General Question

john65pennington's avatar

Should President Obama have given his endorsement to the mosque?

Asked by john65pennington (29235points) August 13th, 2010

I am for anyone having their own religion. This is America. But, sometimes, especially the President of The United States, a person should keep the seperation between church and state. Meaning this: was his endorsement of the planned mosque, near the bombed twin towers, ethnical? He is muslim, the bombing terrorists were muslim and the planned mosque is muslim. Somehow, someway, this three-way combination has a bad smell to it. Question: by endorsing this planned mosque and his affiliation with the muslim religion, has President Obama “crossed the line” in his ability to be a leader of our country?

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48 Answers

Nullo's avatar

I agree, it’s no rosebush. Though I say again that SOCAS is a crock – a person motivated by his religious beliefs is the same as a person motivated by his non-religious beliefs.
Also, this is terrible PR. The man’s approval rating is going to drop. Again.

Aethelwine's avatar

Doesn’t he have better things to do with his time?

DominicX's avatar

Obama is not a Muslim.

“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. That said, this is America. And our commitment to religious freedom must be unshakable.” – Obama

I can’t help but agree with that.

Winters's avatar

Obama himself is NOT Muslim. His father was. however I agree that church and state should remain separated, and may have not been the smartest choice to do so. This is also a potential bomb for him politically.

DrasticDreamer's avatar

I think you mean “ethical”.

I fully believe that there should be a separation of church and state. But that said, why do I have the feeling that you wouldn’t have said anything, if this had been a Christian church he endorsed?

The fact that it’s a Muslim mosque, the fact that Obama is not Muslim, actually… And the fact that the terrorists were Muslim has nothing to do with anything. At least… It shouldn’t. What should be focused on is separation of church and state, period. But that, clearly, isn’t what this question is about.

plethora's avatar

The man’s approval rating is already in the tank. NO he should not have said a word. It is none of his business as POTUS. He can speak on the mosque only as a private citizen, but like many celebrities, he is using his position to enhance a personal end.

The man seems to have no concept of separation between his official role and his private ideas. A la his comments the “stupid police” who arrested the misbehaving Black professor.

jrpowell's avatar

“He is muslim”

Wowsa… You just lost any respect I had for you. And that wasn’t much to start with.

God bless America..

Spread your bullshit elsewhere.

john65pennington's avatar

DrasticDreamer, i believe the twin towers were destroyed by terrorists muslims, not christians.

plethora's avatar

I cannot demonstrate that Obama is a Muslim. Nor can I demonstrate that he has any other religious persuasion…..except, of course, that of his friend Rev Wright.

DrasticDreamer's avatar

@john65pennington And what does that have to do with you incorrectly assuming that Obama is a Muslim? What does that have to with with a Muslim mosque possibly being built? The issue should be separation of church and state. Not, specifically, separation of Muslim mosques and state.

john65pennington's avatar

DrasticDreamer, you are completely missing the point of my question. please reread it.

No, i did not mean ethical, i mean ethnical with an N.

plethora's avatar

@johnpowell I honestly don’t know what religion he espouses, if any….do you? But will note that if you listen only to what he has said in public to Muslims, he surely left the Muslims thinking he was a brother.

DrasticDreamer's avatar

@john65pennington Oh. I see. That makes it even worse.

john65pennington's avatar

Good night all.

jrpowell's avatar

It is actually a community center. It has a pool.

@plethora :: Pretty sure he is Christian. I don’t know exactly what he thinks but the secret Muslim thing borders on stupidity.

Likeradar's avatar

Obama is not a follower of Islam. Seriously, @john65pennington where the hell do you get this info?

The mosque near Ground Zero is a hot button issue. His statement was not in support of Islam, but in support of religious freedom. Good for him.

plethora's avatar

@Likeradar Religious freedom has nothing whatever to do with it.

Nullo's avatar

@johnpowell Dunno if you could really call it a community center. Will it be available to non-Muslims?
Obama attended the church pastored by the questionable Rev. Wright. I don’t think that that helps his case any, though.

@plethora Seconded. The man’s been on a make-nice rampage. He’s already killed NASA for it.

augustlan's avatar

I believe he’s probably trying to get people to calm the fuck down and listen to good sense. In my opinion it would be unAmerican to deny these people the right to build on the basis of their religion.

shilolo's avatar

If Obama cared about his poll numbers (like most pols), he either would have said nothing, or come out against it and pandered to the majority who don’t understand what constitutional freedoms really mean. He took an unpopular stance because it is the right thing to do. Does anyone really think that IF he were a muslim (which he is not), that he argued in favor of the center in order to help him with American muslims who amount to <1% of the population in order to help him get reelected? That’s just absurd.

