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At Ramadan Iftar dinner, Obama supports new mosque on private property near Ground Zero

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

Text of President Obama's remarks at the White House Iftar dinner on Ramadan

Good evening.  Welcome to the White House.  To you, to Muslim Americans across our country, and to more than one billion Muslims around the world, I extend my best wishes on this holy month.  Ramadan Kareem.  I want to welcome members of the diplomatic corps; members of my administration; and Members of Congress, including Rush Holt, John Conyers, and Andre Carson, who is one of two Muslim American Members of Congress, along with Keith Ellison.

Here at the White House, we have a tradition of hosting iftars that goes back several years, just as we host Christmas parties, seders, and Diwali celebrations. These events celebrate the role of faith in the lives of the American people. They remind us of the basic truth that we are all children of God, and we all draw strength and a sense of purpose from our beliefs.

These events are also an affirmation of who we are as Americans. Our Founders understood that the best way to honor the place of faith in the lives of our people was to protect their freedom to practice religion. In the....

...Virginia Act for Establishing Religion Freedom, Thomas Jefferson wrote that “all men shall be free to profess, and by argument to maintain, their opinions in matters of religion.” The First Amendment of our Constitution established the freedom of religion as the law of the land. And that right has been upheld ever since.

Indeed, over the course of our history, religion has flourished within our borders precisely because Americans have had the right to worship as they choose – including the right to believe in no religion at all. And it is a testament to the wisdom of our Founders that America remains deeply religious – a nation where the ability of peoples of different faiths to coexist peacefully and with mutual respect for one another stands in contrast to the religious conflict that persists around the globe.

That is not to say that religion is without controversy. Recently, attention has been focused on the construction of mosques in certain communities – particularly in 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. The pain and suffering experienced by those who lost loved ones is unimaginable. So I understand the emotions that this issue engenders. 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 anyone else in this country. 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 will not be treated differently by their government, is essential to who we are. The writ of our Founders must endure.

We must never forget those who we lost so tragically on 9/11, and we must always honor those who have led our 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 always remember who we are fighting against, and what we are fighting for. Our enemies respect no freedom of religion. Al Qaeda’s cause is not Islam – it is a gross distortion of Islam. These are not religious leaders – these are terrorists who murder innocent men, 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.

That is who we are fighting against. And the reason that we will win this fight is not simply the strength of our arms – it is the strength of our values. The democracy that we uphold. The freedoms that we cherish. The laws that we apply without regard to race or religion; wealth or status. Our capacity to show not merely tolerance, but respect to those who are different from us – a way of life that stands in stark contrast to the nihilism of those who attacked us on that September morning, and who continue to plot against us today.

In my inaugural address, I said that our patchwork heritage is a strength, not a weakness. We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus — and non-believers. We are shaped by every language and culture, drawn from every end of this Earth. That diversity can bring difficult debates. Indeed, past eras have seen controversies about the construction of synagogues or Catholic churches. But 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.

Tonight, we are reminded that Ramadan is a celebration of a faith known for great diversity. And Ramadan is a reminder that Islam has always been part of America. The first Muslim ambassador to the United States, from Tunisia, was hosted by President Jefferson, who arranged a sunset dinner for his guest because it was Ramadan—making it the first known iftar at the White House, more than 200 years ago.   

Like so many other immigrants, generations of Muslims came here to forge their future. They became farmers and merchants, worked in mills and factories, and helped lay the railroads.  They helped build America. They founded the first Islamic center in New York City in the 1890s. They built America’s first mosque on the prairie of North Dakota.  And perhaps the oldest surviving mosque in America—still in use today—is in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

Today, our nation is strengthened by millions of Muslim Americans. They excel in every walk of life. Muslim American communities—including mosques in all fifty states—also serve their neighbors. Muslim Americans protect our communities as police, firefighters and first responders. Muslim American clerics have spoken out against terror and extremism, reaffirming that Islam teaches that one must save human life, not take it. And Muslim Americans serve with honor in our military.  At next week’s iftar at the Pentagon, tribute will be paid to three soldiers who gave their lives in Iraq and now rest among the heroes of Arlington National Cemetery. 

These Muslim Americans died for the security that we depend upon, and the freedoms that we cherish. They are part of an unbroken line of Americans that stretches back to our Founding; Americans of all faiths who have served and sacrificed to extend the promise of America to new generations, and to ensure that what is exceptional about America is protected – our commitment to stay true to our core values, and our ability to perfect our union.

