Bloomy Defends Obama’s Pro-Mosque Position

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The mayor is defending President Barack Obama’s comments about a proposed mosque near the World Trade Center site, in which the commander-in-chief said that U.S. Muslims have a right to build their house of worship.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg has been a vocal supporter of the mosque project on the grounds that it’s a question of religious freedom, and says it is one that the government has no business getting involved in.

The president on Friday came out strongly in support of the mosque developer’s right to build the 13-story center and prayer space in Lower Manhattan, but he later tried to clarify his remarks, saying he wasn’t commenting on the “wisdom of the project.”

Bloomberg today did not fault Obama for his follow-up comments, which were seen by some as an attempt to backpedal from his supportive words, but the mayor did not address the clarifying remarks head-on either.

Instead, the mayor said the president is a person who understands the value of diversity and the importance of protecting constitutional rights. He says the president has stood up for what is right.

“If we shout down a mosque and community center because it is two blocks away from the site where freedom was attacked, I think it would be a sad day for America,” said the mayor. “I think that standing up for America’s founding principles shows strength, not weakness, and I applaud the president for taking his stand. And it is my hope that the mosque and community center would add to the life and vitality of neighborhoods throughout this city.”

Bloomberg made it clear today that he would not support an effort to create a special zoning section around the World Trade Center site that might try to keep out projects like the mosque or even block places like a strip club.

The mayor says that part of Lower Manhattan has mosques, churches, temples, bars and restaurants — as well as adult entertainment and children’s entertainment — and that he thinks the zoning is just fine the way it is.

(Source: NY1)


2 COMMENTS

  1. WHY does YW put a misleading headline that is not substantively correct ? Obama didn’t utter a a pro mosque position.
    He said it is protected by the constitution he was sworn to keep.

    Did anyone read Obama’s own words? Here they are unedited

    Obama’s remarks about Ground Zero mosque: The transcript
    President 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 administration:
    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.

    Then the next day on Sat. Obama was asked by a reporter about whether he supports the decision to build the mosque: Obama said
    “I was not commenting and I will not comment on the wisdom of making the decision to put a mosque near Ground Zero. I was commenting very specifically on the right people have that dates back to our founding.”

  2. Many of us who have been outspoken in “support” of the mosque are only being this strident because of the absolutely unbelievable attempts by right wingers to block the development through bogus legal means. Normally, the American Right is the first to defend property rights, especially when someone owns some property of no particular historical or architectural value and proposes to develop it in full compliance with local zoning laws. But the American Center for Law and Justice (which was founded by Pat Robertson who is known for occasional anti-Semitic rants and whose leader Jay Sekulow, a Jew who converted to Christianity) is trying to use a bogus landmarking law to stop the project. This is the single most important religious freedom case in a generation; if ACLJ wins the results will be disastrous to any shul or yeshiva wishing to relocate or expand. But conservative voices have been pretty much silent on this outrage.