Aug 16, 2010 9:34 pm


FROM BBC Monitoring:

Russian experts slam Obama's decision to back mosque near 9/11 site Text of report by Gazprom-owned, editorially independent Russian radio station Ekho Moskvy on 14 August

(Presenter) By his actions (backing the construction of a mosque about two blocks from the former World Trade Centre site) the US President (Barack Obama) is driving a wedge between the Christian and Muslim worlds, the chairman of Russia's Islamic Committee, Geydar Dzhemal, has said. In fact Barack Obama is trying to disguise a more serious intention, he said.

(Dzhemal) As long as all this is discussed, as long as they point fingers at this, someone will be touched, someone else will curse, but in any case this is a strong veil. After this, no one will be able to say that the USA is an aggressor and has malicious intentions. One will be cut short at once, and pointed towards this mosque project. But at the same time, geopolitical intentions have not disappeared. If we compare the USA's course to these decisions, for example, we can only draw one conclusion - this is a very strong misleading measure.

(Presenter) The latest statements by Barack Obama may seriously affect his rating, well-known journalist Mikhail Taratuta has said.

(Taratuta) Serious irritation with Barack (Obama) is increasing. This may add to it. All the more so since there were no protests against the construction of the mosque. There were proposals to construct it in a another place, because it does not look very ethical (to build it) in the place where such a tragedy occurred through the fault of Islamists.

(Presenter) When approving the construction of the mosque, Obama was first of all guided by political correctness, a member of the academic council of the Moscow Carnegie Centre, Aleksey Arbatov, has said. Obama's actions may lead to serious consequences, he added.

(Arbatov) It will lead to Muslims saying that they have had another victory: we destroyed two sky-scrappers there and they are grateful to us and built a mosque there. This will push radical Islamists to even more impudence and aggression. For Obama, I think this will be a big minus in his records. The American public, at least a considerable part of it, will not approve of such an extravagant gesture. He is most likely to have been guided by political motives to show that it is not Islam to blame, but extremists.

I think this is not correct at its core, because this tragedy is on Islam's conscience. And they should not fool us as if Islam has nothing to do with this. It has. From the point of view of domestic policy, Obama has very much shot himself in the foot and he will be reminded of this on more than one occasion.

(Presenter) But at the same time, the fact that Obama approved the construction of the mosque does not mean that this is a final decision, Arbatov said. It must also be approved by local authorities, above all.

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