For in the end, we remain “one nation, under God, indivisible.” And we can only achieve “liberty and justice for all” if we live by that one rule at the heart of every religion, including Islam—that we do unto others as we would have them do unto us.

Thank you all for being here, and I wish you a blessed Ramadan.  And with that, let’s eat.    ####

Iftar Dinner Guest List, as provided by the White House

This evening, the President will continue a White House tradition of hosting an Iftar celebrating Ramadan in the State Dining Room. This is the second Iftar hosted by the President. The Iftar is the meal that breaks the day of fasting, when Muslim families and communities eat together after sunset. Below is a list of some of the expected attendees at tonight’s White House dinner celebrating Ramadan:


The Honorable Andre Carson, United States Representative (Indiana 7th)
The Honorable John Conyers, United States Representative (Michigan 14th)
The Honorable Rush Holt, United States Representative (New Jersey 12th)


Ms. Saleha Abedin
Mr. Ahmed Ahmed
Dr. Akbar Ahmed, American University
Mrs. Anila Ali, Council of Pakistan American Affairs
Mr. Bill Aossey, Midamar Corporation
Mrs. Fatema Bayat
Mr. Salam Al Marayati, Muslim Public Affairs Council
Rev. Chloe Breyer, Interfaith Center of New York
Mr. Hasan Chandoo, Oppenheimer & Co.
Ms. Sarah Darwish
Dr. Mahmoud Eboo, Aga Khan Council of the United States
Mr. Walter Edwards, Harlem Business Council
Mrs. Sana Fadel
Mr. Imad Hussain
Mr. Hassan Jaber, Arab Community Center for Economic and Social Services
Mr. Muhammad U. Khan
Ms. Saaliha Khan
Imam Mohamed Hag Magid, All Dulles Area Muslim Society
Mrs. Shahnaz Masumi
Dr. Ingrid Mattson, Islamic Society of North America
Mr. Farooq Mitha
Ms. Dalia Mogahed, Director, Gallup Center for Muslim Studies
Mr. Mohamedraza Moledina
Mrs. Shabnum Moledina
Mrs. Laila Muhammad
Ms. Naheed Qureshi, Muslim Advocates
Mrs. Ranae Quraishi, Muslim Public Service Network
Ms. Intisar Rabb, Boston College
Dr. Jane Ramsey, Jewish Council on Urban Affairs
Ms. Nadia Roumani, American Muslim Civic Leadership Institute
Mrs. Sally Steenland, Center for American Progress
Ms. Sadaf Syed
Mr. Mustafa Tameez
Mr. Ibrahim Vajzovic, United Bosnian Association
Mrs. Sara Najjar Wilson, Arab American anti-Discrimination Committee


The Honorable Dan Poneman, Deputy Secretary of Energy
The Honorable Ron Sims, Deputy Secretary of Housing and Urban Development
Ms. Huma Abedin, Deputy Chief of Staff, Department of State
Mr. Mustafa Javed Ali, Federal Bureau of Investigation
Mr. Arif Alikhan, Assistant Secretary for Policy Development, Department of Homeland Security
Mr. Mazen Basrawi, Counsel to the Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights, Department of Justice
Technical Sergeant Sabrina Marie Bullock-Labaran, U.S. Air Force
Sergeant Major Agha Jalil Durrani, U.S. Army
Ms. Rehana Hakeem, Department of State
Chaplain Abdullah Hulwe, U.S. Army
Mr. Rashad Hussain, U.S. Special Envoy to the Organization of the Islamic Conference
Mr. Adnan Kifayat, Department of Treasury
Ms. Sehreen Noor Ali, Department of State
Ms. Farah Pandith, Special Representative to Muslim Communities, Department of State
Ms. Hannah Rosenthal, Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism, Department of State
Mr. Irfan Saeed, Department of Homeland Security
Lt. Commander Abuhena Saifulislam, U.S. Marine Corps
Mr. Osman Shinaishin, National Science Foundation
Mr. Kareem Shora, Department of Homeland Security
Mr. Shaarik Zafar, National Counter Terrorism Center


