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Is Obama right to step into 'Ground Zero mosque' debate?

09:45 UK time, Saturday, 14 August 2010

US President Barack Obama has staunchly defended controversial plans to build a mosque near Ground Zero in New York. What do you think of his reaction?

Opponents have protested against the construction of an Islamic cultural centre and mosque several hundred feet away from the site of the Twin Towers.

Mr Obama acknowledged "sensitivities" surround the 9/11 site, but said Muslims have the same right to practice their religion "as anyone else". "Our commitment to religious freedom must be unshakable," Mr Obama said.

Since a New York developer announced plans to build an Islamic community centre and mosque near the former World Trade Center site, prominent Republican politicians, conservative pundits and some relatives of people who died on 9/11 have criticised the project.

What do you think of Obama's stance on the issue? Is this a question of religious freedom? Are critics of the project right to protest? Are you in the US?

This debate is now closed. Thank you for your comments.

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Comments

Page 1 of 18

  • Comment number 1.

    Obama acknowledged 'sensitivities' regarding 'Ground Zero' - a pity he, and those planning to build an Islamic centre and Mosque so close, is rather ... insensitive?

    Yes, religious freedom of worship must be protected; but religions have an equal duty of compassion, sensitivity, respect and not to offend humanity? Religions survive by consent of the people, not by the law?

  • Comment number 2.

    We have just enough religion to make us hate, but not enough to make us love one another.

  • Comment number 3.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 4.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 5.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 6.

    he is going down the wrong road here, i am annoyed that he has no respect for people,he is down in the polls,needs the attention, america should be beware of Obama.

  • Comment number 7.

    Islamic Terrorists draw their inspiration for Jihad (Holy War) from Islam. It would appear that Islam was the ideological starting place for the destruction of the World Trade centre; it therefore seems insulting & offensive to let muslims go anywhere near the World Trade Centre site. If Obama is so concerned about religious freedom , he should concentrate on getting the Saudis to extend religious freedom to Saudi Arabia and doing more to protect Christians who are being persecuted and disadvantaged in many muslim countries.

  • Comment number 8.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 9.

    The arid, unforgiving desolation of Bonneville Salt Flats would be a far more appropriate site for this desecration. Obama's notion of 'sensitivity' is a slap in the face for the relatives and friends of 9/11 victims and the people of New York. He's obviously abandoned the idea of a second term and is happy to alienate the Democratic Party into a similar wilderness.

  • Comment number 10.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 11.

    Our president backed up this plan in accordance with the law - and he is right, religious freedom is a big part of America - but it also shows we have freedom FROM religion, and morally this is the biggest slap in the face to not only the victims, their families, but Americans in general. I'm willing to bet that 'radical action' would be taken to destroy or deface such a place should it be built

  • Comment number 12.

    It's a very great shame that Obama bangs on the "freedom of religion" drum whilst at exactly the same time ignores the greater 'freedom-of-Speech' for mainstream media and 90% of USA population to openly teach the very real truth's about the history of Islam, it's birth, it's prophet and "holy-book" & what this Mosque really represents !

    ~ i bet aunty-beeb censors this in the cause of "Freedom of Oil-control".

  • Comment number 13.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 14.

    See if you can build any type of Christian Church in Saudi Arabia.

  • Comment number 15.

    The President is quite correct.
    He at least understands that there is no such thing as the politics of 'religion', on power plays by evil people using religion as an excuse.
    Think of the the uses of Christianity, ancient and modern, to control the flow of wealth and power from the many to the few. Same goes for other religions

  • Comment number 16.

    3. At 10:34am on 14 Aug 2010, Reiver wrote:
    So Hussein Obama, the worse President in American history.....

    ---------

    As Blackadder says - that's some achievement, as he's up against some pretty stiff competition.

    Could be worse I suppose, the local council could be footing the bill.

    VF

  • Comment number 17.

    Sorry this is wrong,can you imagine if this was in reverse,Bin Laden must be laughing his head off.

  • Comment number 18.

