Finally breaking his administration’s official silence on the matter, President Obama today insisted that he supports the so-called Ground Zero mosque, insisting that Muslims have “the right to build a place of worship and a community center on private property in lower Manhattan, in accordance with local laws,” adding that he believes they have the same rights as anyone else.
The mosque had been backed by New York Mayor Bloomberg, but angrily opposed by a number of people who insist that the community center just blocks away from the site of the 9/11 attack is a violation of “sacred” ground.
Efforts by opponents of the site to get an existing building, a former Burlington Coat Factory covered in graffiti, declared a “landmark” have failed so far, but have sparked further protests and lawsuits.
The fight over the New York mosque has sparked similar battles in other states, with locals trying to oppose other mosques in other cities on general principle. Locals have denounced mosque plans in Tennessee, Wisconsin, California, and Michigan, usually starting with complaints about traffic but eventually escalating into denunciations of Muslims in general.