Muslims must build a mosque near Ground Zero because “we have to build everywhere,” Hamas senior leader Mahmoud al-Zahar told WorldNet Daily’s Aaron Klein in an interview on WABC radio in New York.
"We have to build the mosque, as you are allowed to build the church and Israelis are building their holy places," he said. "In every area we have, [as Muslims] we have to pray, and this mosque is the only site of prayer, especially for the people when they are looking [to be] in the group, not an individual," he said.
Al-Zahar claimed that Hamas, designated by the United States as a terrorist organization, "is representing the vast majority of the Arabic and Islamic world, especially the Islamic side” and that American Muslims, like all others, are united in a common cause.
Hamas’ support for the mosque near the site of the former World Trade Center came 24 hours after U.S. President Barack Obama’s widely regarded gaffe in supporting the mosque and then doubling back on his comments.
Speaking Friday night to Muslim guests, President Obama stated, “Let me be clear: As a citizen and as President, I believe that Muslims have the same 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.”
After his remarks caused an uproar coast-co-coast in the United States, he said the following morning, “I was not commenting and I will not comment on the wisdom of making a decision to put a mosque there.” He explained that Muslims have the right build a mosque near Ground Zero but that he was not interfering with what he called a local decision.
The plan for a mosque has torn apart American feelings, some claiming that freedom of religion allows for a mosque to be built and others arguing that it would be totally insensitive to the feelings of those who were wounded and to relatives of the dead. Several planners of the mosque also have been linked to groups supporting Muslim terror.
President Obama’s backtracking echoed a similar “clarification” during his presidential campaign, when he told the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) pro-Israel group, "explained, "." Shortly afterwards, he
he actually meant that a barbed wire fence should not divide the city, as it did when Jordan occupied eastern, southern and northern Jerusalem. Jordan did not allow Christians or Jews to visit their holy sites under its control, including the Western Wall, except for visiting dignitaries.