President defends right to build Islamic center in Manhattan
WASHINGTON, Aug. 13 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) tonight welcomed President Obama's strong support for Muslim religious rights, including the right to build an Islamic community center in Manhattan.
At an iftar, or Ramadan fast-breaking dinner at the White House this evening, the president said: "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."
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"We welcome President Obama's strong statement of support for American Muslim religious rights and hope his remarks will serve as encouragement to those who are challenging the rising level of Islamophobia in our society," said CAIR National Executive Director Nihad Awad. "We urge other national political and religious leaders to speak out in defense of the freedom of religion and equality of all Americans enshrined in our Constitution."
Awad asked the president to take a similarly forthright stand against the planned burning of Qurans, Islam's revealed text, by a Florida church on the upcoming anniversary of the 9/11 terror attacks.
CAIR Video: Planned Fla. Quran Burning Sparks Outrage http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mSrZaPD8onc
CAIR is America's largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.
SOURCE Council on American-Islamic Relations