President Obama weighs in on Cordoba House at tonight's Ramadan Iftar dinner event at the White House. Greg Sargent reports on his remarks:
Recently, attention has been focused on the construction of mosques in certain communities -- particularly in 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. The pain and suffering experienced by those who lost loved ones is unimaginable. So 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, 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 will not be treated differently by their government, is essential to who we are. The writ of our Founders must endure.
We must never forget those who we lost so tragically on 9/11, and we must always honor those who have led our 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 always remember who we are fighting against, and what we are fighting for. Our enemies respect no freedom of religion. Al Qaeda's cause is not Islam -- it is a gross distortion of Islam. These are not religious leaders -- these are terrorists who murder innocent men, 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.Thank you, Mr. President. Thank you for saying what needed to be said here and I truly mean that.
Can we finally put an end to this Ground Zero idiocy? I'm very grateful to have been proven wrong about my dreadful feeling that Obama would remain silent and that Dems would cave on this, but just a few hours later here while celebrating Ramadan at an Iftar dinner at the White House, the President has spoken on this matter.
It should be the final word on this. It will not be. Obama will be brutally attacked for this as a Commie Traitor Islamofascist Manchurian Crypto-Jihadi, but wingers will do that to Obama anyway.
This is the Obama saying what needs to be said as President of the United States and leader of the American people. Good for him, and I mean that sincerely.
[UPDATE] The President's full remarks here in the LA Times, and yes, via Memeorandum we already see the wingers launching into fits of apoplexy ranging the gamut of snide insinuation of him being a secret Muslim (wink nudge) to outright accusations of him being un-American for standing up for the First Amendment to actively declaring that this is proof he's sided with the terrorists who brought down the World Trade Center.
It makes the President's gesture on Ramadan all that much more brave.