He made a stirring statement about religious freedom last Friday at a Ramadan dinner. The next day he equivocated: “I was not commenting and I will not comment on the wisdom of making the decision to put a mosque there. I was commenting very specifically on the right people have that dates back to our founding. That’s what our country is about.”
Score a miss for Presidential leadership. His conflicting statements poured fuel on the burning controversy.
· Americans generally believe Muslims have a right to worship, just not there.
· One and one-half billion Muslims thought America was a land of religious freedom, not at war with Islam, but aren’t certain.
· Manhattanites mostly think people ought to be able to do whatever they want.
· Families of 9/11 victims are divided
You can’t please everybody, Mr. President. Time to do the right thing. But what is the right thing? Should a Muslim community center-cum-prayer area be built on the site of a decrepit ex-Burlington Coat Factory, hard by an Off-Track Betting parlor, a bar, a porn shop, and some run-down office buildings 2-1/2 blocks from Ground Zero?
The opponents say it’s a matter of respecting sensitivities of people who lost loved ones on 9/11. (more…)