Mrs. Shamim Jawad, Spouse, Embassy of Afghanistan
His Excellency Yashar Aliyev, Ambassador of the Republic of Azerbaijan
His Excellency Akramul Qader, Ambassador of the People's Republic of Bangladesh
His Excellency Roble Olhaye, Ambassador of the Republic of Djibouti
His Excellency Sameh Hassan Shoukry, Ambassador of the Arab Republic of Egypt
His Excellency Pietro Sambi, Apostolic Nuncio of the Holy See
Her Excellency Meera Shankar, Ambassador of India
His Excellency Samir Shakir Mahmood Sumaida’ie, Ambassador of the Republic of Iraq
His Excellency Erlan A. Idrissov, Ambassador of the Republic of Kazakhstan
His Excellency Avni Spahiu, Ambassador of the Republic of Kosovo
His Excellency Ali Suleiman Aujali, Ambassador of the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya
His Excellency Aziz Mekour, Ambassador of the Kingdom of Morocco
Her Excellency Hunaina Sultan Ahmed Al Mughairy, Ambassador of the Sultanate of Oman
His Excellency Ali Bin Fahad Faleh Al-Hajri, Ambassador of the State of Qatar
His Excellency Adel A.M. Al-Jubeir, Ambassador of Saudi Arabia
His Excellency Husain Haqqani, Ambassador of Pakistan
His Excellency Sergey Ivanovich Kislyak, Ambassador of the Russian Federation
His Excellency Habib Mansour, Ambassador of Tunisia
His Excellency Ilhomjon Tuychievich Nematov, Ambassador of the Republic of Uzbekistan
His Excellency Abdulwahab A. Al Hajjri, Ambassador of the Republic Yemen
His Excellency Ufuk Gokcen, Ambassador and Permanent Observer, Organization of the Islamic Conference
The Honorable Deitan Mish, Chargé d'Affaires at Interim of the Republic Albania
The Honorable Ali Alaoui, Chargé d'Affaires at Interim of the People’s Democratic Republic of Algeria
The Honorable Tesfaye Yilma Sabo, Chargé d'Affaires at Interim of Ethiopia
The Honorable Salman Al Farisi, Chargé d'Affaires at Interim of the Republic of Indonesia
The Honorable Walid Rahman J. Al Hadid, Chargé d'Affaires at Interim of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan
The Honorable Noraini Hamid, Chargé d'Affaires at Interim of Malaysia
The Honorable Bello Ringim, Economic Minister, Embassy of the Federal Republic of Nigeria
The Honorable Suleyman Gokce, Chargé d'Affaires at Interim of the Republic of Turkey
The Honorable Dominick Chilcott, British Chargé d'Affaires at Interim     ####

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Related Item:

President Obama's special Ramadan message to the Muslim world

Photo: Associated Press (Obama speaks at White House Iftar dinner breaking the Muslim dawn-to-dusk fast for Ramadan).

Comments () | Archives (64)

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A peaceable gathering. Highly accessible and lucid words, respectful to the diversity of the islamic tradition, and, to the whims and longings of private property title bearers and holders, who could keep talk of building religious establishments fading while clocks tick thus testing the claims of zealous planners. Patience is sottish and impatience does become a dog that's mad.

When do Christians get to build a Church in a Muslim country? Oh, wait a minute, thats right....they kill Christians in Muslim countries. Muslims always expect their gutter religion to be honored. But they refuse to honor any other. As far as I'm concerned Islam is the enemy of freedom and decency.Ok ,thats the end of my diatribe Muslims, you can go back to beating and murdering defenseless women now.

This so called religion of peace has waged war on Christianity and the West since the 7th century. These Ramadaners don't allow churches or synagoges in Saudi Arabia, and owning a bible will land you in jail.

Obama is a Muslim at heart, and only the dishonest media pretends otherwise. His jihad consists of replacing white people with minorites and spending America into bankruptcy.

Remember what the NASA clown said recently? NASA's primary mission is to promote the (non existent) contributions of Arabs to the space program. obama/clinton/biden etc. are quite content to sell this country and the middle class to the oil shieks and their imans.

Do you not think an angel rides in the whirlwind and directs this storm?

That pig.
How I long for that day in 2013 when I will hear the musical phrase "former President barack obama". (He isn't even worthy of initial caps.)
Then he will be free to live amongst the mosque-maggots on whom he can perform his tongue-baths with no interruption; and the harder working citizens of your wonderful United States can start rebuilding what this filthy, deceiving usurper has torn down.

