Obama Embraces Ground Zero Mosque (updated)

Thomas Lifson
At a White House dinner honoring Iftar (the first meal permitted during Ramadan), President Obama reversed previous statements by Robert Gibbs claiming the Ground Zero Mosque was a local decision, and fully embraced the project before a group of Muslims. Frank Gaffney reports at Big Peace:

As the AP reported, "President Barack Obama on Friday forcefully endorsed building a mosque near Ground Zero saying the country's founding principles demanded no less. ‘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, weighing in for the first time on a controversy that has riven New York and the nation. ‘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 unshakable.'

"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."

Gaffney presents a quick rundown on some of the people present at the dinner with ties to Muslim extremist groups. It makes for sobering reading.

The American people are overwhelmingly against the mosque, understanding (as the President does not, apparently) the Islamic practice of constructing mosques to commemorate victories over infidels and symbolize Muslim dominance. The self-proclaimed reconciliation motive of Imam Rauf is not being served by construction of the mosque' rather, it is aggravating the relationship between Muslims and the American people.  

This move puts the mosque (and community center) squarely into the midterm election debate.  It is a bit difficult for me to understand the motivation behind this move. Was the President pressured by some of his Muslim friends present at the dinner? Is this a heartfelt statement of principle? Or is this some Alinskyite move, intended to heighten contradictions and "rub raw" (in Alinsky's words) the emotions of the public for yet-to-be revealed purposes? Certainly, from the standpoint of electoral advantage, it is not a logical move. Perhaps the President really does want a Republican Congress that he can run against in 2012.

Update: Andrew Malcom of the LA Times provides the official text of the President's address, and the guest list for the dinner. These were no off-the-cuff remarks.

Rick Moran adds:

No one is really surprised at this - especially those of us who understand the overwhelming desire, even need, for liberals to be seen as tolerant and inclusive.
It's not so much that they actually believe in those values. It's not important that they believe. It's that they have a compulsive need to be seen as supporting them, both as a measure of their own self-worth and as a sign to the rest of us that they are our moral superiors.

With 70% of the country opposed to building the mosque, Obama's support also plays into the great liberal narrative that they are bucking the odds, standing on the battlements waving the bloody shirt of social justice despite the rest of the world being against them. If it sounds like an adolescent's heroic daydream, you are spot on.

Now, if only those "moderate Muslims" who are building the mosque would take 10 seconds to acknowledge the fact that 9/11 was perpetrated by evil men who also happened to be followers of Islam, that would be a breakthrough. But since Imam Rauf and his crew have failed to dialogue with families of those who lost loved ones on 9/11 and have made statements in the past that places blame for the attack on the US, we won't get any satisfaction from them.

And note the strawman argument; no one that I know is advocating the notion that Muslims have no right under the Constitution to build the mosque where they please. It has always been the idea that the stated reason for building the mosque flies in the face of the Cordoba Initiative's actions. That, and the fact that Imam Rauf has some troubling connections to terrorists, and has made statements that would lead one to believe he is no friend of "tolerance and dialogue."

I hope this statement by the president makes Democrats squirm. Imagine on the campaign trail or in a debate asking the Democratic candidate if he agrees with the president about the mosque? There will be much clearing of throats and hemming and hawing before any kind of an answer to that question is forthcoming.


Update:

James Lewis adds:
 
Notice that Obama is deliberately sacrificing the Democratic majority in Congress for his ideological position, or perhaps for vast amounts of money from the Saudis. 

This action will lose the November election for the Democrats for sure. 

I think it will also make Obama a one-term president. 

Why? 

If this action doesn't shock you, you have erased the entire 20th century from your memory. 

We are seeing new totalitarian imperialisms armed with nuclear weapons, from Iran and from the Saudis. The Saudis sponsor massive population movements from Pakistan to Europe, and train Wahhabi Imams to preach jihad in Saudi-purchased mosques all over the world. The Iranians want to control the Middle East with nuclear weapons. The Saudis have also bought political influence in the Democratic Party and throughout Europe. 

If Hitler and Tojo had had nuclear weapons in 1945 we would have seen a nuclear war by the 1950s. We are now seeing a nuclear breakout for the first time in history. If you think pacifism will solve this problem you are in deep denial. 

King Abdullah was just quoted in the press as saying, "There are only two nations that don't deserve to live, Iran and Israel." 

The Iranian fascists believe the same thing about him. 

Both sides are currently going for nuclear weapons. The Saudis paid for Pakistan's nuclear weapons development and they can just get them off the shelf as soon as Iran explodes its first bomb. 

Turkey is now controlled by a neo-Ottoman regime with a modern army. 

Tony Blair has been bought by Muammar Khadafi to peddle political influence in Europe. The major Democratic candidates all visited Saudi Arabia in the run-up to the presidential election, except for Obama, who has had close political allies from Syria and Saudi Arabia in Chicago and Detroit for years. 

