Ahead of the ninth anniversary of the 9/11 attack, United States was stirred by a Florida church's plan of burning Qurans to pay tribute to the victims of the al Qaeda suicide attack as well as the row over the proposed Mosque near the site of the World Trade Center, which was destroyed in the Sep 11, 2001 terror strike.
Slamming the Florida Pastor, Terry Jones' plans to burn the Muslim holy book and backing the Ground Zero mosque, the President said, "All men and women are created equal, they have certain inalienable rights, and one of those is to practice their religion freely.
"You can build a church on a site, you can build a synagogue on a site, if you could build a Hindu temple on a site, you should be able to build a mosque."
At a White House press conference, Obama said, "We are not at war against Islam. We are at war against terrorist organizations that have distorted Islam or falsely used the banner of Islam."
"If we're going to deal with the problems ... (of) reducing the terrorist threat, we need all the allies we can get," he said, noting that the anti-Islam sentiment will only help the extremists fuel their hatred.
"Al Qaeda, that's what they've been banking on. The overwhelming majority of Muslims are peace-loving - are interested in the same things that you and I are interested in."
Opining that the media, especially the internet, gave a popularity boost to the Pastor and his anti-Islam plans, the president, defended the decision to have Defense Secretary Robert Gates call Reverand Terry Jones personally on Thursday, Sep 9 to ask him to cancel the event.
“When someone goes out their way to be provocative, that"s a problem, and it has made life a lot more difficult for our men and women in uniform who already have a very difficult job," Obama said