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9/11 families and GOP's Boehner, Palin react strongly to Obama's support of a Ground Zero mosque

August 14, 2010 |  2:58 pm

Democrat president Barack Obama speaks at White house Iftar dinner in the White House 8-13-10 supporting a new mosque near 9-11 Ground Zero site

The political lines are now drawn, as President Obama obviously intended Friday when, unsolicited, he used the occasion of the Muslim Ramadan holiday and a White House dinner to insert himself into the emotional New York City mosque controversy.

The Democrat's speech endorsed the idea of a mosque and social center in Lower Manhattan near the ground zero of 9/11, drawing it as an issue of religious freedom, beyond sensitivity to the deadly occasion's impact on the nation or families involved.

As usual, we posted the White House text of Obama's Ramadan Iftar dinner remarks in full right here.

Today, as the president enjoyed another family vacation in Florida, the fervent reactions began.

They came from an organization of families who lost loved ones on 9/11 and from House Republican Leader John Boehner. The Ohio representative's brief full statement on the president's stance is below:

The decision to build this mosque so close to Ground Zero is deeply troubling, as is the president’s decision to endorse it. The American people certainly don’t support it.

The fact that someone has the right to do something doesn’t necessarily make it the right thing to do. That is the essence of tolerance, peace and understanding. This is not an issue of law, whether religious freedom or local zoning. This is a basic issue of respect for a tragic moment in our history.

Additionally, 9/11 Families for a Safe & Strong America issued a strong statement, also published in full below.

In it, Debra Burlingame, the group's cofounder and sister to the slain American Airlines 9/11 pilot whose plane was crashed into the Pentagon, says in "a breathtakingly inappropriate setting the president has chosen to declare our memories of 9/11 obsolete and the sanctity of Ground Zero finished."

(UPDATE: Exclusive podcast Burlingame interview now with Tammy Bruce here.)

"Barack Obama," the group adds, "has abandoned America at the place where ...

... America's heart was broken." The full statement is below:

Barack 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.

BurlingameDebraap

Since that dark day, Americans have been asked to bear the burden of defending those values, again and again and again. Now this president declares that the victims of 9/11 and their families must bear another burden. We must stand silent at the last place in America where 9/11 is still remembered with reverence or risk being called religious bigots.

Muslims have worshiped in New York without incident both before and after the attacks of 9/11. This controversy is not about religious freedom. 9/11 was more than a “deeply traumatic event,” it was an act of war.

Building a 15-story mosque at ground zero is a deliberately provocative act that will precipitate more bloodshed in the name of Allah. Those who continue to target and kill American civilians and U.S. troops will see it as a symbol of their historic progress at the site of their most bloody victory.

Demolishing a building that was damaged by wreckage from one of the hijacked planes in order to build a mosque and Islamic center will further energize those who regard it as a ratification of their violent and divinely ordered mission: the spread of Sharia law and its subjugation of all free people, including secular Muslims who come to this country fleeing that medieval ideology, which destroys lives and crushes the human spirit.

We are stunned by the president’s willingness to disregard what Americans should be proud of: our enduring generosity to others on 9/11 – a day when human decency triumphed over human depravity. On that day, when 3,000 of our fellow human beings were killed in barbaric act of raw religious intolerance unlike this country had ever seen, Americans did not turn outward with hatred or violence; we turned to each other, armed with nothing more than American flags and countless acts of kindness.

In a breathtakingly inappropriate setting, the president has chosen to declare our memories of 9/11 obsolete and the sanctity of ground zero finished. No one who has lived this history and felt the sting of our country’s loss that day can truly believe that putting our families through more wrenching heartache can be an act of peace.

We will honor the memory of our loved ones. We will protect our children, whose lives will never be the same. We will not stand silent.

Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin bluntly asked Obama:

Mr. President, should they or should they not build a mosque steps away from where radical Islamists killed 3000 people?

Please tell us your position.

We all know that they have the right to do it, but should they? And, no, this is not above your pay grade.

If those who wish to build this Ground Zero mosque are sincerely interested in encouraging positive "cross-cultural engagement" and dialogue to show a moderate and tolerant face of Islam, then why haven't they recognized that the decision to build a mosque at this particular location is doing just the opposite?

Related Items:

Obama supports mosque near Ground Zero of 9/11

Barack Obama issues special Ramadan message to the Muslim world

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-- Andrew Malcolm

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Photos: Associated Press (Obama speaks at Ramadan Iftar White House dinner Aug. 13); Associated Press (Burlingame).

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