I’m reminded of the famous poem by Martin Niemöller.

“THEY CAME FIRST for the Communists,
and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Communist.

THEN THEY CAME for the trade unionists,
and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a trade unionist.

THEN THEY CAME for the Jews,
and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Jew.

and by that time no one was left to speak up.”

shilolo's avatar

Also, Republican Mayor Michael Bloomberg (of NYC) has also come out in favor of the mosque, and used much stronger language than President Obama. Is he a Muslim too? ~

MacBean's avatar

@shilolo He must be! OMG, the darkies are taking over the country! D: ~

plethora's avatar

@augustlan @Likeradar @DominicX To my knowledge (which could be faulty) no one, of any stripe, has suggested denying them the right to build because of their religious beliefs. Because of their political connections, yes. Because Muslims are committed to obeying their religious leaders even on political matters, yes. Because it is a slap in the face, mildly speaking, to build where terrorists, who also profess the same religion, bombed (with airplanes) and killed thousands, yes.

But let’s not confuse any of that with “religious beliefs”. Religious belief has nothing to do with it, except in the minds of gullible Americans.

Now…is it gonna happen, yes. Why? Because Bloomberg wants it to happen, if the NY Times today can be believed. He wants it to happen because they own the property and he believes that if a person owns the property they can do with it as they please if they have the proper municipal permissions, which he has seen that they get.

I can buy that argument. I even agree with it in principal. But the religious belief argument is for silly Americans to believe.

bob_'s avatar

It depends on what you mean by “should”. On the one hand, his popularity will suffer, so it could be said that, from a strictly political point of view, he shouldn’t have said anything, since he has very little to win. On the other, he should be able to speak his mind.

@johnpowell I agree that this is a bullshit question. I don’t understand why it hasn’t been removed. If it’s deemed not to be a bullshit question, then I don’t understand why your “unhelpful” comment isn’t modded~
@shilolo Michael Bloomberg is a lifelong Democrat who only ran as a Republican and is now an independent. See here.

skfinkel's avatar

You lost me with “seperation” of church and state. It just looks so wrong….doesn’t it?

Cruiser's avatar

Should he support this project? Sure. But IMO this whole thing stinks. To me it makes no sense why a group of Muslims would even think to build a Mosque in the shadow of our single most devastating event to befall our great country. There could not be a bigger slap in our face and I feel for the families who lost loved ones…I feel for the men and women who gave their sweat and time to help out for months in cleaning up that disaster.

It is quite obvious these people are quite upset over this and should be heard when it comes down to anything remotely concerned with that hallowed ground. There are a 100 other locations this group can build their Islamic fun castle.

One thing is becoming clearer is this Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, is not exactly forthright in all the nitty gritty details of this project chiefly who is funding this project. He was asked yesterday point blank at a news conference where is the money coming from and he flatly refused to answer.

I think Obama has another Shirley Sherrod situation on his hands and better do his homework before opening his mouth in support of this… IMO…. insanity.

Reading stuff like this rubs me the wrong way….

“Critics, however, said Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, the founder of Cordoba Initiative and ASMA, would not disclose the source of the funds. He’s also been criticized for telling CBS’ “60 Minutes” last year that “United States policies were an accessory” to the 9/11 attacks.

Cruiser says WTH!?! Build the building somewhere else….anywhere but there!!

plethora's avatar

@Cruiser KUDOs….Couldn’t have been stated any better GA

Response moderated (Off-Topic)
Dutchess_III's avatar

Obama is the most tolerant and accepting president we’ve ever had.

mattbrowne's avatar

I totally disagree that it’s none of Obama’s business. On the contrary. It’s his job to keep America safe now and in the future. This was one of the main reason he went to Cairo on June 4, 2009 to give his

speech. It was one of the best speeches I’ve ever heard. Long-term peace depends on cooperative coexistence of all believers and non-believers. In the West we should do everything to strengthen all moderate forces in all religions. We need more dialogue.

I said this in the other thread that some moderate Muslims lack to courage to speak out against radicals openly. There are very few anti-extremist demonstrations in the Muslim world. Then comes one Danish cartoon and hundreds of millions both moderate and radicals take to the streets. It’s a problem. The silent majority is a problem. They are silent because of fear. They don’t want to get into trouble with the extremists.