If you are shocked and amazed by this news, please pass this on to your trusted friends. 

If you are not shocked, you are still in deep denial. If you have simply not read up on your basic history, it is high time to do so. 

Those who ignore history are doomed to repeat it. 

Update:

Dr. Andrew Bostom contrasts Obama's views with those of Muslim freethinker Ibn Waraq (reprinted with permission):

Obama's Ramadan obeisance to the avatars of totalitarian Islam [1] (i.e., the various Muslim Brotherhood fronts well represented in the White House, as Frank Gaffney [1] aptly noted)-was "highlighted", according to the Associated Press by his  "forceful endorsement [2]" of building a mosque near ground zero.  

Debra Burlingame's eloquent denunciation [3] of Obama's Ground Zero Mosque endorsement on behalf of the 9/11 Families for a Safe & Strong America reminded me of these prescient words from 2006 [4] written by the Pakistani native freethinker, and Islamic scholar, Ibn Warraq [5], regarding the Danish Muhammad cartoons "controversy."

Warraq warned [4] that if we in the Free West did not show solidarity with the Danish cartoonists,  "...then the forces that are trying to impose on the Free West a totalitarian ideology will have won."

He  denounced the kind of self-loathing apologetics that have become pathognomonic of President Obama and his administration, and their inability-or unwillingness-to defend Western values,  "intellectually and culturally."  

Warraq passionately advocated the opposite approach [4]:

Be proud, do not apologize. Do we have to go on apologizing for the sins our fathers? Do we still have to apologize, for example, for the British Empire, when, in fact, the British presence in India led to the Indian Renaissance, resulted in famine relief, railways, roads and irrigation schemes, eradication of cholera, the civil service, the establishment of a universal educational system where none existed before, the institution of elected parliamentary democracy and the rule of law? What of the British architecture of Bombay and Calcutta? The British even gave back to the Indians their own past: it was European scholarship, archaeology and research that uncovered the greatness that was India; it was British government that did its best to save and conserve the monuments that were a witness to that past glory. British Imperialism preserved where earlier Islamic Imperialism destroyed thousands of Hindu temples.

He continued [4]:

On the world stage, should we really apologize for Dante, Shakespeare, and Goethe? Mozart, Beethoven and Bach? Rembrandt, Vermeer,  Van Gogh, Breughel, Ter Borch? Galileo, Huygens, Copernicus, Newton and
Darwin? Penicillin and computers? The Olympic Games and Football? Human rights and parliamentary democracy? The west is the source of the liberating ideas of individual liberty, political democracy, the rule of law, human rights and cultural freedom. It is the west that has raised the status of women, fought against slavery, defended freedom of enquiry, expression and conscience. No, the west needs no lectures on the superior virtue of societies who keep their women in subjection, cut off their clitorises, stone them to death for alleged adultery, throw acid on their faces, or deny the human rights of those considered to belong to lower castes.

Warraq argued [4] that absent such honest, rational Western criticism of these dehumanizing practices-fully sanctioned by Islam's totalitarian religio-political governing code, the Sharia [6],  

...Islam will remain unassailed in its dogmatic, fanatical, medieval fortress; ossified, totalitarian and intolerant...Islam will continue to stifle thought, human rights, individuality; originality and truth.

And Warraq implored that this frank criticism of Islamic totalitarianism [7] be complemented by proudly championing the uniquely Western freedoms ostensibly sought by Muslim immigrants to the US, which are of equal, if not more importance to their native Islamic homelands:

How can we expect immigrants to integrate into western society when they are at the same time being taught that the west is decadent, a den of iniquity, the source of all evil, racist, imperialist and to be despised? Why should they, in the words of the African-American writer James Baldwin, want to integrate into a sinking ship? Why do they all want to immigrate to the west and not Saudi Arabia? They should be taught about the centuries of struggle that resulted in the freedoms that they and everyone else for that matter, cherish, enjoy, and avail themselves of; of the individuals and groups who fought for these freedoms and who are despised and forgotten today; the freedoms that the much of the rest of world envies, admires and tries to emulate." When the Chinese students cried and died for democracy in Tiananmen Square (in 1989) , they brought with them not representations of Confucius or Buddha but a model of the Statue of Liberty."

Freedom of expression is our western heritage and we must defend it or it will die from totalitarian attacks. It is also much needed in the Islamic world. By defending our values, we are teaching the Islamic world a valuable lesson, we are helping them by submitting their cherished traditions to Enlightenment values.

To the great detriment of our country, till now, Barack Hussein Obama has willfully ignored Ibn Warraq's courageous wisdom-words Mr. Warraq as a freethinker of Muslim descent in the West, but as an apostate according to Sharia, writes and utters, putting his own very life at risk.

