President Obama tonight endorsed building an Islamic community center and mosque a few blocks from the site of the 9/11 attacks in New York City, saying that "Muslims have the right to practice their religion" just like anyone else.
"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," Obama said at an Iftar dinner at the White House honoring the Muslim holiday of Ramadan. "This is America."
Obama said he understands the emotions aroused by the issue, including the objections of 9/11 victims' families who want the Islamic center to be built elsewhere in the city. But he said that the terrorists who attacked the World Trade Center do not represent Islam, but are killers distorting a great religion.
"That's who we are fighting against," he said. "And the reason that we will win this fight is not simply the strength of our arms, it is the strength of our values."
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