    9. At 10:40am on 14 Aug 2010, fastbowler wrote:
    He's obviously abandoned the idea of a second term and is happy to alienate the Democratic Party into a similar wilderness.
    ----------------------------------------------------------------------
    fastbowler, I think you're right. Not only has he abandoned the idea of a second term, he is surely now realising that the job is beyond his capabilities. For the good of America, the Democratic Party need to remove him.

  • Comment number 19.

    I rather think the word " sensitive" should apply here and consequently no mosque should be built on the site. Although as someone has commented, Islam is a religion of peace, the carnage of 9/11 was caused by Muslims, albeit of the renegade variety. If I'd lost a loved one on that day I certainly wouldn't want a mosque anywhere near the site.
    Be lovely if everyone could hold hands and kiss but in reality it is hard to forgive and forget.
    Ah me, the curse of religion. That's why I'm an atheist.

  • Comment number 20.

    We need to remember that 9/11 was due to a very nasty side if Islam that is constantly being brushed under the carpet by politically correct responsibility dodgers. In the minds of millions of people 9/11 is seen as a Moslem atrocity, and it will take a significant time before the perpetrators will be perceived to be terrorists without the Islamic connections. Even here in the UK this perception exists and no matter how much this opinion is suppressed by the 'Authorities' in the name of combatting racial prejudice, it is there among the silent majority who in their very British way, say nothing but remember well. This whole New York mosque thing is very insensitive and will do way more harm to religious relationships than good.

  • Comment number 21.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 22.

    I think the idea shows contempt for the families that lost loved ones and to the memory of those who lost their lives that dreadful day
    how can Obama be so insensitive to this issue

  • Comment number 23.

    The 9/11 attacks were made by an extremist terrorist group hiding behind a noble religion. This was not an attack by Islam on the west.

    I don't see a problem. Obama is right. He is exercising his leadership to show that there is another way apart from hate and distrust. He is taking a long-term view that violence can only be reduced by building trust.

    There are way too many haters on HYS.

  • Comment number 24.

    This is a tough one (for me personally). Although I agree with everything the president says the proposal sticks in my throat a little. Maybe I'm more intolerant than I thought but perhaps it's the athieist in me
    wondering why religion still gets so much air time.

  • Comment number 25.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 26.

    Well, Mr Obama, you are aiding and abetting in achieving the sole aim of Islam which is the defeat of Christianity.

    This the Muslims have achieved in USA - a country that cannot be trusted.

    If I was an American citizen I would feel betrayed by him, in the same way I feel betrayed by our own authorities who allow Mosques to be built here.

    Just try building a place of Christian worship in such countries as Iran and Saudi Arabia. You would be banned, banished and given a real taste of Sharia Law.

    A very sad day indeed for the preservation of Christianity.

  • Comment number 27.

    I suppose that in the land of the free, people are free to build a Mosque.

  • Comment number 28.

    Lets put this into perspective,the building in question is not actually at Ground Zero but several blocks away so hardly at ground zero.Should it be allowed?Why not?The building in question was hardly in good repair and it will take a great deal of work to bring it up to scratch.A storm in a teacup.

  • Comment number 29.

    I have no doubt that the vast majority of muslims were as horrified as the rest of us by the events of September 11. However, building a mosque so close to the site shows a certain lack of sensitivity.

  • Comment number 30.

    Would Saudi Arabia allow a Cathedral to be built in Riyadh? Under no circumstances!
    Obama has lost the plot and the people of New York and the US should stand up for decency and respect and put a stop to this outrage against reasonably held sensibilities.

  • Comment number 31.

    This is not a debate about religious freedom, as Obama would have us believe. It is about the right place to put a particular building. And to anyone with a grain of commonsense and respect for others, right next to Ground Zero is hardly a suitable location for a mosque.

  • Comment number 32.

    I think it's completely insensitive and disrespectful to want to build a mosque by Ground Zero. Yes, the terrorists who committed those crimes were extremists and mainstream Islam does not support them but their ideologies still stem from Islam and Islamic scripture. So having an Islamic centre and mosque so close is so insensitive.

    Religious freedom is all good and well, but you should express your faith with sensitivity to others. It could just as well be built somewhere else and those proposing this project have a duty to be respectful to the families of those who lost their lives.