At a White House dinner honoring Iftar (the first meal permitted during Ramadan), President Obama reversed previous statements by Robert Gibbs claiming the Ground Zero Mosque was a local decision, and fully embraced the project before a group of Muslims. Frank Gaffney reports at Big Peace:

As the AP reported, "President Barack Obama on Friday forcefully endorsed building a mosque near Ground Zero saying the country's founding principles demanded no less. ‘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, weighing in for the first time on a controversy that has riven New York and the nation. ‘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 unshakable.'

"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."

Gaffney presents a quick rundown on some of the people present at the dinner with ties to Muslim extremist groups. It makes for sobering reading.

The American people are overwhelmingly against the mosque, understanding (as the President does not, apparently) the Islamic practice of constructing mosques to commemorate victories over infidels and symbolize Muslim dominance. The self-proclaimed reconciliation motive of Imam Rauf is not being served by construction of the mosque' rather, it is aggravating the relationship between Muslims and the American people.  

This move puts the mosque (and community center) squarely into the midterm election debate.  It is a bit difficult for me to understand the motivation behind this move. Was the President pressured by some of his Muslim friends present at the dinner? Is this a heartfelt statement of principle? Or is this some Alinskyite move, intended to heighten contradictions and "rub raw" (in Alinsky's words) the emotions of the public for yet-to-be revealed purposes? Certainly, from the standpoint of electoral advantage, it is not a logical move. Perhaps the President really does want a Republican Congress that he can run against in 2012.

Update: Andrew Malcom of the LA Times provides the official text of the President's address, and the guest list for the dinner. These were no off-the-cuff remarks.

Rick Moran adds:

No one is really surprised at this - especially those of us who understand the overwhelming desire, even need, for liberals to be seen as tolerant and inclusive.
It's not so much that they actually believe in those values. It's not important that they believe. It's that they have a compulsive need to be seen as supporting them, both as a measure of their own self-worth and as a sign to the rest of us that they are our moral superiors.

With 70% of the country opposed to building the mosque, Obama's support also plays into the great liberal narrative that they are bucking the odds, standing on the battlements waving the bloody shirt of social justice despite the rest of the world being against them. If it sounds like an adolescent's heroic daydream, you are spot on.

Now, if only those "moderate Muslims" who are building the mosque would take 10 seconds to acknowledge the fact that 9/11 was perpetrated by evil men who also happened to be followers of Islam, that would be a breakthrough. But since Imam Rauf and his crew have failed to dialogue with families of those who lost loved ones on 9/11 and have made statements in the past that places blame for the attack on the US, we won't get any satisfaction from them.

And note the strawman argument; no one that I know is advocating the notion that Muslims have no right under the Constitution to build the mosque where they please. It has always been the idea that the stated reason for building the mosque flies in the face of the Cordoba Initiative's actions. That, and the fact that Imam Rauf has some troubling connections to terrorists, and has made statements that would lead one to believe he is no friend of "tolerance and dialogue."

I hope this statement by the president makes Democrats squirm. Imagine on the campaign trail or in a debate asking the Democratic candidate if he agrees with the president about the mosque? There will be much clearing of throats and hemming and hawing before any kind of an answer to that question is forthcoming.


Update:

James Lewis adds:
 
Notice that Obama is deliberately sacrificing the Democratic majority in Congress for his ideological position, or perhaps for vast amounts of money from the Saudis. 

This action will lose the November election for the Democrats for sure. 

I think it will also make Obama a one-term president. 

Why? 

If this action doesn't shock you, you have erased the entire 20th century from your memory. 

We are seeing new totalitarian imperialisms armed with nuclear weapons, from Iran and from the Saudis. The Saudis sponsor massive population movements from Pakistan to Europe, and train Wahhabi Imams to preach jihad in Saudi-purchased mosques all over the world. The Iranians want to control the Middle East with nuclear weapons. The Saudis have also bought political influence in the Democratic Party and throughout Europe. 

If Hitler and Tojo had had nuclear weapons in 1945 we would have seen a nuclear war by the 1950s. We are now seeing a nuclear breakout for the first time in history. If you think pacifism will solve this problem you are in deep denial. 

King Abdullah was just quoted in the press as saying, "There are only two nations that don't deserve to live, Iran and Israel." 

The Iranian fascists believe the same thing about him. 

Both sides are currently going for nuclear weapons. The Saudis paid for Pakistan's nuclear weapons development and they can just get them off the shelf as soon as Iran explodes its first bomb. 

Turkey is now controlled by a neo-Ottoman regime with a modern army. 

Tony Blair has been bought by Muammar Khadafi to peddle political influence in Europe. The major Democratic candidates all visited Saudi Arabia in the run-up to the presidential election, except for Obama, who has had close political allies from Syria and Saudi Arabia in Chicago and Detroit for years. 

