Obama Clarifies Remarks on Islamic Cultural Center

Sunday, August 15, 2010

President Barack Obama is seeking to clarify this week's statement that seemed to support a proposed Islamic cultural center with prayer space near ground zero.

"I was not commenting and I will not comment on the wisdom of making a decision to put a mosque there," the president said. "I was commenting very specifically on the right that people have that dates back to our founding. That's what our country's about."

Obama's comment Saturday during a trip to Florida expanded on a statement he made the previous evening at a White House Iftar dinner. The president said Muslims have the same right to freedom of religion as everyone else in America.

A Republican senator is suggesting there could be political fallout from Obama's remarks. Appearing on Fox News Sunday, Texas Sen. John Cornyn says said the president is "disconnected from mainstream America" and that voters this fall will "render their verdict." Cornyn leads the GOP's Senate campaign committee.

Critics say the center proposed for Park Place, now known as Park 51, would be an affront to those who lost loved ones in the 9/11 attacks. Supporters say the center would be a space for moderate Islam and interfaith dialogue. The project has won approval from Manhattan's Community Board 1 and has overcome a push to landmark the building that currently stands at the site.


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Comments [9]

Steve S.

@Mandrake, O'Bama is not a muslim try watching something other than Fox news. he is religously diverse, but attends serivces at Evergreen Chapel, the same place that GW Bush attended while President.

Aug. 16 2010 05:37 PM
rich mcbride from nyc

I am absolutely befuddled why the Democrats have not made it clear that the Republicans have surrendered their right to comment or have an opinion on this subject when they continued to refuse to pass the bill that provides critical aid to the first responders of 9/11. it is egregiously hypocritical for the same grand standers to deny funds for medical care to the heroes of 9/11 to then exploit those in need by objecting to the mosque. Cannot any Democrat connect the dots these sad and disturbing days...?

Aug. 16 2010 12:13 PM
kathleen Marcus from moheganlake,ny

Why can't ground zero be a place for all religions to have community centers.Equality would be granted and diversity will be ensured.
For the nonbelievers-their own community building-tax free.

New York city can have an entire section of tax exempt buildings instead of just one.

Aug. 16 2010 11:32 AM

An issue that involves diversity and tolerance. Gee, I wonder where the Republicans come down on this?

Aug. 16 2010 11:19 AM
Annabelle from florida

Mandrake, would it matter if the building were going to be a Baptist church and Obama was a member of that denomination? Then the atheists would be hollering and dragging in their attorneys to sue. The man can't blow his nose without criticism. Obama's job is to uphold and defend the Constitution of the US per his oath of office. Even if he/we think the mosque is in bad taste and offensive to those who died on 9-11, the Constitution guarantees their right to worship as they wish so long as they aren't breaking any laws.

Aug. 16 2010 10:47 AM
Jihobbyist from United States of New York City

Who is this fool Brian has on his show now. What a hypocrite. No public official can comment on the issue except for him?

What an idiot.

Aug. 16 2010 10:17 AM
Robert Moore from Lower Manhattan

I am glad that, as the local station for New York, you are trying to use the correct description of the building at Park Place. It is, as I understand it, (I live very close to the site), proposed to be a community cultural center for the benefit of local residents with a multi-ethnic administrative board. I believe there will also be a prayer room, (I understand there already is such a room in the building). The constant use of the word 'mosque' is both misleading and mischievous and goes to feed the inflammatory opinions of those who want to fan the fires of a religious divide. Repeating the word 'mosque' does not make it one and is just plain inaccurate. If we are to have a debate, let's debate on the facts.

Aug. 16 2010 08:23 AM
mandrake figgins

why shouldnt obama, amuslim, not be for the mosque?

Aug. 15 2010 11:58 AM
Carl Whitley from New York City

John Cornyn is nothing but another Republican flag-waver, moving in whatever direction that he thinks offers him the best political wind. He does this stuff all the time; and as a NYC resident who was at WTC on 9/11/2001, I believe that he knows nothing about what he's saying and should keep his uppity, bigoted, hate-mongering, self-serving nose out of our business.

Aug. 15 2010 11:51 AM

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