US President Obama Throws Weight behind Mosque near Ground ZeroWorld | August 14, 2010, Saturday // 12:50| views
US President Barack Obama hosts an Iftar dinner in celebration of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan in the State Dining Room of the White House, Washington, DC, USA, 13 August 2010. Photo by EPA/BGNES
After weeks of shying away from this subject, US President Barack Obama has expressed support for the plans to build a mosque and a Muslim center close to the World Trade Center site in Manhattan.
Speaking before Ramadan dinner guests at the While House Friday night, Obama has based his backing for the mosque project that stirred much controversy and debate in the USA on the freedom of religion.
The USD 100 M, 13-floor mosque and Islamic center project near Ground Zero has been seen by many, mostly conservatives, as an outrageous insult to the memory of the victims of the 9/11 terrorist attacks that destroyed the World Trade Center in New York.
"I understand the emotions that this issue engenders. 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 anyone else in this country. That includes the right to build a place of worship and a community center on private property in lower Manhattan…This is America, and our commitment to religious freedom must be unshakable,'' Obama said as quoted by the WSJ.
The Manhattan mosque project has been approved by the administration of New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
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