One would expect no less from the muslim in the White House.

Of course he is all for the Mosque at ground zero. I firmly believe that not only is he NOT a US citizen I believe he hs a Musslim who is going to sale this country down the road. Any president who would say that this country is not a christian nation, apologize for the United State's actions to our enemy and do away with the christian National day of prayer while bowing down to worship with the Musslums is most certainly NOT good for this country. I just pray that people will wake up and get this jerk out of office during the next presidential election year. If they don't then all I an say is "God help this country!".

Worst. President. Ever.

Since Barry has spent his time in the White House blaming America and bowing down to murders, thugs and terrorists worldwide I guess I shouldn't be surprised.

Good Grief, says Charlie Brown.

The Islamics are buying Brooklyn Bridges by the dozen.

Open up shop and sell, sell, sell.

That's what a dead prophet says.

We can argue all day long about what is constitutional and what is not. On the more personal side of things, how come Obama cannot support Christianity with these flowing words and bent-over-backwards support?

May God's Grace Bless America. President Obama is a class act and has done what every president should do in celebration of Ramadan. Ramadan Mubarek to all the muslims around the world! Let freedom Ring.

I am so thrilled that such a wise and good man is our President.

The next few comments are terrible. Your "opinions" are obviously what the media fabricated and laid out for you. There are "churches and bibles" in countries mostly populated by muslims. I have been to Malaysia and saw buddhist temples as well as CHRISTIAN churches. Turkey has churches as well as Egypt. Obama is a thoughtful man who is no longer muslim. Your poorly misinformed about Jihad and a lot of other things. It's pure ignorance to sit and berate the president about something that is in purely good intention. It's not only President Obama who held Ramadan at the White House! I would appreciate if you would not disrespect the Prophet, this talk is supposed to be intellectual and it would be better if you kept it this way. We show no hatred towards Christians or any religion. The problem here is that most of you base the whole muslim nation based on one person, one group, and the lies that roll off of the media's tongue.

"When do Christians get to build a Church in a Muslim country?"

First off, there are a number of Muslim countries where Christians live in peace and practice their faith.

Secondly, should we, as Americans, deny religious freedom because other countries do? Does that make us any better? Isn't that part of what makes us a great nation, that we believe in religious freedom for everyone, no matter their religion, when so many are denied that freedom around the world?

Many of these comments are the words of bigots, who would seek to inflict their dogmatic beliefs on us all. Reflect upon their words because they reveal the danger of religious extremists and bigots of all stripes. They are also in desperate need of a history lesson.

Hey, "Dawn of Islam", the only dawn there is would be the dawning to many Americans what Islam and the Koran are all about. There is no tenet in Christianity that instructs us as believers to kill you because you don't believe in Christ. Your holy book does. Plain and simple. And that is what the most fervent followers of your "religion" do.

Qur'an:8:39 "Fight them until all opposition ends and all submit to Allah."
Qur'an:8:39 "So fight them until there is no more Fitnah (disbelief [non-Muslims]) and all submit to the religion of Allah alone (in the whole world)."
Ishaq:324 "He said, 'Fight them so that there is no more rebellion, and religion, all of it, is for Allah only. Allah must have no rivals.'"
Qur'an:9:14 "Fight them and Allah will punish them by your hands, lay them low, and cover them with shame. He will help you over them."
Ishaq:300 "I am fighting in Allah's service. This is piety and a good deed. In Allah's war I do not fear as others should. For this fighting is righteous, true, and good."

You gotta respect those terrorsts. Only carrying out what their god tells them to. Why don't you at least man up and tell the truth?

Interesting how Obama uses the constitution to advance Islam but uses it against Americans. Moderate Muslims know Obama is committing an act of Fitna by going against the American people . Obama has helped dictator Odinga with Kenya's new constitution that now includes Sharia law. The radical Muslims must think we're pretty stupid or Obama has given himself more power than we know. This guy doesn't seem to be on our side.

In response to the following quote:

" When do Christians get to build a Church in a Muslim country? Oh, wait a minute, thats right....they kill Christians in Muslim countries. Muslims always expect their gutter religion to be honored. But they refuse to honor any other.''

Actually I'm an American living in the UAE and there are many churches here, and the malls put up Christmas decorations. I've never heard of any Christian being killed here for religion.

