Obama Embraces Ground Zero Mosque (updated)
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."
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.
James Lewis adds:
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.
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  (i.e., the various Muslim Brotherhood fronts well represented in the White House, as Frank Gaffney  aptly noted)-was "highlighted", according to the Associated Press by his "forceful endorsement " of building a mosque near ground zero.Debra Burlingame's eloquent denunciation  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  written by the Pakistani native freethinker, and Islamic scholar, Ibn Warraq , regarding the Danish Muhammad cartoons "controversy."Warraq warned  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 :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 :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  that absent such honest, rational Western criticism of these dehumanizing practices-fully sanctioned by Islam's totalitarian religio-political governing code, the Sharia ,...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  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.