For the Ground Zero Mosque we have to make sure that no extremists are yelling at the top of their lungs. Hate speech cannot be tolerated. In Germany they would get arrested if their yelling included hate speech. We got free speech, but there are some restrictions. I know that many Americans don’t agree with this approach, but over here it’s the law and the majority of our voters want to keep it that way. See

All mosques in Germany are being observed by the so-called Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution. Very often police informers are being used. It turns out that more than 99% of all mosques and related community centers are peaceful and law abiding. No hate speeches. Some of the remaining 1% are borderline and they are being watched with extra care. There are cases of foreign imams who got arrested and had to leave our country for breaking our laws. There are cases where entire community centers were closed down and everything in it got confiscated. Sometimes this is extremely useful. This information is shared with the CIA and other secret services and sometimes this leads to arrests of terrorists in other countries. Why not give the Ground Zero Mosque a chance? Very likely it will be belong to the 99% peaceful ones.

An imam who states that the United States is partly to blame for September 11th and he refuses to call Hamas a terrorist organization is totally unacceptable. Why can’t this mosque being run by a honorable imam? I would put extreme pressure on this community about who they select.

plethora's avatar

@mattbrowne If we had the sense in the US, and the absence of political correctness, and the willingness to use force as you describe in Germany, I would have no objection to the mosque. I’m very positively impressed with way Germany handles it.

My son is a Naval Officer in Stuttgart. He has described to me the power of the police and I think it is impressive. For instance, he says if you are stopped for a driving violation and refuse to take a breath test, they just force you to take it and have the power to do that. Can you imagine that in the US? You would have Obama himself on TV talking about the “stupid police”. And God forbid if the violator is a Black person and the cop White.

Another example has to do with fairly large music and beer drinking festivals. His comment is that those things in the US would get out of hand quickly. In Germany, the cops are nearby and if even a couple of people start to get out of hand, they are quickly removed, no questions asked.

Now if I could just learn to like German food….:)

mattbrowne's avatar

@plethora – Well, like all countries, Germany is not perfect. At the so-called Love Parade which was a large music and beer drinking festival, recently 21 people were killed and more than 500 injured. Although the cops are probably not the ones to blame most, they also could have handled the situation in a better way.

When it comes to hate speech over here, everyone is extra careful. The Nazis perfected the system of hate speech and millions of people were murdered. So never again.

Here’s a recent story that might interest you:

“German police shut down a mosque in Hamburg on Monday August 9, 2010, which was once connected to the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks on the United States, saying it had links with armed Islamist groups in Pakistan and Afghanistan. The Taiba Mosque in the port city was previously known as the Al-Quds Mosque and was once frequented by Mohammed Atta, the leader of the group that carried out the attack on the World Trade Center in New York for al Qaeda.

Despite the name change, the mosque in Hamburg’s St. Georg district remained under close watch by security services since the 9/11 attacks. “We believe that the mosque has been supporting terrorism for years,” Manfred Murck from the Office for the Protection of the Constitution, a German domestic intelligence service, told a news conference held by Hamburg state authorities. About 20 police cordoned off the mosque early on Monday and searched the premises, said the interior minister for Hamburg, Christoph Ahlhaus, adding that the cultural association behind the mosque had been declared a banned organisation.

The mosque was a meeting point for the “jihadist scene” which had in the past sent recruits to take part in the armed Islamist insurgency in Pakistan and Afghanistan, Ahlhaus said. There was no mention of any arrests being made. Egyptian-born Atta, who was on board the first of the two planes to hit the World Trade Center, studied at a technical university in Hamburg in the 1990s and frequented the Al-Quds mosque, along with other 9/11 plotters.”

But here’s a positive example, an opportunity for peace about a yearly event all over Germany called “Day of the Open Mosque”:

“The German Muslim community has been criticised for being too subdued in its condemnation of fundamentalist ideas. The Interior Minister of the German State of North Rhine-Westphalia met with Muslim leaders to talk about their position. Behrens praised the work of the Muslim communities in Essen-Katernberg, a suburb of the city of Essen, and the clergy’s commitment against crime and violence. At the same time the minister condemned fundamentalism. “I hope for a broad alliance against extremism and Islamism that preaches terror and violence, an alliance in which as many Muslims as possible take part. We can’t and won’t accept an Islamism which turns against our society and our legal system,” Behrens said. “It is the duty of all people living in Germany, including all Muslims living here, to acknowledge our constitutional principles and abide by the laws of this country. Our state is democratic and open, but it cannot and will not tolerate people who abuse these liberties, to preach hate and mischief.”

plethora's avatar

@mattbrowne You guys have a lot to teach the US on this subject. You appear to both monitor the Muslim community (at least its mosques), thus recognizing that there is the possibility of danger. You also have positive dialogue that also recognizes the need for the Muslim community to address Islamic extremism.

