Last night, President Obama spoke at an Iftar dinner at the White House. (Iftar is the traditional Muslim dinner held at the end of during Ramadan.) In his remarks, he waded deep into controversy over the building of a large mosque at Ground Zero in New York City. In his remarks, he made clear his support for the mosque, appealing to America’s traditions of religious tolerance:
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. (Applause.) 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.
Nice platitudes, which however include the condescending and patronizing section highlighted above. Mr. President, this is not about religious freedom: Muslims have the right to practice their faith in over 30 mosques in New York City, alone, and can build more. And it is not about private property rights (which is funny coming from you, given your treatment of property rights in the GM and Chrysler bailouts), for no serious critic says property owners do not have the right to do what they wish with their property within zoning laws.
It is, however, about the location chosen and the inappropriateness of exercising those rights at that place. Ground Zero is where a Muslim jihadist organization launched a razzia (“raid”) against the kuffar (“infidels”) for the sake of Allah (“jihad fi sabil Allah“) and in accordance with the Qur’an, chapter nine, verse five:
Then, when the sacred months have passed, slay the idolaters wherever ye find them, and take them (captive), and besiege them, and prepare for them each ambush. But if they repent and establish worship and pay the poor-due, then leave their way free. Lo! Allah is Forgiving, Merciful.
And, at the same link, verse 111:
Lo! Allah hath bought from the believers their lives and their wealth because the Garden will be theirs: they shall fight in the way of Allah and shall slay and be slain. It is a promise which is binding on Him in the Torah and the Gospel and the Qur’an. Who fulfilleth His covenant better than Allah? Rejoice then in your bargain that ye have made, for that is the supreme triumph.
That act of war, done in the name of Islam and in accordance with Islamic law, killed 3,000 of our people and foreign guests. And you think it’s a good thing to build a mosque there? Muslim spokesmen and their liberal and libertarian apologists demand we be tolerant and sensitive. Tell me, sir, why shouldn’t they (and you) be tolerant and sensitive toward the nearly 70% of Americans who oppose building that mosque on that spot?
Contrary to popular Leftist mythology, Americans are very tolerant, generous people. We also have a well-developed sense of decency. And we are not bigots when we say that building a mosque at Ground Zero, one that will be headed by an Islamic supremacist imam and which every Muslim knows is a deliberate provocation, is indecent and an insult to the memory of those who died there.
And what does it say about you, sir, that you side with allies of the Muslim Brotherhood against the wishes of the people who elected you? I’ll let Jennifer Rubin have the last word:
Obama has shown his true sentiments now, after weeks of concealing them, on an issue of deep significance not only to the families and loved ones of 3,000 slaughtered Americans but also to the vast majority of his fellow citizens. He has once again revealed himself to be divorced from the values and concerns of his countrymen. He is entirely – and to many Americans, horridly — a creature of the left, with little ability to make moral distinctions. His sympathies for the Muslim World take precedence over those, such as they are, for his fellow citizens. This is nothing short of an abomination.
LINKS: Lots have been written about this in the last 24 hours. Bad Rachel calls it an act of appeasement. Power Line scoffs at the vapid multiculturalism of the President’s remarks. Debra Burlingame, sister of one of the pilots of the hijacked planes on 9-11, is stunned by the President’s statement. Andrew Bostom quotes Muslim apostate Ibn Warraq on Obama’s Ramadan obeisance to totalitarian Islam. Baseball Crank (always worth reading) says Obama has chosen sides. Blue Crab Boulevard says it’s not a question of rights, but one of wrongs.
ADDENDUM I: Inevitably, this is going to raise the “Obama’s a seekrit Mooslim” issue again. I don’t believe it for a minute and give it the same credence I give Laredo Trutherism. He is, however, an extremely cynical, yet intellectually shallow progressive politician of the Chicago type, who sees people not as individual citizens, but as groups to be pandered to in return for votes and donations. This is also further proof that he is a Leftist academic elitist who looks down on the rest of his countrymen, those “bitter clingers.”
ADDENDUM II: As a matter of pure politics, I have to ask: Is he insane? The leader of the Democratic Party, Obama has now nationalized the Ground Zero mosque issue and by his remarks guaranteed that Democratic candidates across the nation are going to be asked from now until Election Day whether they agree with the President’s endorsement of the mosque, which is strongly opposed by two-thirds of the nation. I wonder how many buried their head in their hands when they heard the news?
FINALLY: I’ve always tried to differentiate between Islam and Muslims, because not all Muslims agree with or want to practice the aggressive, illiberal, supremacist, and intolerant aspects of Islamic doctrine. And so I have to sympathize with those Muslims who must feel their legs have been kicked out from under them by the President’s divisive statement in support of what is, in effect, the effort to build a jihadist victory monument.
(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)
EDIT: Fixed because I had mixed up the iftar meal with the Eid meal held at the end of Ramadan. Thanks to Helen in the ST comments section.
UPDATE: The President tries to walk-back his comments from last night. Good luck with that, bub.