  • Comment number 33.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 34.

    The attacks were made by Al Qaeda not Islam there is a fundamental difference, whether the terrorists were Muslim or not is irrelevant really, you can't hold an entire religion responsible for a small group of extremists.

    The IRA were predominantly Catholic, do we hold the Vatican responsible for the IRA bombing? Of course we don't that would be completely silly. The same view extends the 9/11, it's time to end the witch hunt and unjust religious (and in many cases racial) discrimination.

    And I agree with #23, too many people in this thread on HYS are just looking to an entire culture of people to blame due to must of the rubbish scare tactics printed in the tabloids.

  • Comment number 35.

    This is very insensitive.....and highly provocative on the part of the planners who are allowing this to go ahead....

  • Comment number 36.

    ..just proves that white people don't have the monopoly on insensitivity and foolishness, true equality indeed!

  • Comment number 37.

    Being morally right hasn't stopped him being a d....d fool.

    Not in the US but I've worked there.

    So I guess he's already decided there's no point standing for re-election, ever.

  • Comment number 38.

    No, he should have stayed out of it.

  • Comment number 39.

    It is up to the Yanks, but I would not want it on my door step and it also strengthens my thoughts that Obama is a Muslim.

  • Comment number 40.

    Religions just like any other myth based belief system shouldnt really be tolerated by rational people any more sorry but time has moved on since the middle ages.
    For one i can not understand why you would teach children these stupid myths when there is so much more wonderful scientific facts that would give your child a better understanding of the world.
    Why burden them with a myth based belief system that we can prove was invented by man by a simple deductive process.
    1 man is over 200'000yrs old
    judaism is 6000yrs old creation aparently happened 6thousand yrs ago some 4 thousand years or so after humans domesticated animals and started farming. Ergo man was around along time before religion meaning man made religion. simples!

    As for building a Mosque close to or on top of ground zero, why not or how about a mosque a church and a synagog and a budhist temple, hindu shrine and a temple to zeus .
    You can not change the laws of physics, there is no way a steel reinforced structure can fall in free fall without having every single one of the supports cut at the EXACT same time ask any demolishions expert.

  • Comment number 41.

    Is Obama right to step into 'Ground Zero mosque' debate?

    No, he is not.

  • Comment number 42.

    People who want to share their religious views with you almost never want you to share yours with them.

  • Comment number 43.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 44.

    39. At 11:39am on 14 Aug 2010, Happy wrote:

    It is up to the Yanks, but I would not want it on my door step and it also strengthens my thoughts that Obama is a Muslim.

    .......................................................

    And so what? What would be wrong if Obama was a Muslim????

  • Comment number 45.

    It's an abomination by Obama to fling salt in 'Ground Zero' wounds by defending plans to build a mosque nearby. If he did nothing else during his presidential tenure, this alone guarantees its singular term.

    A huge Teepee would be more appropriate, in recognition of the near genocide of indigenous Indian tribes, more of whom (no disrespect) were killed than on 9/11. Their lands and lives were stolen and wiped out, respectively, to accommodate greedy world-wide invaders.

    But a mosque? It has zilch to do with religious freedom, more to do with Obama grovelling to Muslims. Has he lost the plot (he should, before a mosque ends up on it)?!

  • Comment number 46.

    with rights come responsibilities, including the responsiblity to respect the feelings of others. It is understandable that some people will see this as a provocative act, a physical 'up yours' to the non muslim world. Moderate muslims (ie the vast majority) should recognise this and also object to the placing of this mosque

  • Comment number 47.

    Just suppose a syndicate wanted to build a huge bordello on the site, and petitions were raised, overwhelmingly against the project. Would it be built ???

    don’t answer that if you work for an undemocratic, anti-christian, anti-jew, anti-hindu, anti-buddhist, anti-anything un-islamic, over-bearing ~ bbc censorship dept ~ ps can we ever get to see the censored comments to view how moderate they really are ?

  • Comment number 48.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 49.

    9/11 was not an Islamic Act, when will people realise this?

