Obama says doesn't regret mosque comments

COLUMBUS, Ohio Wed Aug 18, 2010 1:51pm EDT

President Barack Obama talks about the economy with local families while in Columbus, Ohio, August 18, 2010. REUTERS/Larry Downing

President Barack Obama talks about the economy with local families while in Columbus, Ohio, August 18, 2010.

Credit: Reuters/Larry Downing

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COLUMBUS, Ohio (Reuters) - President Barack Obama said on Wednesday he had "no regrets" about taking a controversial position on whether a Muslim community center and mosque is built near the site of the September 11 attacks in New York.

Obama, a Democrat, said last week he supported the right of Muslims to build the center near the site known as "Ground Zero."

His comments on Friday night drew criticism from Republicans and members of his own party. Harry Reid, the top Democrat in the Senate, broke with the president, saying the center -- which would include an auditorium and a prayer space -- should be built elsewhere.

A national debate has erupted over whether the Muslim center should be constructed two blocks from the site of the 2001 attacks by al Qaeda which destroyed the World Trade Center towers and killed close to 3,000 people.

Democrats fear the issue could become a distraction ahead of November congressional elections in which Republicans are seeking to wrest control of Congress.

Obama, who is finishing a three-day campaign-style tour through politically important U.S. states, told a reporter in Ohio he did not regret weighing into the issue.

(Reporting by Patricia Zengerle, editing by Jackie Frank)

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Comments (25)
phuyayyay wrote:
There is a kind of arrogance that he can say he has “no regrets” when 70% of the people oppose the mosque close to Ground Zero. As president, Obama should express his own views, but he also should be aware of the views of the American people and state those as well. He has proven again, he is no leader and many of us will have no regrets seeing him replaced in 2012.

Aug 18, 2010 3:37pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
Cru wrote:
It’s not really arrogance when 70% of the people have reactionary behavior.

People want to ban it on principle alone, that’s not freedom of expression, it’s horribly anti-american. The average citizen is still convinced that this is going to be a traditional mosque built right on ground zero, and have reservations solely because it’s Islamic – that’s intolerance. The president does not have to state support of bigotry.

He is showing backbone, and yet the peanut gallery says he’s no leader and clamors to replace him in 2012. I think the country will do anything to have a scapegoat to avoid having to see their own reflection for a change.

Aug 18, 2010 4:03pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
Trooth wrote:
President Obama should learn when to take a stand and how to do it. I don’t mind the position of the people having the right to build where they want. He would have been better to state his position and leave it at that rather than clarifying. 70% of the people can oppose the mosque to Ground Zero, but I would think that those same 70% would be against the government telling them where their place of worship can and can’t be built.

Aug 18, 2010 4:11pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
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