Farah Pandith, US President Barack Obama's special representative
to Muslim communities while reiterating Obama Administration's
support to the construction of the mosque near ground zero said
the opponents of the project lack the support of the majority.
"The differences of opinions
expressed on the issue is what United States is all about. It is
the diversity of faith. Diversity of ethnicity", Farha said in an exclusive interview with NDTV.
"But US constitution allows all
faiths freedom to practice their religion. The fact is that those
protesting against the mosque do not represent the majority view
in America"", she said.
"And the bottom-line of everything
that is happening right now is what America was founded on. It is
the freedom to practice religion
freely", Farha said.
"The fact is that those protesting
the construction of the mosque do not represent the majority", she
said while stating that there are temples, there are churches and
there are mosques and synagogues in close proximity to each other
in the United States, she said,
Farha Pandith was referring to the
proposed plan by a Muslim group to construct a Community Centre
that would also have a mosque few blocks away from ground zero in
New York where the twin towers existed till 9/11. The US Muslim
group planning to construct the centre had purchased Cordoba House
located near ground zero for the purpose and have also received
The proposal has also received a
strong backing from US President Obama himself who while hosting
an Iftaar and later in a TV interview extended his support for the
He in fact doubled down on his
support for a mosque and community centre planned for a site two
blocks north of Ground Zero site of the Sep 11, 2001 terror attack
in New York - and denied reports that he tried to back away from
supporting the controversial project.
"I didn't walk it back it all," he said. "I was very specific with
my team... The core value and principle that every American is
treated the same doesn't change... At (a White House Ramadan
celebration), I had Muslim Americans who had been in uniform
fighting in Iraq... How can you say to them that their religious
faith is less worthy of respect?... That's something that I feel
very strongly about."
He added, "I respect the feelings on the other side."