One has to admire US president Barack Obama for steadfastly holding true to American ideals. Not many would be brave enough to even consider allowing a mosque to be built near the ground zero site where the 9/11 terrorist attacks left their mark on the Manhattan landscape. Mr Obama has not only considered it but he has also decided to endorse it.
Mr Obama’s comments on the subject has sparked a national debate in the USA. Is what Mr Obama is doing anti-American? How could he allow something that could likely be construed as a tribute to the very religion whose fundamentalist followers orchestrated the most significant act of terrorism in recent times – and that too against the country he leads? And so what if it is on privately owned land – should the American people not have a say on what happens there?
Wonkie thinks that Mr Obama made the best decision – in fact, he had no real choice but to take the exact decision he did. Commentators in the US and around the world may debate about the (in)sensitivity of the decision, whether it is the right thing to do or not, or even whether Mr Obama is a scholastic idealist lacking the political savvy to make practical, real-life decisions. None of that commentary and rhetoric should really matter when the president of a nation has to make a decision of this sort – at least not if he is worth his salt. Mr Obama’s duty is to uphold the Constitution and protection of all the citizens of the USA.
He has to, by the very nature of his job, be less concerned with public sensitivity on issues and more concerned about protecting the rights of the American public.
Consider for example, that Mr Obama had decided to oppose the building of a mosque near the ground zero site. The scale of that decision would in effect have marginalised followers of Islam in the USA. If a church or synagogue could be built on that very site without opposition, on what real grounds other than pure religious discrimination could Mr Obama oppose the building of a mosque? How American would that be?
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