News / USA

Top US Senator Opposes Mosque Near Ground Zero

The U.S. Senate's top Democrat has spoken out against plans to build a Muslim cultural center and mosque near the site of the September 11 terrorist attacks in New York City.

A spokesman for Harry Reid says the Senate majority leader appreciates that the First Amendment protects freedom of religion.  But he says the senator thinks the mosque should be built someplace else.  Reid is in a close campaign for re-election this November.

President Barack Obama said last week he supports the right of Muslims to build a place of worship and community center on private property in New York City.  But he said he would not comment on the "wisdom" of doing so.

That statement appeared to pull back from the president's comments on the proposed center Friday, when he said (during a White House dinner celebrating the Islamic holy month of Ramadan) that the U.S. commitment to religious freedom must be "unshakable."

Republicans have sharply criticized the planned construction of the center.  Senator John Cornyn says it is "unwise" to build a mosque near the site, now known as "Ground Zero," where more than 2,600 Americans were killed.  He described President Obama as "disconnected from the mainstream of America" for what Cornyn said is the president's support of the center's construction.

Republican Representative Peter King, who opposes the center's planned location, accused Mr. Obama of changing his position on the project.  King said the project's sponsors are "pouring salt" into what he called Americans' "raw wound" from the attacks.

Opinion polls (by CNN/Opinion Research) indicate that 68 percent of Americans oppose building a mosque less than one kilometer from the site where al-Qaida hijackers crashed two passenger planes into the twin towers of the World Trade Center.  Many Americans say putting a mosque so close to the site would be disrespectful to those killed.

The prayer room would be part of a $100-million Islamic center featuring a 500-seat auditorium, sports facilities, theater and restaurant, and would be open to all visitors.

Earlier Monday, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg said it would be a "sad day for America" if opponents block plans for the mosque near the site of the terrorist attacks.  The mayor and others who support the building of the center have said it will help bridge divisions between the West and the Muslim world.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.

You May Like

Karzai's Legacy: Missed Opportunities?

Afghanistan's president leaves behind a much different nation than the one he inherited, yet his legacy from 13 years in power is getting mixed reviews More

Video Secret Service Chief Under Fire for White House Security Breach

Julia Pierson faces tough questions from lawmakers after recent intrusion at White House, says: 'It is clear that our security plan was not executed properly' More

Frustrated, Liberian Students Want Ebola Fight Role

Thousands have volunteered to go to counties, rural villages to talk to people in their language about deadly virus More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihadi
X
Mahi Ramakrishnan
September 30, 2014 2:16 PM
Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihad

Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Could US Have Done More to Stop Rise of Islamic State?

President Obama says airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria will likely continue for some time because, in his words, "there is a cancer that has grown for too long." So what if President Obama had acted sooner in Syria to arm more-moderate opponents of both the Islamic State and the Syrian government? VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Iran's Rouhani Skeptical on Syria Strikes

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani expressed skepticism Friday that U.S.-led airstrikes in Iraq and Syria could crush Islamic State militants. From New York, VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports the president was also hopeful that questions about Iran’s nuclear program could be resolved soon.
Video

Video US House Speaker: Congress Should Debate Authorization Against IS

As wave after wave of U.S. airstrikes target Islamic State militants, the speaker of the Republican-controlled House of Representatives says he would be willing to call Congress back into session to debate a formal, broad authorization for the use of military force. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports from Washington, where legislators left town 10 days ago for a seven-week recess.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Video

Video Ebola Robs Liberians of Chance to Say Good-Bye to Loved Ones

In Liberia, where Ebola has killed more than 1,500 people, authorities have worked hard to convince people to allow specialized burial teams to take away dead bodies. But these safety measures, while necessary, make it hard for people to say good bye to their loved ones. VOA's Anne Look reports on the tragedy from Liberia.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid