News / USA

Obama: 'No Regrets' About Comments on Mosque Near 'Ground Zero'

U.S. President Barack Obama says he has "no regrets" about comments he made supporting Muslims' right to build a mosque near the site of the 2001 terrorist attacks in New York City.

Mr. Obama was asked about the remarks Wednesday while concluding an economic talk with residents in Ohio.

The president's comments on the mosque proposal have drawn fierce criticism from Republicans and others who say an Islamic center should not be built near the site where more than 2,600 people were killed by al-Qaida.

President Obama later clarified that though he supports the "right" to build a mosque near the site, he would not comment on the "wisdom" of doing so.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Wednesday that where the mosque is located is a "local decision." She echoed President Obama's comment that freedom of religion is a constitutional right. Pelosi also called for transparency about who is funding the effort to build the Islamic center and who is funding the attacks against its construction.

A statewide poll indicates nearly two-thirds of New York voters also believe the project is protected by the Constitution, even though a majority oppose the plan.

Sixty-three percent of voters surveyed in the Siena College poll are against the project, while 27 percent support it. The remaining 10 percent expressed no opinion.

An opinion poll released last week by CNN/Opinion Research found nearly 70 percent of all Americans do not agree with the mosque proposal. The mosque and cultural center would be erected less than one kilometer from the site known as "Ground Zero," where al-Qaida hijackers crashed two passenger planes into the twin towers of the World Trade Center

A group dedicated since the 2001 attacks to opposing what it describes as "radical mosques," jihad and "harsh sharia law" is planning a rally this Sunday to protest construction of the mosque.

The Coalition to Honor Ground Zero says firefighters, victims' families and construction workers vowing not to build the mosque will also take part in the event.

Tuesday, a group called the Muslim American Society Freedom warned of what it called a "growing pattern" of opposition to mosque construction across the country. Many estimates put the current number of mosques in the United States at about 2,000.

Supporters of the 'Ground Zero' mosque say it will help bridge divisions between the West and the Muslim world, and say the terrorists who carried out the attacks do not represent Islam.

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.

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

You May Like

Video One Year After Thai Coup, No End in Sight for Military Rule

Since carrying out the May 22, 2014 coup, the general has retired from the military but is still firmly in charge More

Goodbye, New York

This is what the fastest-growing big cities in America have in common More

Job-Seeking Bangladeshis Risk Lives to Find Work

The number of Bangladeshi migrants on smugglers’ boats bound for Southeast Asian countries has soared in the past two years 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.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs