White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs came as close he ever has today to saying the White House approves of the mosque being built just by the World Trade Center site.
Gibbs suggested that President Obama will make the position official when he speaks at the annual White House Iftar dinner tonight, which marks the start of Ramadan.
QUESTION: At the dinner tonight, do you anticipate that the president will address the issue of the mosque in New York?
GIBBS: I’ve not seen the president’s final remarks. I will say this. I think the president strongly believes that our country was founded on first and foremost, a tenet of religious freedom.
You know, we have events throughout the year — Christmas, Hanukkah, tonight’s event, Iftar- to celebrate the rich diversity of religious freedom in this country that goes back, as I said, to its founding.
I anticipate he’ll talk about that.
QUESTION: Robert, how does that square, though, with the earlier comments on this from the White House, that this is a local matter?
GIBBS: Religious freedom is something that the president believes in, and I think you’ll hear him talk about it tonight.
So, it’s not longer a local issue, as Gibbs has said in the past. It’s a national issue because religious principles are universal.
Wrong. It’s a national issue because the people murdered at Ground Zero were from all over the country, because it was an attack on the whole country, and because the people fighting in the wars it prompted are from all over the United States.
Charles Krauthammer has an excellent piece today on why the mosque should not be built on hallowed ground. I believe the funding for the mosque and the ties of those who are behind it needs to be investigated. There is evidence, as the National Review points out, they are not quite as moderate as they present themselves to be.
The controversy that has ensued and the planners continued insistence on putting the mosque on the site belies the stated objective of fostering unity, understanding, and blah blah blah.
My suspicion, not proven, is that the money for the mosque is coming from people who despise what we stand for, and that the project is a plan to plant the flag of victory on defeated enemy ground.
Whether it is or not, that’s how it will be seen throughout the Muslim world among the many there who do hate us.