And in reponse to this:

"This so called religion of peace has waged war on Christianity and the West since the 7th century. These Ramadaners don't allow churches or synagoges in Saudi Arabia, and owning a bible will land you in jail."

True bit we waged war on them for a good part of the middle ages as well. While Saudi Arabia is extremely repressive and doesn't allow churches that is but one country in the Muslim world.


"Of course he is all for the Mosque at ground zero. I firmly believe that not only is he NOT a US citizen I believe he hs a Musslim who is going to sale this country down the road. Any president who would say that this country is not a christian nation, apologize for the United State's actions to our enemy and do away with the christian National day of prayer while bowing down to worship with the Musslums is most certainly NOT good for this country. I just pray that people will wake up and get this jerk out of office during the next presidential election year. If they don't then all I an say is "God help this country!"."

You may want to work on your grammar, people would take you more seriously.

9/11 had nothing to do with Islam.

Why doesn't this one-term wonder check in with Jimmy Carter for tips on how to inform the American people on their misunderstanding of those poor Muslims---you know, the intolerant wife-beating back-stabbing cowards who haven't won a war since way back in the Ottoman centuries.

I am a State-Dept trained Arabist [ret'd] who obviously doesn't get any sweetheart contracts from my former employer as I understand through my reading Arabic just what a barbarous collection of dissembling dishonest half-wits most Muslims are. I see my old friend Adel Jubair was representing Saudi Arabia at the banquet. I wonder why the Somalis didn't have a seat at the feet of this silly Manchurian [or perhaps Indonesian] candidate who used to be named Barry Soetero when he went to a Muslim madrasa for indoctrination during his early formative years?

Whats new, once muslim America hater, always a muslim America hater.

It is indisputable that Islam is the most intolerant religion on Earth. It is also indisputable that, historically, Islam builds monuments (Mosques, et al) at the sites of their greatest victories. If anyone could expect - and experience - interdenominational services at the new, controversial, mosque, then that fact might disprove the historical fact of extreme intolerance by Islam.

The President did the right thing. This is not a Christian Country, but a secular one in which Christianity has flourished for one important reason: because government hasn't been given the opportunity to turn it into an arm of the state, or vice versa.

Look at many of the countries where there isn't that wall, and I will show you places where God has either come to be associated with a corrupt ruling class, and thus discredited in the eyes of the people (much of Europe) or where the danger always lies that zealots could take things over, and impose their will alone on the affairs of people's consciences and souls.

When we open the door to such things, there's no telling whose faith will become subject to ostracism. Will it be Catholics, Jews or Protestants of one brand or another? Will it be, Buddhists, Hindus, or Sikhs who get discriminated against next?

We don't need that crud. Let them build a mosque. If you are worried about their influence as a Christian, you find some land, and you build yourself a Church. If you are Jewish and worry about it, find some land and build a Synagogue. If you have faith enough in your faith, in your Torah or your Gospel, then you should not feel intimidated by this. Does fear rule your heart more than love of God, trust in God? Let them build their mosque, and if you have a problem with them, compete with them. Don't try to get the government to rig the game in your favor. The goverment that can do that can also rig the game against you.

The hatred towards this President and Muslims that many of you have is just sad. I will simply remind you all of the Crusades and the religious wars that the Catholic church had waged for centuries. Don't act like our religions are peaceful. They are not. Our religion brought us to this country, killed the natives, stole thier land and gave us the superiority complex that you exhibit today. I am a white Catholic woman and your lack of tolerence and basic knowledge sickens me.

President Obozo is ready to allow those who would destroy the US and it's Constitution to build a mosque on a site at their so called "great victory." Let them build it somewhere else less sacred and precious, a mosque at this site is nothing more than a propaganda ploy and needs to be shut down without further discussion. This issue is a fire that will consume any ignorant politician supporting it including corrupt illuminati banker Bloomberg and America hating President Obozo.

The sight (sis) is the issue and the President of The United States of America blind. This president lacks discerment.

You'd appreciate it if we didn't insult the prophet? Well, you see, thats the thing about America. If I want to say Mohammad and his followers were insecure child molesters...I can. But lets go back to the enslavement and cold blooded murder of women. What is about you Koranic clowns that breeds such hate against your mothers,sisters,wives, and daughters?

