U.S. President Barack Obama says he has "no regrets" that he expressed his view in the opening of a Islamic cultural center near the site of the 9/11 attack.
COLUMBUS, OHIO, UNITED STATES (AUGUST 18, 2010) POOL - As the proposed establishment of an Islamic cultural center and mosque near the site of the 9/11 attacks continues to dominate America's political chatter, U.S. President Barack Obama on Wednesday said he had "no regrets" about his controversial comment last week which ignited the rhetorical firestorm.
After delivering remarks on the economy in Ohio, Obama paused to shake hands with members of his audience. A reporter stationed along a rope line asked the President if he regretted the remarks on the Islamic center. Obama walked away from the reporter, apparently to consider his response, and turned back again a short while later.
"The answer is: no regrets," he said.
Obama inserted himself into the debate over the mosque last week when observed that Muslims have the right to worship freely. Some commentators, ranging across the political spectrum from the Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid to former Republican vice-presidential nominee Sarah Palin, have argued that placing the Islamic center so close to the site of the attack on the World Trade Center would open raw wounds in America's national psyche.