    Throughout the ages men have falsely attributed violence and intolerant actions to their faith. The vast majority of Muslims and those of all religious faiths hold their beliefs dear and choose what in Islam we would describe as 'the straight path of good, peace and justice.

    Among those killed in the Twin Towers were an estimated 70 Muslims. One of those was Briton Sarah Ali.

    If we let this prejudice continue it will lead to a greater divide. If any unlawful act is carried out by a muslim it is stated as a muslim act where as if the act is carried out by any other religion the religion of the perpetrator is not mentioned.

  • Comment number 50.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 51.

    It's not the real Muslims that did the awlful deed on 9/11 but a group of terrorists that used and perverted the Muslim faith to justify their own actions as Jihad. However I think it's not the best idea really is it after whats happened and shows a sense of real insensitivity in view of the fact that the Muslim faith was connected to the deaths of the 3000+ souls that died that awlful day in history.

    Yet some say let bygones be bygones and sometimes it's best to build bridges and put grievances behind us. Maybe we should build a few Catholic Churches in other countries and see how they react to that ... !!!

  • Comment number 52.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 53.

    8. At 10:39am on 14 Aug 2010, Megan wrote:
    I thought the Americans, sensible chaps, believed in a separation of church and state.

    How can any American president be taken seriously with regard to a 'separation of church and state' when they will all, without fail, invoke the line.. 'may God continue to bless America' whenever the opportunity arises. What they are really saying is..'may God continue to bless our conservative Christian ways and curse all others within the US and around the world'.

    If the US truly is the 'land of the free and the home of the brave' then putting a mosque anywhere is no problem. Surely to not allow a mosque close to Ground Zero would be cowardly and un-democratic...

  • Comment number 54.

    Barack Obama is president of a state with a secular constitution that does not take its legitimacy from belief in gods. Unlike the UK, state education is secular and the closest religion is allowed to intrude is the questionable motto on the dollar bill, 'In God We Trust'.
    He should make no public pronouncements on the matter of mosques. I am surprised that a President that I admire so much for his wisdom and honesty would say something so politically foolish and ruinous.

  • Comment number 55.

    One has to wonder what has happened to Obama's advisors. First he is allowed to mouth off unchecked about BP, forgetting that many American firms and share-holders were involved, and now this farce with the mosque.
    The mosque is planned to open on the anniversary of 9/11, which has to be the height of arrogance and highly insensitive, so much so that I understand that NYPD are being readied for big civil protests over this.
    Why hasn't the presidents office intervened before the President opened his mouth.
    When first in office he promised so much, particularly after Bush, but sadly he has proved to be blinkered and xenophobic. I doubt he will get a second term.

  • Comment number 56.

    nothing wrong with a mosque if it is not offensive to build a mosque on the site surely it will not be offensive to have a public toilet with the names of the perpetrators in the urinal and the toilet bowls in the ladies with the names of the perpetrators so that those upset have somewhere to visit as well. For those who claim my idea to be offensive do they not consider murder to be offensive?

  • Comment number 57.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 58.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 59.

    Magi Thatcher wrote: "People who want to share their religious views with you almost never want you to share yours with them."

    Just so... hence an excellent method to remove Jehovah's Witnesses from your doorstep is to preach at them! Works a treat :)

  • Comment number 60.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 61.

    40. At 11:40am on 14 Aug 2010, th3_0r4cl3 wrote:
    You can not change the laws of physics, there is no way a steel reinforced structure can fall in free fall without having every single one of the supports cut at the EXACT same time ask any demolishions expert.
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------
    Well this demolitions expert says you're wrong. Presumably you subscribe to the 'myth based belief system' that 9/11 was a government conspiracy.

  • Comment number 62.

    WARS - they are reason I've abandoned Religion. A bunch of hypocrites. Look back on History and its littered with battles and atrocities based purely on religious beliefs. Not for me, thanks, I stick to Mother Natuire !!

  • Comment number 63.

    This is obama's biggest mistake, although America was built on religous freedom. you should not build where it will just cause hate..
    Although we all know that Islam is a religion of peace and love for your fellow men.. and if you say anything different you will have broken the house rules of the BBC HYS... It did inspire young misguided muslim who did not follow their religion to it's true peacefull path, to kill. this mosque will just insult people and cause hate, although we all know that it only intention is to spread peace and freedom to follow Allah, (by which they mean God,).