Thank God the President is standing up for the religion this country was founded on. The religion of Freedom! People need to let go of the past and forgive. If the rights of these people to build this church and worship were they choose is abridged, the goals of the terrorists who perpetrated 911 will have been accomplished in ways they could have only dreamed about in their wildest Nirvana scenario.

I am an Old Fashioned strict Scottish Presbyterian from Scotland, UK - on reading this article I must admit I find it "strange" that this President of the USA, comes out and vilifies us over here in Scotland for having used "Scottish Law" to release on "compassionate grounds" Al Megrahi and allowed him to go back to Libya, (I must say personally, that I disagreed with this decision, but the Scottish Governement is answerable ONLY to the Scottish Electorate for that decision - NOT to President Obama!!) yet he uses his own Country's Constitution to say that it is okay to build a mosque near Ground Zero in New York, it seems he can use his laws for his own purpose, but we cannot use ours unless he agrees!!! Thank God I never got to vote for a guy like this, but well you will all have an opportunity whether to re-elect him or not in 2012!!!!

I am utterly appalled by this crooked politician hack masquerading as our president.

The only silver lining to this is that the Dems will be BURIED in the 2010 election at this rate.

I don't even think it's going to be close.

House and Senate back to the Republicans, hopefully in time to stop this Dumbass from doing any more damage.

Tom and George--since you're offering proof that Islam is an inherently violent religion based on its holy book, I offer you a link (click the URL in my post) to more than 1,000 quotes on the Bible, in which the Christian God offers up cruelty and violence and promises it against the world lest they turn to him.

I must make a disclaimer that I am not religious, and despise religious fanatics of all stripes. Only fanatics take a book that was written by men in the name of God so literally. If you think that all Muslims are fanatics for believing that the Qu'aran is the literal word of Allah, are you then suggesting that believing that the Bible is the literal word of God is something all Christians should do, lest they burn in a lake of fire? If so, you must then assume that all Christians are fanatics.

A few choice selections from the Christian Bible per the link above--and FYI, this is from the NEW Testament, not the Old one:

Matthew 10:14-15: "And whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear your words, when ye depart out of that house or city, shake off the dust of your feet. Verily I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrha in the day of judgment, than for that city."

Matthew 10:34-37: According to Jesus, "Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. A man's foes shall be they of his own household. For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. And a man's foes shall be they of his own household. He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me."

Luke 12:5 "But I will forewarn you whom ye shall fear: Fear him, which after he hath killed hath power to cast into hell; yea, I say unto you, Fear him."

Luke 12:46-47 "The lord of that servant will come in a day when he looketh not for him, and at an hour when he is not aware, and will cut him in sunder, and will appoint him his portion with the unbelievers. And that servant, which knew his lord's will, and prepared not himself, neither did according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes."

John 15:6 "15:6 If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned."

Mike L, here are a list of Churches in Pakistan. Please go back to learning a bit more before you open your mouth again.

mikeman, saudi arabia is just one country that happens to have the holiest site in Islam under their countrol. but saudi arabia does not control Islam or define Islam for the rest of the world.
What they do or don't do over there, is not something that should define how we behave in our own country.
In Pakistan, a muslim country, they actually do have churches there.

Oh my god most of the people who wrote comments are either brain washed or completely ignorant. Some of them do not know how to write correct grammatical sentences. Islam is in essence a religion of peace and love like Christianity . Islam is not blood thirsty as some portray it be. Yes like Jason said there are some phrases if taken out of context without understanding there proper background they can be misunderstood and used as terrorist rhetoric. But Jason does the bible allow slavery also are allowed to sell your children and my favorite is that you face death if you work on the sabbath . Don't get me wrong i respect all people from all faiths. My point is that there is enough hypocrisy to go around but most of us (humans of all faiths) don't want to hurt anyone. All through history religious fanatics have used religious rhetoric to justify cruelty towards humans for their own bloody interests be they Muslim Christian or Jews.(the KKK come to mind).The point is that we can only beat them by our unification and respect to human life not by hatred or denouncing a president that is trying to bridge the gap between people not just nations. Moreover, i would like to say that I'm an Egyptian and I write this from Egypt and we have some of the oldest and most beautiful churches in the world and Christians go to church every week just like they do in America and worship according to their beliefs. Please do not fan the flames of hatred and radicalism(some of your comments were radical racist and very offensive). Please read your own history so you can understand where you came from as well as your present and that way you can help make the future a better place for all of gods children

If Islam truly wanted to add to America their leaders would donate to the establishing of a multi denominational worship center where all people from all faiths and ethnic backgrounds would feel a sense of place in a location as emotionally fragile as ground zero. They are being self centered and someone should take a map of the world to them and Obama and SHOW THEM WHAT DAMN COUNTRY THEY ARE LIVING IN!

