wiki globe

Posts Tagged ‘mosque’

Controversy swells as Obama supports Ground Zero mosque

In Uncategorized on August 15, 2010 at 11:23 am

US President Barack Obama’s support for the right to build a mosque just blocks from Ground Zero poured fuel Saturday on a raging debate over religious freedom and sensitivities over the 9/11 terror strikes.


Muslims “have the same right to practice their religion as anyone else in this country,” Obama said at an Iftar meal at the White House for Muslims breaking their Ramadan fast late Friday.


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.”


Obama had remained silent over plans to build an Islamic cultural center, which includes a mosque, two blocks away from the gaping Ground Zero hole where the Twin Towers were destroyed on September 11, 2001.

The proposed site of the Islamic community center, pictured after The Landmarks Preservation Commission ruled on August 3 that a 152-year-old building is not a historical site and can be demolished making way for the construction of a mosque a few blocks from the Ground Zero site in Manhattan

But after a New York city commission on August 3 unanimously approved the plans, the president came out to support the right to build the mosque.


“This is America,” Obama said, “and our commitment to religious freedom must be unshakeable. The principle that people of all faiths are welcome in this country, and will not be treated differently by their government, is essential to who we are.”


Obama acknowledged that the site where the World Trade Center towers once stood remains “hallowed ground,” and that the 9/11 terror attacks “were a deeply traumatic event for our country.”


Planners say the multi-story “Cordoba House” will include a mosque, sports facilities, theater, and restaurant, and would be open to the public to show that Muslims are full community members.


Saturday the group 9/11 Families for a Safe & Strong America, which represents some relatives of attack victims, said it was “stunned” by the president’s remarks.


Obama “has abandoned America at the place where America’s heart was broken nine years ago, and where her true values were on display for all to see,” the group said.


Building the mosque “is a deliberately provocative act that will precipitate more bloodshed in the name of Allah.”


This president “declares that the victims of 9/11 and their families must … stand silent at the last place in America where 9/11 is still remembered with reverence or risk being called religious bigots,” the group said.


Another group representing other relatives of 9/11 victims, the September Eleventh Families for Peaceful Tomorrows, said in May that it “strongly supports” the Islamic center.


The proposed location has touched raw nerves — and on Saturday Obama clarified that he was not addressing the appropriateness of the mosque’s particular location.


“I was not commenting and I will not comment on the wisdom of making the decision to put a mosque there,” Obama said on a visit to Florida.


“I was commenting very specifically on the right people have that dates back to our founding. That’s what our country is about,” he said.


A CNN/Opinion Research poll earlier this month showed that 68 percent of Americans opposed the Islamic center plans, while only 29 percent favored them.


Congressman Peter King, who represents New York in the US House of Representatives, said the Muslim community was “abusing” its rights and “needlessly offending” many people.

“It is insensitive and uncaring for the Muslim community to build a mosque in the shadow of Ground Zero,” said King, a Republican. “Unfortunately the president caved in to political correctness.”

Obama said the Al-Qaeda terrorists responsible for the attacks do not represent Islam.

“It is a gross distortion of Islam,” the president said late Friday. “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.”

The Council on American-Islamic Relations, a US advocacy group, welcomed Obama’s “strong support for Muslim religious rights.”

Nihad Awad, a senior CAIR official, said he hoped the remarks will encourage “those who are challenging the rising level of Islamophobia in our society,” and he urged “other national political and religious leaders” to speak out.

One of those reacting Saturday was New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

“I applaud President Obama’s clarion defense of the freedom of religion,” Bloomberg said, adding that the proposed site “is as important a test of the separation of church and state as we may see in our lifetime.”

Passions over the issue run high across the country.

A Florida church has already said it will hold a “Koran-burning” on September 11 — which this year coincides with Eid al-Fitr, the end-of-Ramadan holiday.

Obama himself is a Christian, but according to a Harris Interactive online poll from March, nearly one-third of all Americans, including 57 percent of Republicans, believe that he is a Muslim.

Source: SGGP

Obama endorses mosque plan near Ground Zero

In Uncategorized on August 14, 2010 at 11:21 am

WASHINGTON (AFP) – US President Barack Obama has waded into a bitter controversy over a plan by Muslims to build a mosque just blocks from Ground Zero, endorsing the project on religious freedom grounds.


“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 late Friday.


“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.”


Obama’s remarks, delivered at a White House Iftar meal for Muslims breaking their Ramadan fast, were the president’s first on the controversial project, which has become a test of tolerance for Islam in post-9/11 America and sparked a national debate on freedom of religion.