  • Comment number 64.

    20. At 10:58am on 14 Aug 2010, Bradfordbelle wrote:
    We need to remember that 9/11 was due to a very nasty side if Islam that is constantly being brushed under the carpet by politically correct responsibility dodgers. In the minds of millions of people 9/11 is seen as a Moslem atrocity, and it will take a significant time before the perpetrators will be perceived to be terrorists without the Islamic connections. Even here in the UK this perception exists and no matter how much this opinion is suppressed by the 'Authorities' in the name of combatting racial prejudice, it is there among the silent majority who in their very British way, say nothing but remember well. This whole New York mosque thing is very insensitive and will do way more harm to religious relationships than good.
    =========================================

    Do you know of the attrocitys inflicted on the middle east, nations carved up into pieces, the horrendous deaths and violence used by "CHRISTIAN" countrys, in the LAST century, NOT hundreds of years ago.

    The prejudices are NOT about race or religion, they are SPECIFICALLY about POWER and DOMINANCE, which is specifically what religions are all about. Each of the main religions aspire to world domination, the conversion of the masses into abiding by and maintaining ONE way of central thought and belief.

    Its basically not much different from Nazi philosophy and creation of a singular people, with one central figure controlling the world.

    Religions seek to assimilate each and every person into one mindset, bit like the Borg on star-trek

  • Comment number 65.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 66.

    If your opinion, is other than that Islam is a wonderfull religion of peace you will have broken the house rules.

  • Comment number 67.

    While it's true that one cannot build a church in Saudi Arabia, it's equally true that there is not a Mosque in the home of Christianity - the Vatican City. To those that say that there is no churches in Iran, there are, in fact, over 600 there:


    http://uk.ask.com/wiki/Christianity_in_Iran

    In fact, most of the Arab Middle East is full of churches:

    http://www.arabicbible.com/ac/ac.htm

  • Comment number 68.

    To be honest, I dont care, religion discusts me.

    If I believed in the power of four leaf clovers, do you think I would have my position protected by the BBC in preference to truth and fact.

    NO.

  • Comment number 69.

    If I remember correctly weren't there a fair number of moslems who also died in Nine/Eleven. It might be a good idea if the new mosque was dedicated to their memory.

  • Comment number 70.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 71.

    No, I dont thhink ANY religious building should be built, anywhere.

  • Comment number 72.

    Over Scotland's premature release of the Lockerbie bomber I believe Barack Obama accused all and sundry of insensitivity towards those Americans who lost loved ones as a result of that Islam-inspired atrocity. In this instance, following even greater evil from terrorists who take their inspiration from the same religious source he himself is insensitive towards those Americans, and others, who lost loved ones. He clearly has blind spots in his thinking and how we in the West relate to Muslims is one example. This is dangerous, not only for Americans but for all of us in Western alliances.

  • Comment number 73.

    Surely it is the local New York City council, or whatever it is called in the US who should be held to account for the building or otherwise of this centre. Do the Americans not have any kind of planning permission?

  • Comment number 74.

    If they've got build something there a mosque is much better than a McDonalds.

  • Comment number 75.

    I dont think that such a person who believes in such unproven mysticism should even be in power of a nation.

    How can such a person be of truthful/honest judgement capability when they themselves believe in a mystical superbeing with planet forming powers and of which this being has a punishment zone filled with fire to inflict horrendous pain upon non-believers and naughty people for an eternity.

    How can someone of such beliefs have the MORAL position of domination and control over so many people, regardless of the nature of election.

  • Comment number 76.

    This is the second news story this week that proves to me that the Islamic terrorists are winning. The establishment both sides of the pond are afraid to say no to any request from any Islamic organisation legitimate or otherwise.

  • Comment number 77.

    Wind-blown wrote:-
    I don't see a problem. Obama is right. He is exercising his leadership to show that there is another way apart from hate and distrust. He is taking a long-term view that violence can only be reduced by building trust.

