ON TOP OF Ground 0. It is two blocks away. I am sure the President knew full well that the "better than thou" people who call themselves Christians would pitch a fit. I commend him for taking a stand that is just. Many groups of people who have come to this country in the name of freedom have had to experience resentment and discrimination including the Irish, Germans, Poles, Japanese and not to forget African Americans who initially did not come for freedom. Everyone needs to see the movie Ameerika. It is not easy, in this country today, to be a Muslim or to look like someone of mid-eastern descent. Just for the record, Muslims, Christians and Jews share the same Old Testament Bible and many of the founding fathers were technically probably not Christians and definitely not of the Christianity that Anonymous and others here represent.

Be a Christian and "do what Jesus would do" which means open your hearts and minds to see those who are different from you as also God's children. Your hatred and mean spirit does nothing to contribute to the spreading the "good word"or to the preservation of "liberty and justice for all."

Anonymous said...

I will vote for change in November...It will represent leaders who respect what the United States of America is....proud, brave, not afraid to thank God for what has been delivered to us....Vote for change and saving this great nation in November 2010 !!!!

Anonymous said...

This current administration, Muslim Obama, hates everything all Americans stand and represent...ACHIEVEMENT!!! ..VOTE FOR CHANGE ...NOVEMBER 2010....THEN THE NEXT IN 2012 !!!!! VOTE FOR THE RIGHT CHANGE !!! This is our last chance !

Anonymous said...

Unreal. And to go with the pagan mosque will be a homo muslim bar. Must be connected to mullah Rev Wrights gay mosque. Treasonists. Hanging too good for these millions of swine but America does need a good cleansing of its filth with another uncivil war if it doesent re-split again.

The great real native-American Founding Fathers could never have remotely envisioned such paganist trash when they ratified the Constitition after the 13 colonies lost many 1000s of brave patriots who would have been hanged by the Brits for treason. They didnt perish for this type of perverted deranged filth.

What we have here are ignorant low IQ perverted liberal racist klanesque retard traitors trying to bastardize and twist to fit their sicko agenda even name dropping the real messianic in laughable mockery.

These idiots are even terrible snake oil salemen. Try a new routine. Get some new material. You are cracking people up.

x transplant from eastern Ohio

Anonymous said...

This mosque is not at all intended to be a place of worship. Like other mosques around the world, it is a symbol of conquest, such as the one built in Cordoba (and which this mosque project is named after) built after the Muslim conquest of Spain. It would be a victory monument for all the Muslim world to celebrate.

m will said...

This mosque is going to be a 17 story "office type" building, not a cathedral type structure. I believe what has most people upset is that it is so close to ground Zero. They are just pushing it to see how much insult they can add to the injury. What are you going to do when their population controls the entire vote of country and they can eliminate the first ammendment altogether????

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Why is our federal government building mosques around the world? Is this not a violation of church and state as well as our tax dollars? The Iman of this mosque is paid by our fed gov to travel to Muslim countries while he has stated that America is an 'acessory to 9/11 and Osama bin Ladin was made in America. He refuses to recognize that Hamas is a terrorist organization. He wants to bring sharia law to America. These mosques are traditionally built as a monument to lands conquered by Muslims. Why did Obama release his speech one hour before he gave it?

Anonymous said...

For all the liberal a$$wipes who are saying they should be allowed to build it, we are not saying they shouldn't be allowed to do so.

What we are saying is that they should build it farther away from ground zero.

They have been offered other land, cheaper, and they turned it down.

They are using the word Cordoba. This was a conquest location in their history.

It is a spat in the eye of every American who has died since 9/11.

It is a spat in the eye of every person who died on 9/11.

And its a spat in the eye from our omnipotent leader, Obama, who deems it not worth while to honor our own dead at Arlington.

People have the right to freedom of speech. What happens when you say something out of line? Yeah, you're penalized.

Even though you have rights, you have accountability. You have appropriateness. This mosque is neither accountable or appropriate.

This is the issue. Not their right to build.

Anonymous said...

In all reality an over looked success is Obamas nice work killing off a large number of muslims the past 2 years. He could have pulled out of Iraq and Afghan when he took over but sent 50k more troops in.

He has killed a minimum of 100k on his watch give or take 10-20k plus snuffed 1000s more civilians to boot with drones so his dead numbers are not that bad.

Maybe he has acquired a taste for muslim blood and could surpass Bush if he stays in long enough. Maybe he feels with the mosque he is throwing them a bone. The main goal is dead muslims enmasse although with 1.5 billion and breeding like rabbits he has his work cut out for him and he knows it. Its a numbers game.

So we can cut him a little slack with his dead muslim count rising 24/7/365.

Anonymous said...

Part of the problem is that liberals assume that people want the government to step in and prevent the mosque. That's not what people want. They want the group sponsoring the mosque to understand how divisive and hurtful it is, and make the choice to build it farther away. Liberals think people want government to solve their problems, and they just don't get it.

John said...

Those who wish to compare a "Ground Zero mosque" to a "Pearl Harbor Shinto shrine" should know that there *IS* a Shinot shrine on the road from Honolulu to Pearl Harbor.

This whole "controversy" is being whipped up by the rabid Israel-uber-alles crowd in NYC. Nobody can deny the extremist, warped brand of Islam that infected the 9/11 terrorists, but alternatively nobody can deny the perversions of Yigal Amir, the assassin of Yitzhak Rabin.

The best thing the US can do is to embrace our own First Amendment, and to adopt a Jeffersonian policy of neutrality ("free trade and honest friendship with all nations, entangling alliances with none") regarding the affairs of countries and cultures that we do not and cannot understand. Why does the US give aid to both Israel and Lebanon while we run a TRILLION dollar deficit?

Anonymous said...

I'd be curious to know exactly who they plan to hire to build it - no union worker in NYC would touch that job, no matter how much it pays.

Anonymous said...

Obama wants to be friends with everybody even at the cost of a slap in the face to every american citizen. This is holy ground! The last thing that needs to be built there is a Mosque for the muslims. When are the american citizens ever going to come first again? Everyone should have the freedom to practice their own religion But, One Nation Under God. Is this not what we stand for? We can't pray where we please so why should anyone else have that freedom. The problem is letting any Tom , Dick , and Harry in the U.S. to begin with. The RULE should be come to America, live our ways. Not make Americans conform to Yours. Quit slapping our faces with this crap.

Anonymous said...

Obama: spoken like a true Muslim.

Anonymous said...

as long as obama is killing these muslims in big numbers the gay mosque can be overloooked. bloomberg feels the same. f*ggot muslims are no threat.

obama should be proud for his role in the as the chief extermination of about 150,000 ragheads in less than 2 yrs. dead muslims in large numbers is what matters. all this 1st amend stuff is secondary.

Anonymous said...

Be a Christian and "do what Jesus would do" which means open your hearts and minds to see those who are different from you as also God's children. Your hatred and mean spirit does nothing to contribute to the spreading the "good word"or to the preservation of "liberty and justice for all."
August 15, 2010 11:02 AM


Yea rite ... So J-guy will with lib bleeding heart open the doors of heaven and just let all the filthy pervs, pagans, homos, weirdos etc, along with these smelly muslims right in too? Muslims all have terrible B.O.and would stink up the joint. Ask Seinfeld.

Too funny...

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