[L]et me be clear: as a citizen, and as President, I believe that Muslims have the same right to practice their religion as anyone else in this country. That includes the right to build a place of worship and a community center on private property in lower Manhattan, in accordance with local laws and ordinances. This is America, and our commitment to religious freedom must be unshakeable. The principle that people of all faiths are welcome in this country, and will not be treated differently by their government, is essential to who we are. The writ of our Founders must endure….
Al Qaeda's cause is not Islam -- it is a gross distortion of Islam. These are not religious leaders -- these are terrorists who murder innocent men, women and children….
Like so many other immigrants, generations of Muslims came here to forge their future. They became farmers and merchants, worked in mills and factories, and helped lay the railroads. They helped build America. They founded the first Islamic center in New York City in the 1890s. They built America's first mosque on the prairie of North Dakota. And perhaps the oldest surviving mosque in America -- still in use today -- is in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.
Today, our nation is strengthened by millions of Muslim Americans. They excel in every walk of life. Muslim American communities -- including mosques in all fifty states -- also serve their neighbors. Muslim Americans protect our communities as police, firefighters and first responders. Muslim American clerics have spoken out against terror and extremism, reaffirming that Islam teaches that one must save human life, not take it.
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Friday, August 13, 2010
President Obama Does the Right Thing and Supports Both Forcefully and Eloquently the Manhattan Islamic Center
Excerpted from full remarks available at TPM: