New York: A group representing relatives of
victims of the September 11, 2001 terror attacks on Saturday roundly
condemned President Barack Obama`s support of a mosque and
Islamic center near Ground Zero.
The group, 9/11 Families for a Safe & Strong America,
said in a statement that it was "stunned" by Obama`s support
for the deeply controversial project.
Obama "has abandoned America at the place where America`s
heart was broken nine years ago, and where her true values
were on display for all to see," the group said in a
"Now this president declares that the victims of 9/11 and
their families must bear another burden. We must stand silent
at the last place in America where 9/11 is still remembered
with reverence or risk being called religious bigots."
Obama waded into the fray yesterday night. Although he
described the World Trade Center site as "hallowed ground," he
stressed that "Muslims have the same right to practice their
religion as anyone else in this country" and that "our
commitment to religious freedom must be unshakeable."
But the group insisted the controversy was not just about
freedom of religion.
"9/11 was more than a `deeply traumatic event,`" it said.
"It was an act of war."
Building the mosque and cultural center so close to
Ground Zero "is a deliberately provocative act that will
precipitate more bloodshed in the name of Allah," the group
"Those who continue to target and kill American civilians
and US troops will see it as a symbol of their historic
progress at the site of their most bloody victory," the