Obama backs NY mosque project

President Barack Obama backed construction of a proposed mosque and Muslim cultural centre near the site of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks in New York — a project opposed by U.S. conservatives and many New Yorkers.

“As a citizen, and as president, I believe that Muslims have the same right to practice their religion as anyone else in this country,” Obama said at an event on Friday attended by diplomats from Islamic countries and members of the U.S. Muslim community.

“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,” he said.

Earlier this month a New York city agency cleared the way for construction of the center, which will include a prayer room, two blocks from the site of the Sept 11 attacks, popularly known as “Ground Zero.”

“This is America and our commitment to religious freedom must be unshakable,” said Obama, who has made improving ties between the United States and the Muslim world a cornerstone of his foreign policy.

Obama was speaking during an Iftar dinner he hosted at the White House. Iftar is the evening meal when Muslims break their daily fast during the holy month of Ramadan.

He said the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution had established the freedom of religion “and that right has been upheld ever since.”

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Ground Zero mosque to go ahead

Planners have cleared the way for a mosque to be built near New York’s Ground Zero site, despite fierce opposition.

The Landmarks Preservation Commission’s decision not to declare the building a landmark allows organisers to transform into an Islamic community centre, just blocks from the site of the September 11 terrorist attacks National and local politicians and pressure groups spoke out against plans for the mosque, saying it “disrespected” the memory of September 11 victims.

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Wish You Weren’t Here

Jon Stewart in his usual hilarious and genius form in The Daily Show, on the xenophobic call of many in the “Conservative” world to prevent Muslims from building places of worship in America, as well as the double standards they entail.

The Daily Show With Jon Stewart Mon – Thurs 11p / 10c
Wish You Weren’t Here
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