Obama Supports Mosque Near Ground Zero

Saying that the United States’ commitment to uphold freedom of religion “must be unshakable,” President Barack Obama on Friday expressed support for a plan to build a mosque a couple of blocks from the World Trade Center site.

Obama told Muslim guests during a Ramadan dinner at the White House that America should give everyone the freedom to practice their religion. “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,” he said.

The plan to build the mosque has generated a lot of noise in New York, with the opposition vowing to take the case up to the Supreme Court if needed. New York City’s landmarks commission recently approved the plan, as it refused to accept calls to preserve the old building currently located on the proposed mosque site. Mayor Michael Bloomberg has also openly supported the plan, which is being opposed by his predecessor, former city chief executive Rudy Giuliani.

A poll conducted by the Marist College also showed that 53 percent of New York City voters are against the plan.

Photo from Wikimedia Commons.