Islamic leaders if they truly wanted to contribute to the healing of ground zero and all it represents, they would donate a charitable amount to a non-denominational worship center where all Americans feel a sense of place and comfort while reflecting on the horror Islam brought to our land. Some one take a map to these jerks and to Obama and please SHOW THEM WHAT COUNTRY THEY LIVE IN!

As usual, Islamic leaders can not pull their heads out of their own arses. If they truly wanted to contribute to the healing of ground zero and all it represents, they would donate a charitable amount to a non-denominational worship center where all Americans feel a sense of place and comfort while reflecting on the horror Islam brought to our land. Some one take a map to these jerks and to Obama and please SHOW THEM WHAT COUNTRY THEY LIVE IN!

Obama endorses the construction of muslim mosque close to ground zero? Shame on Mr Obama. I don't know what intelligence does he has. Muslims are good pretending like a good lamb but deep inside there's roaring lion inside their hearts ready to wreck and cut Christians into pieces just like they did to the Americans inside America itself and to all Americans throughout the world. Don't you realize Mr. Obama Americans are the most hated people into the eyes of Muslims. This will never go away.

Now Mr. Obama is talking tolerance. The way Americans look Mr. Obama is good lamb shepperd but in fact he's directing the flocks into the deep water to get them all drowned.

It's just true Americans tell you if you can ask the king of saudi arabia when can Christian church be built inside Jeddah or Riyadh or anywhere in their business district center, then you'll see tolerance you will get.

Tons of Churches in muslim countries Syria, Jordan, Turkey, and yes Pakistan but you don't see it because of the Fox news tirade you see.
All you muslim haters know nothing of Islam and have never opened a Quran to read it but come to conclusions on other people's opinion - what intellectual opinion can you possibly have?
Chapter Mary (19) in the Quran, Muslims honor Mary as "...chosen above the women of all nations" something no other religious book (bible included) does.
It honors Jesus and John the baptist but you don't want to read those verses, you would rather read about the infidels.

He got my support in 2008 but I have serious doubts about voting for him again.
He is no friend of Israel.

Once more with feeling! Islam is not a religion,but political ideology.
It should not be treated as a religion at all but the totally life control apparatus that it is.
Why a senator or representative has not sought to have this recognized by law is beyond me. Islam should have to register as a political
party just as the Republicans and democrats do. Their lobbyists should be registered as well. Tell me Islam is not a political force when Rep. Ellison
makes his opinion known concerning the press secretaries opinions of the left.
There is an element of stealth jihad occurring in our government that is intent on sapping the will of our country to protect itself and to give this
ideology the name of religion gives it an authenticity that is undeserved.
It is the politics of Fascism in the guise of religion and in league with our gov.,
we are blinded to the evil.

Hey,I don't need any of you suddenly holy leftists to explain Islam to me. I've seen first hand what happens to muslim women that step out of line. If the offense is considered small,the penalty is a beating,the degree decided by her husband. The next penalty for dishonoring husband or Islam is death.I was actually forced to sit across a table from a pig that blamed all of America's problems on womens rights, and of course, Jews. He couldn't understand why American men disagreed with the virtual enslavement of women, "for their own good". I keep asking the same question and I get no answer. How does an American justify Islams treatment of women?

The ignorance in these comments is astounding.

Are people really trying to assert that because Christian churches aren't allowed to be built in some Muslim countries, that America should follow suit? That's a great idea, let's all try our hardest to make our country just like Saudi Arabia. America was built by people who wanted religious freedom. The right to practice your religion is in every founding document, and the minute we try to take that away, we spit on those documents, and the values that make America great.

As for Muslims "waging war on Christianity since the 7th century", are you talking about the Crusades? The most embarrassing part of Christian history, ever? Try doing some research into the wars that have been fought in the name of the Christian God, before you talk about how violent Islam is. How easy it is for Christians to talk about the splinter in other people's eyes, but I guess it's hard to read a book with such a big log in your own eye.

President Obama is not the first president to hold an iftar. He will not be the last.