The proposed site of the Islamic community center is seen after The Landmarks Preservation Commission ruled on August 3 that a 152-year-old building is not a historical site, and can be demolished making way for the construction of the mosque. AFP file

Intended to include a mosque, sports facilities, theater, restaurant and possibly a day care, the multi-story Islamic center would be open to all visitors to demonstrate that Muslims are part of their community, planners say.


But the proposed location, two blocks from the gaping Ground Zero hole, where the Twin Towers were destroyed on September 11, has touched raw nerves.


Obama acknowledged that the site where the World Trade Center towers once stood remains “hallowed ground,” and that 9/11 attacks “were a deeply traumatic event for our country.”


But he said American values required that all religious groups be treated equally and fairly.


“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 will not be treated differently by their government, is essential to who we are.”


New York City has approved plans for the lower Manhattan building to be turned into a mosque and an interfaith venue called “Cordoba House.”


But hearings on whether the construction should be allowed prompted furious exchanges, with supporters accusing critics of racism and Islamophobia, and opponents warning the plan insulted the memory of the 3,000 victims of the 9/11 attacks.


Applause erupted when a New York city commission unanimously approved the project August 3, but others shouted “shame,” and waved signs reading “Islam builds mosques at the sites of their conquests.”


Obama acknowledged the “pain and suffering experienced by those who lost loved ones is unimaginable,” but he called on Americans to “always remember who we are fighting against, and what we are fighting for.”


“Al-Qaeda’s cause is not Islam — it is a gross distortion of Islam,” the president said. “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.”


Before an audience of prominent Muslim Americans, including administration officials, and Muslim members of Washington’s diplomatic corps, Obama paid tribute to US history of accepting and engaging Muslims.


He cited the example of president Thomas Jefferson, who he said hosted the first White House Iftar, more than 200 years ago.


But the appeal to US history is unlikely to convince those most opposed to the mosque, which has attracted increasingly strident criticism, raising fears among US Muslims of an Islamophobic backlash.


A Florida church has already said it will hold a “Koran-burning” on September 11 this year, and Muslim advocacy groups say they have reached out to law enforcement officials seeking extra vigilance.


But Obama said while America’s diversity contained the seeds of conflict, US values were stronger and would always overcome difference.


“Time and again, the American people have demonstrated that we can work through these issues, stay true to our core values, and emerge stronger for it. So it must be — and will be — today,” he said.

d
Source: SGGP

German authorities shut ‘9/11 plotters’ mosque: city

In Uncategorized on August 9, 2010 at 11:21 am

BERLIN, Aug 9, 2010 (AFP) – German police shut down a mosque in the northern city of Hamburg Monday frequented by suicide hijackers from the September 11, 2001 attacks in the United States, authorities said.


An affiliated cultural centre was also closed.


“The Hamburg interior department closed the Arab-German cultural club Taiba,” the department said in a statement. “The former Al-Quds mosque was also closed.”


The authorities did not explain their decision but planned to give a press conference at 0830 GMT with officials including the head of the Hamburg anti-terror coordination unit.


German media reported that suspected Islamic militants had been using the site in the city’s Sankt Georg quarter as a meeting place.


Three of the September 11 hijackers including their ringleader Mohammed Atta, who piloted the first plane into New York’s World Trade Center, met frequently at the Al-Quds mosque before moving to the United States.


Authorities said the prayer house served as a recruitment centre for fellow jihadists, including accomplices of the hijackers.

d
Source: SGGP

Hundreds attack Ahmadiyah mosque in Indonesia

In Uncategorized on July 29, 2010 at 11:19 am

JAKARTA, July 29, 2010 (AFP) – Indonesian police clashed with about 200 people Thursday as the mob tried to attack a mosque in West Java belonging to a minority Islamic sect.


The crowd hurled stones at an Ahmadiyah mosque in Manislor village in Kuningan district, leading to an hour-long conflict with police, said local general secretary of the Ahmadiyah sect, Nurahim.


“About 200 people pelted stones at our mosque and clashed with the police for about an hour. It’s not clear yet who was the organiser of the mob,” Nurahim, who goes by one name, told AFP.


“The police were able to secure the mosque and handle the people. The situation, however, is still tense now,” he said.


Nurahim said the village’s 3,000 Ahmadiyah followers were ready to help the police if needed and were not carrying out counter-attacks.


“We had a similar experience before in 2007, in which our mosque and houses were attacked. A house was burned and several were damaged at the time,” Nurahim said.


The Ahmadiyah sect, which claims 500,000 followers in Indonesia, believes that its founder Mirza Ghulam Ahmad was the final prophet and not Mohammed, contradicting a central tenet of mainstream Islam.


Indonesia’s top Islamic body issued a fatwa in 2008 describing the sect as “deviant”.


Ahmadiyah, which many conservative Islamic leaders in the Muslim-majority nation describe as their enemy, has had a presence in the country since the 1920s.

d
Source: SGGP