    Yes let's have the mosque and then the creeping islamic faith pushing us all back to the 15th century.

  • Comment number 78.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 79.

    More Muslims were murdered in the Al Qaeda attacks on the Twin Towers than carried out the attack. There were around 60 Muslims innocently going about their daily business in the Twin Towers and murdered by the Islamic terrorists in just the same way as athesist, Christians or Jews working alongside them.

    Those opposing the mosque seem to have forgotten that around 60 Muslims were murdered that day by Al Qaeda. Isn't objecting to building a mosque an insult to those Muslim victims by tarring them with the crimes of their murderers?

  • Comment number 80.

    45. At 11:47am on 14 Aug 2010, Susan wrote:
    It's an abomination by Obama to fling salt in 'Ground Zero' wounds by defending plans to build a mosque nearby

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Hallowed ground...
    2 blocks away from WTC craters...
    In an old burlington coat factory...
    Near the strip club and porn shop down the street...

  • Comment number 81.

    There seems to be a misnomer in the articles relating to the building of the proposed $100 million 13 storey mosque and Islamic cultural centre which will be sited two blocks from the World Trade Centre and not on ground zero as many people opposing it including me, had thought.
    I have just read details of the article where it states that the proposed $100 million 13 storey mosque and Islamic cultural centre will be sited two blocks from the World Trade Centre and not on Ground Zero. Therefore, I now understand why the Major of NY and the President support the move which based on that fact. I think many have been mistaken to believe that proposed mosque is to be built on Ground Zero which isn't the case. Plus, the land on which it is to be built is outside Ground zero and privately owned. The Private Owners can decide who they want to buy and build on their land, provided it is all within the law. I changed my mind and opinion in favour based on the new facts that I have read. There needs to be clarity on reporting of facts so the public can make well informed judgements of issues.

  • Comment number 82.

    Let them have their mosque on the condition that we can go to Muslim countries and open Catholic or Protestant Churches. Doubt it will be allowed because when in their countries we have to comply to the laws and religions of their land.

  • Comment number 83.

    People of all religions and none died in the terrorist attack on 9/11
    The vast majority of victims of militant "Islamic" terrorists subsequent to this attack have been Muslims.

    Islam fundamentally opposes violence against the innocent in the same way as other major religions as does basic humanist philosophy.

    I don't always agree with President Obama's utterings but I am 100% with him on this one.

  • Comment number 84.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 85.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 86.

    He is finally lost his mind. Quite unfortunate he's a young and funny guy but it's going too far. Why do they have to build the mosque at ground zero? I can see there will be rebellion and protest and an attempt to bring the project and building to its end. If they would build it 100 miles away, then I wouldn't see anyone complain about that...

  • Comment number 87.

    I think it is no longer true that the electorate automatically assume that the Organised Religions hold the moral High ground or that all religions and cultures have equal moral and ethical standards. How is it possible for the President of the United States to ignore the difference between what some Organised Religions claim to be and what they are in practise? Does he give equal credence to those religions that brand children as Witches and practise violent exorcisms on them? Does he support Death for Apostasy? Does he support coercion in belief? Surely there can never have been true belief where there is coercion or threats or even social and community pressure that causes people to conform to religious practice out of fear. Is this the freedom that he claims for the USA? Belief in a Supreme Being is one thing but blind support for any doctrine of any Organised Religion regardless of whether those doctrines are in support of goodness is quite another. The problem with politicians through out the world is that they have failed to distinguish between the value of one ethos and another.
    The principle of what Obama said is wrong-all religions and cultures are not of equal value, the people know this.Why don't the politicians?

  • Comment number 88.

    I'm sorry, but in what way is violence un-Islamic. Mohammed was effectively a head of state, he fought to unite the Arabs tribes under his rule. His first Caliph, his father-in-law, following Mohammed's wishes in raising the Bedoiun nomads as an army to attack the Persian and Byzantine empires.

    The Qu'ran prohibits the killing of innocents or non combatants, but the Persian and Byzantine people were non combatants until the Muslims decided they were, and made them fair game. Islam (at first) was spread by war and violence. The only reason Islam spread in the Indus valley by missionaries was becuase the Hindus put up a fight.

