Saturday, August 14, 2010

Obama supports "right" of mosque being built blocks from Ground Zero

President Obama this weekend threw his support behind an Islamic mosque to be built in an area close to where the 9/11 terrorist attacks occurred in lower Manhattan, New York city.

The so-called "Ground Zero Mosque" -- which won't actually be located at Ground Zero, but will be built two blocks away -- has the full support of the president as well as NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who compared Obama's support for religious neutrality to that of George Washington in the early days of the U.S. republic when he supported a Jewish temple in Newport, Rhode Island.

"The Citizens of the United States of America," Washington wrote, "have a right to applaud themselves for having given to mankind examples of an enlarged and liberal policy: a policy worthy of imitation. All possess alike liberty of conscience and immunities of citizenship. It is now no more that toleration is spoken of, as if it was by the indulgence of one class of people, that another enjoyed the exercise of their inherent natural rights. For happily the Government of the United States, which gives to bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance, requires only that they who live under its protection should demean themselves as good citizens, in giving it on all occasions their effectual support" (Emphasis added).

While won't say whether he believes it's a good idea to have a mosque in such a sensitive location, Obama endorses the right of any religion to place at any private property, with the permission of local zoning laws, a holy center for which members can take part in. This includes the area surrounding Ground Zero.

Others were quick to criticize. Republican Congressman Peter King said, "It is insensitive and uncaring for the Muslim community to build a mosque in the shadow of Ground Zero. Unfortunately, the President caved into political correctness."

King might be right; it may be insensitive to some for Muslims to build a mosque there. It may also be insensitive for a gentleman's club to be located near Ground Zero (such an establishment is already nearby, the same distance as the proposed mosque). The debate here, which King purposefully ignores, isn't about sensitivity but rather rights of people to have equal access to property in the area. Muslims have the same rights as any other people of any other belief system to that property, and that is what the president is supporting today.

We must defend this right, for Muslims, Christians, Jews, atheists, Buddhists, Hindus, or anyone else. It matters not, in our great nation, what religion you are; each religious belief is welcomed here. It is a great sign of our strength as a people to allow a mosque near Ground Zero. Islam is not the enemy; it is those who pervert the beliefs of Islam, who attack Americans and others around the world due to that perversion, that we seek to defeat.

The president recognizes that fact; so does Mayor Bloomberg. Hopefully the American people overall will recognize it as well.

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