This weekend, Barack Obama endorsed the plan to build a mosque at Ground Zero, saying that allowing the site to go forward is “what our country’s about.” George Washington and the Founders had tremendous foresight, but they never could have imagined a day when an American president would say something so stupid. Below are hypothetical remarks the president might have made if his views were more enlightened by patriotism than by contempt for his country and sympathy for her enemies:

My fellow Amerians, as you know, a private Muslim organization has submitted plans to construct a mosque near Ground Zero. A great controversy has arisen over whether the mosque’s construction should proceed at this time, in this place, and under this leadership. Those who favor the Cordoba Mosque say we are not at war with Islam, that no one has tied its leadership to al-Qaeda, and that freedom of worship is one of our most cherished rights as Americans. Those who oppose building the mosque on that hallowed ground say that setting a Muslim prayer house on the ashes of the Twin Towers is unnecessarily provocative and will rub salt into the open wound of 9/11. They understand the triumph Islamic fundamentalists will feel at seeing the crescent rise from the ruins of the deadliest attack on American soil. And they fear under the wrong leadership, the mosque will serve as a recruiting grounds for jihadists plotting the next great act of domestic terrorism.

Americans are blessed above all people to live in a nation that respects the freedom of religion. Unlike so many nations ruled by the dictatorial clique of clerics and “holy men,” the United States has no enforced creed or compulsory church. The Christian men who founded this nation on the timeless values of the Old and New Testaments respected the freedom of conscience above all other considerations, and they enshrined the right to choose our own religion in the First Amendment of the Constitution. That means any religious group has the right to worship, in a house of worship.

That right does not imply, however, that they have a right to build a house of worship in every conceivable location. The sacred nature of this place, which became the final resting place of three thousand American citizens obliterated within minutes by 19 adherents of fanatical Islam, marks it as the wrong site for this project. For that reason, I am asking the supporters of this mosque to withdraw their bid.

Should they refuse, I will take all actions available to me to assure the bid does not succeed.

The issue here is not freedom of religion but freedom to worship on the grounds of the World Trade Center. Each state and locality has the right to regulate and zone the area under its authority for its best use in accordance with the law. Churches, synagogues, and private Bible studies have sometimes run into the problems of harsh or prohibitive zoning laws. Our new Islamic neighbors could not expect to be exempt from this.

Before any construction goes forward, I have instructed the Attorney General to investigate these issues from the federal government’s perspective. I have ordered that all negotiations be halted until he has completed this comprehensive review with all the research and deliberation such a task requires. After the Justice Department has reviewed any federal interest in the property – including an assessment of purchasing the property through eminent domain – the state of New York must complete a similar review, followed by each appropriate level of city government in succession

Should each stage of the investigation allow the project to proceed, I will assure that any potential mosque is constructed in accordance with all relevant laws, regulations, ordinances, and codes – whether federal, state, municipal, or any other level of government – whether environmental, ergonomic, or handicapped. The full maximum fine will be meted out for each offense. Should the legislatures and governing bodies of Manhattan pass additional burdens during this process, I will see to it that they are fully enforced, as well.

As much as this location’s past has engraved itself into the heart of the American people, its future is of far greater significance to us today. Before negotiations resume, I am ordering a full investigation of Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, examining his religious views, his associations, and any contact he has had with any person or organization on the U.S. terrorist watch list. The Justice Department will also investigate all donors and benefactors of the proposed site, tracking every dollar each of them has given to any charity or political organization, here or overseas. Their full tax records will necessarily be reviewed as this process continues.

Not one brick will be laid upon another until this investigation is complete.

And if ever this mosque is constructed, the investigation will not end.

The mosque’s belief in Islamic supremacy offends those who believe in the First Amendment for all non-Muslims, the vast majority of America’s citizens who embody her religious heritage. The U.S. Constitution is incompatible with Sharia law or the enforcement of dhimmi status. Any investigation that reveals the mosque is promoting or serving as an accessory in any way to Islamic terrorism or any terrorist will result in the forfeiture – and destruction – of the mosque.

Our Muslim neighbors are welcome to worship in the United States. In fact, there are already numerous mosques in New York City and its metropolitan area as it is – so many, in fact, one wonders why another is needed here. Nonetheless, Muslims who respect America’s religious heritage and character are welcome to practice their religion in peace. I have personally worshiped with Muslims in their lands, gone to their schools, and I welcome those who wish to pursue the American way of life peacefully on our shores. If this offer is removed and the mosque is constructed somewhere else, they will find Americans are among the most tolerant and accepting of neighbors – sometimes to their own detriment. But Ground Zero has passed out of merely private hands into what Abraham Lincoln called “the mystic chords of memory.” It is our shared national ground. Those buildings that rest on it must bring us together, not further isolate us or inflame the American people. Protecting those lands and those memories is my charge. And this heavy responsibility is one I humbly accept and will wholeheartedly enforce.

Thank you. God bless you. And may God bless the United States of America.

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