    I'm sure someone will say : "Ah, but the Crusades.." but the Crusaders could not say they were acting as Jesus or the first Apostles did as they were explicitly, and to their own harm, non-violent.

    Make no mistake, as an empire the Islamic empire was magnificant, cultured, powerful, and scientifically advanced, but it was like any other empire; expansionistic, aggressive and bullying.

  • Comment number 89.

    ..well, if they are going to build anything large it should be a multi-purpose 'all faiths' building, favouring no particular group. Astronomers ,astrologers,philosophers, martial artists and Scientologists also invited. Debates and boxing matches every saturday night ! Could be called 'The Universe and The Relative Insigificance of Man Building'.

  • Comment number 90.

    No, on this issue Obama is wrong.. Although America was built on religious freedom, you must still be sensitive to all people and building a Mosque at Ground Zero, will just build hate.
    For an example, look at Londonderry, today or should I say Derry. Plus it was because American, (for the most part,) was not held back by religious indoctrination and had freedom be inventive that the world moved forward. Now that same freedom is being used to cause division, hate, and celebrate a faith that “of course is only interested in Peace love and respect to all fellow men” only a few misguided young men, going against the faith have murder in the name of that faith.

  • Comment number 91.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 92.

    Prez Obama deserves a big thumbs up for defending the right of Muslims to have a Ground Zero mosque in keeping with the right to religious freedom enshrined in the US Constitution. There may be hardly a couple of thousand muslims in the world who are religious fanatics whereas Islam is proud to be the fastest growing religion in the world - at a count l.8 billions muslims live on this planet. One should also remember the fact that nearly a hundred muslims were killed in the attack. In fact, there should be prayer houses of all religions at Ground Zero only to reiterate that people of all religious denominations stand united shoulder-to-shoulder in their fight against all fundamentalists in the world.

  • Comment number 93.

    i can't believe all of the lies and mis-truth's peddled as truth's on this thread about church's in islamic states ~ any quick google search of "persecuted Christians" shows that almost all of the persecution and church destruction is in Islamic lands, but you would never ever know it from just reading the vast majority bbc news pages

  • Comment number 94.

    Obama is the President of the United States of America. The First Amendment guarantees the right to freedom of religion. It prohibits the making of any law "respecting an establishment of religion", impeding the free exercise of religion. What do his critics expect him to say? Didn't he swear to uphold the constitution when he was sworn into office?

    Isn't it for the legislature and courts to amend the amendment not the President? He is after all only upholding the constitution as it now holds.

  • Comment number 95.

    US President Barack Obama has staunchly defended controversial plans to build a mosque NEAR Ground Zero in New York.
    Again no one is reading this story, it is not on GROUND ZERO.

    If a McDonalds was to be opened in a school playground everyone would oppose it but if it was 1/2 a mile away no one would oppose.



  • Comment number 96.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 97.

    What's freedom of religion got to do with it? There's freedom of religion in Britain but that doesn't mean you can build a church in the middle of the M6. Under any building approval process you must take into account many factors including the impact on the local community. The question here is about whether building a mosque in close proximity to ground zero is acceptable or not.

    The debate isn't helped by the intent to officially open the building on the anniversary of 9/11 which appears crass and provocative.

  • Comment number 98.

    77. At 12:23pm on 14 Aug 2010, Roger Smith wrote:
    Wind-blown wrote:-
    I don't see a problem. Obama is right. He is exercising his leadership to show that there is another way apart from hate and distrust. He is taking a long-term view that violence can only be reduced by building trust.

    Yes let's have the mosque and then the creeping islamic faith pushing us all back to the 15th century.

    Or a christian church that pushes us back to the 2nd century
    or a jewish synagog that pushes us back to the 60th century bc

    Why not just build a statue to dave the holy pink unicorn who vomited the world up after eating a mouldy interstella cheese burger, PROVE HE DIDNT.

  • Comment number 99.

    A singularly insensitive plan. Obama is very good at putting his foot in it and displays his basic lack of experience more and more often.

  • Comment number 100.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

 

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