If you are shocked and amazed by this news, please pass this on to your trusted friends. 

If you are not shocked, you are still in deep denial. If you have simply not read up on your basic history, it is high time to do so. 

Those who ignore history are doomed to repeat it. 

Update:

Dr. Andrew Bostom contrasts Obama's views with those of Muslim freethinker Ibn Waraq (reprinted with permission):

Obama's Ramadan obeisance to the avatars of totalitarian Islam [1] (i.e., the various Muslim Brotherhood fronts well represented in the White House, as Frank Gaffney [1] aptly noted)-was "highlighted", according to the Associated Press by his  "forceful endorsement [2]" of building a mosque near ground zero.  

Debra Burlingame's eloquent denunciation [3] of Obama's Ground Zero Mosque endorsement on behalf of the 9/11 Families for a Safe & Strong America reminded me of these prescient words from 2006 [4] written by the Pakistani native freethinker, and Islamic scholar, Ibn Warraq [5], regarding the Danish Muhammad cartoons "controversy."

Warraq warned [4] that if we in the Free West did not show solidarity with the Danish cartoonists,  "...then the forces that are trying to impose on the Free West a totalitarian ideology will have won."

He  denounced the kind of self-loathing apologetics that have become pathognomonic of President Obama and his administration, and their inability-or unwillingness-to defend Western values,  "intellectually and culturally."  

Warraq passionately advocated the opposite approach [4]:

Be proud, do not apologize. Do we have to go on apologizing for the sins our fathers? Do we still have to apologize, for example, for the British Empire, when, in fact, the British presence in India led to the Indian Renaissance, resulted in famine relief, railways, roads and irrigation schemes, eradication of cholera, the civil service, the establishment of a universal educational system where none existed before, the institution of elected parliamentary democracy and the rule of law? What of the British architecture of Bombay and Calcutta? The British even gave back to the Indians their own past: it was European scholarship, archaeology and research that uncovered the greatness that was India; it was British government that did its best to save and conserve the monuments that were a witness to that past glory. British Imperialism preserved where earlier Islamic Imperialism destroyed thousands of Hindu temples.

He continued [4]:

On the world stage, should we really apologize for Dante, Shakespeare, and Goethe? Mozart, Beethoven and Bach? Rembrandt, Vermeer,  Van Gogh, Breughel, Ter Borch? Galileo, Huygens, Copernicus, Newton and
Darwin? Penicillin and computers? The Olympic Games and Football? Human rights and parliamentary democracy? The west is the source of the liberating ideas of individual liberty, political democracy, the rule of law, human rights and cultural freedom. It is the west that has raised the status of women, fought against slavery, defended freedom of enquiry, expression and conscience. No, the west needs no lectures on the superior virtue of societies who keep their women in subjection, cut off their clitorises, stone them to death for alleged adultery, throw acid on their faces, or deny the human rights of those considered to belong to lower castes.

Warraq argued [4] that absent such honest, rational Western criticism of these dehumanizing practices-fully sanctioned by Islam's totalitarian religio-political governing code, the Sharia [6],  

...Islam will remain unassailed in its dogmatic, fanatical, medieval fortress; ossified, totalitarian and intolerant...Islam will continue to stifle thought, human rights, individuality; originality and truth.

And Warraq implored that this frank criticism of Islamic totalitarianism [7] be complemented by proudly championing the uniquely Western freedoms ostensibly sought by Muslim immigrants to the US, which are of equal, if not more importance to their native Islamic homelands:

How can we expect immigrants to integrate into western society when they are at the same time being taught that the west is decadent, a den of iniquity, the source of all evil, racist, imperialist and to be despised? Why should they, in the words of the African-American writer James Baldwin, want to integrate into a sinking ship? Why do they all want to immigrate to the west and not Saudi Arabia? They should be taught about the centuries of struggle that resulted in the freedoms that they and everyone else for that matter, cherish, enjoy, and avail themselves of; of the individuals and groups who fought for these freedoms and who are despised and forgotten today; the freedoms that the much of the rest of world envies, admires and tries to emulate." When the Chinese students cried and died for democracy in Tiananmen Square (in 1989) , they brought with them not representations of Confucius or Buddha but a model of the Statue of Liberty."

Freedom of expression is our western heritage and we must defend it or it will die from totalitarian attacks. It is also much needed in the Islamic world. By defending our values, we are teaching the Islamic world a valuable lesson, we are helping them by submitting their cherished traditions to Enlightenment values.

To the great detriment of our country, till now, Barack Hussein Obama has willfully ignored Ibn Warraq's courageous wisdom-words Mr. Warraq as a freethinker of Muslim descent in the West, but as an apostate according to Sharia, writes and utters, putting his own very life at risk.