Det hvite hus forsøker å manøvrere mellom Obamas to Ground Zero-uttalelser og sendte lørdag ut en pressemelding om at lørdagens reservasjon ikke betød noen tilbakekalling av det som presidenten sa fredag om at han støttet byggingen av en moske.

Obama mente å uttale seg på prinsipielt grunnlag: alle har rett til å bygge et gudshus hvor de vil. Men Ground Zero er ikke noe vanlig sted.

Later in the day, the White House press office elaborated further, issuing yet another statement.

“Just to be clear, the president is not backing off in any way from the comments he made last night,” it said.

Det kan vanskelig kalles noe annet enn å ville ha i pose og sekk. Obama støtter moskeen, men mener han bare uttrykker seg prinsipielt.

Det problematiske for presidenten er at en moske nær Ground Zero er nødt for å bli en diskusjon om hva Ground Zero betyr, og om hensynet til Ground Zero veier tyngere enn muslimenes ønsker. Det er en avveining presidenten neppe kommer godt ut av. Borgermester Bloomberg forsøker seg med at muslimske naboer sørget sammen med amerikanerne. Men flere vil huske at det også var muslimer som danset i gatene over 9/11.

Opposition to a proposed mosque near Ground Zero swelled into a furor this week after its planners on Aug. 3 passed the last municipal hurdle barring them from building it. New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg spoke passionately in defense of the project. «Let us not forget that Muslims were among those murdered on 9/11 and that our Muslim neighbors grieved with us as New Yorkers and as Americans,» Bloomberg said in a speech that day. «We would betray our values and play into our enemies’ hands if we were to treat Muslims differently than anyone else.»

Bloomberg’s predecessor didn’t agree. The former mayor of New York City, Rudy Giuliani, claimed that the project, which is partially intended to be an interfaith community center, would be a «desecration,» adding that «decent» Muslims ought not object to his opinion. Other GOP politicians and talking heads who have far less to do with the events of 9/11 — or, for that matter, New York — have joined the chorus, arguing in some instances that a mosque near Ground Zero would be a monument to terrorists.

En av de kraftigste kritikerne er New Gingrich. Han tar den helt ut.

“There is nothing surprising in the president’s continued pandering to radical Islam,” Mr. Gingrich said. “What he said last night is untrue and inaccurate. The fact is this is not about religious liberty.”

Mr. Gingrich said that the proposed mosque and community center would be a symbol of Muslim “triumphalism” and that building it near the site of the Sept. 11 attacks “would be like putting a Nazi sign next to the Holocaust museum.”

Obama Says Mosque Remarks Were Not Endorsement

Read more: http://www.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,2009147,00.html#ixzz0wN01xN6U