I, as a conservative, would be more than happy with that approach in the US. (I am just envisioning the ACLU and US liberals rising up in arms over such “police tactics”).

Would be nice to hear comments from other flutherites about the German approach.

Perhaps there needs to be another question that specifically addresses the German approach.

Cruiser's avatar

@plethora We have our own little answer to this “issue” and it is called the Patriot Act which is chock full of invasive “liberties” our Government gave themselves to police all sorts of foreign activities on our soil.

shilolo's avatar

@plethora It’s easy to accept draconian measures when it’s “some other guy” whose place of worship is being watched and whose phones are being systematically tapped. It is the height of hypocrisy that we demand more openness from Middle Eastern countries (which I agree with) but then introduce restrictive measures at home. What kind of precedent does that set? Do as I say, not as I do.

plethora's avatar

@shilolo No hypocrisy whatever. The Imams are known to use the mosques for subversive purposes. See above re Germany.

@Cruiser Agreed. They should be applied here…as well as to Obama’s close preacher friend, the Rev Wright. He’s subversive too. BTW…loved Obama’s “Chicago” defense on that. 20 years in the church and “he didn’t see nothin and he don’t know nothin”

Cruiser's avatar

@plethora So very true!! I am now myself an atheist for lack of a better descriptor but I remember every fire and brimstone sermon of my Catholic upbringing!

Dutchess_III's avatar

Obama didn’t actually give his endorsement, BTW. I’ve been reading more on that. He just took a neutral ground based on Freedom of Religion, but he DID make a comment along the lines of “An unfortunate choice site.” And, of course, he got ripped for not being a Chirstiancentric redneck.

I think it was a bad choice, and I think the reality TV actor who started the whole thing is just trying to see how far he can go. I think they should tell them “No,” if for no other reason than it’s in really poor taste. Seriously, if some Christian nuts had found a way to go in and bomb the shit out of Afghanistan’s most important building, citing God as their justification, do you EVEN think they’d look the other way if non-zelot Christians wanted to build a church around the site? Of course not. I would hope no one would even suggest such a thoughtless, rude thing. There are plenty of other sites around the city. You have to ask yourself WHY they just have to have THAT one.

Siren's avatar

Obama, as the country’s president and leader must step up and speak up against racism and discrimination, however it is displayed. He also has a duty to remind the public about the freedom to worship and build places of worship in America. I think he did his duty.

Bush, before him, also had a duty to remind the public against discriminating against individuals in America based on their religion. He was probably more successful, although he went on to invade two countries.

By the way, I believe you just invented a new catch phrase: ethnical

To answer that second part, yes it is ethical, it goes beyond that. He has to remind everyone about our amendment rights, however people want to walk all over them due to hysteria/political or religious beliefs.

Siren's avatar

Hey, did anyone see the Daily Show With John Stewart August 24th where he mentioned that one of the partners who owns Fox News is actually going to help fund the mosque? Pretty ironic, isn’t it?

And those Fox commentators were going on and on about the mosque, not knowing one of their owners was actually going to be one of the biggest donors. Everyone should look into that. Stewart went on to suggest that if people watching Fox were against the mosque being built, they should stop watching Fox. Unreal.

Here is the link: (click on Daily Show With John Stewart)

Dutchess_III's avatar

@Siren That’s precious!!! (About Fox!) But I bet we don’t hear any more about that!

Siren's avatar

@Dutchess_III: Well, once the cat is out of the bag… ;)

augustlan's avatar

@Siren @Dutchess_III See here.

Now, let’s get back to the topic.

Siren's avatar

@augustlan: Hey, that’s great! I’m glad this was discussed in detail on fluther. Yayyy!

Back to this question, I still believe a president must put both his personal emotions and own biases aside and follow through in enforcing our amendment laws, which he has done so. So, he can check that off his “to do” list.

Dutchess_III's avatar

@Siren Agreed….he handled the way he had to. For all we know his personal feelings were to rant and rave and call them names…but he didn’t have that luxury.

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