Um, there are several churches in IRAQ! I have friends who immigrated to America from Iran who are Orthodox Christians! Where do these lies that there are no Churches in Muslim countries come from?

Thank You Obama for standing up for the little people.

I voted for Obama and will NOT vote for him again. My reason is simple: American constitution allows freedom of religion. But, Islam is more than a religion. It prescribes religion, law, administration, & military into one framework. It is a non-geogragphic idealogy with church & state mixed. As they say in east especially in Indonesia, India, & central asia: muslims first say they want to build a mosque for praying, next they use the mosques to propel their infidel idealogy. Most mosques in the US preach to muslims that muslims should avoid paying taxes as these tax dollars are bullets against their muslim brothers in Iraq and Afghanistan. Most muslims who operate restarents, grocery stores, etc listen to these mosque sermons and evade taxes. This is illegal in the US but who is enforcing. All muslims are NOT terrorists. But all terrorists so far are muslims. At a time when all terrorists are muslims, there is NO need for Obama to come across as pro-islam. A sitting US president should be religion independent. Recall that Abraham Lincoln paid for his seat in a church but never openly came out as a christian.
Moreover, he should have been extra careful given the ground-zero mosque issue. Definitely, a lapse of judgement. Day by day, he is coming across as a smooth-talker with no insightful judgement based actions.

I have an idea...lets really "tick off" all the Islamic countries, who supply what? Oh, thats right...50% of our oil. I remember having to stand in line for 2 hours for 10 gallons of gas in the 70's. This is about BIG business and diplomacy. George Bush had Osama Bin Laden's brother as a partner in Abushto Energy in Texas when he needed capital. We were Sadam Hussein's best buddy when our supply began drying up. Dick Cheney and Halliburton were there weekly. We needed him then. Its business and politics and diplomacy. You need to look at history, and how we have manuevered in the middle east.
Unless of course you are willing to pay $10.00-15.00 dollars per gallon.

I'll try one more time, Ann, Grace? How does an American justify Islams treatment of women? Aren't you going to tell me that honor killings don't happen. Women are allowed to vote in all Muslim countries. They enjoy the same rights as men. No such thing as women being killed for the crime of dishonoring husband or Islam. Your silence on that aspect of Islam speaks volumes. Why build a Mosque at that particular site in New York, its a big country.....why, to be controversial.

I think that President Obama represents the best values of all of us as human beings. As a man born in South Africa (but now living in England) it was deeply sorrowing for me to observe the violent hatred sponsored by the state against certain members of society, members who had no choice but submit against an overwhelming force of arms. It took a man of the stature of Nelson Mandela to take us on a different path, a path of reconciliation and forgiveness, and to see the leader of the most powerful nation in the world utter words of toleration, good will and friendship does more to show up the hatred, meanness and intolerance of others than anything else. I salute you, sir, and may God bless your endeavours.

Brian Oosthuysen

Many of you are speaking of Muslims as if they are not americans... you say to yourself, the people who brought the towers down were muslims so islam and anything associated with islam is responsible. You forget that innocent muslims were also on those planes, were also among the brave firemen who lost there lives, were also among those who grieved for their loved ones, and are also among those who are loosing their lives in the war on terror.

Nevertheless, some people have associated the 9/11 events with all musliims. It is truly odd that you see those responsible as muslims rather then terrorist. Think to yourself why you see the KKK as racist terrorists rather then christian terrorists. It may be that the majority of americans are christians, and they know it would be insane to identify their religion with the KKK. Likewise, muslims know that the terrorists do not represent their religion. It also may be that the media uses terms like"muslim terrorist" to describe these terrorists. Unfortunetly, this causes many to absurdly identify the word muslim with terrorism. Do not take the actions of 0.000000019% of muslims to represent all 1,000,000,000 muslims around the world!

American-targeted terrorism is based on racism: the assumption that ALL Americans are bad. The same type of racism is behind the argument that the mosque should not be built. Please do not stoop to their level. America IS freedom--freedom of religion included--a right that everyone should be able to enjoy. Please welcome all goodhearted people in the greatest country on Earth and respect their equality (else encourage hatred, something you are trying avoid).

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About the Columnist
A veteran foreign and national correspondent, Andrew Malcolm has served on the L.A. Times Editorial Board and was a Pulitzer finalist in 2004. He is the author of 10 nonfiction books and father of four. Read more.
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