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Kathryn Kolbert

Kathryn Kolbert

Kathryn Kolbert, a public-interest attorney and journalist, is the Director of the Athena Center for Leadership Studies at Barnard College, an interdisciplinary center devoted to the theory and practice of women's leadership.

Obama did the right thing stepping in

Q: President Obama weighed in on the issue of the mosque at Ground Zero prompting grumbles that the gesture was unnecessary and politically damaging. Meanwhile the imam at the center of the controversy -- Feisal Abdul Rauf -- has been largely invisible, lecturing for the State Department in Bahrain and, according to his wife, unavailable until next month. What do leaders need to know about perfecting the timing of weighing in on a crisis?

Leadership demands that you stay true to your principles whether or not they are politically expedient. Three cheers for the President who has used the controversy to remind Americans that this country was founded on (and Constitutionally enshrined in) the notion that all people have the right to practice their faith, free of government interference.

Had a Catholic Church or Jewish Synagogue announced their intention to open a community center near ground zero been met with equal hostility, the same grumblers would be irate if the President stood by and said nothing. Muslim Americans and any other believers that come under attack deserve an impassioned defense from our Commander in Chief.

For the first time in a long time, it has been career politicians, President Obama, Mayor Bloomberg, Governor Christie who have had the courage to speak up in the face of public criticism, but speak up they must. As Thomas Jefferson reminded Benjamin Rush in 1803, "It behooves every man who values liberty of conscience for himself, to resist invasions of it in the case of others; or their case may, by change of circumstances, become his own."

By Kathryn Kolbert

 |  August 24, 2010; 9:42 AM ET
Category:  Crisis leadership Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
Previous: Leaders need to involve themselves in crises | Next: Defending the diversity we cherish

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And yet, this site continues to NOT BE 2 BLOCKS AWAY ~ it instead persists like a stubborn sore to BE AT GROUND ZERO.

The Burlington Coat Factory building was the final resting spot for the undercarriage and one engine from the plane flown by Mohammad Atta into the WTC!

Those parts are sufficiently large that they swept along with them blood, gore, bodies, juices and so forth of the poor people working in the office space he most directly attacked.

We are speaking of a site of death ~ hallowed grounds where some essence of the blood of patriots remains.

And what is proposed here?

Nothing less than the final act ~ the total destruction of this building that Atta didn't quite attend to.

Then, the construction of a mosque on top that site.

Frankly, the people who SUPPORT this particular mosque project are GHOULISH ~ we, as Americans, tend to avoid messing with other folk's grave sites ~ and when we find such a thing ~ for example the early slave graveyard in Manhattan, we move it to a better place.

You'll not find these Moslem mosque builders propose any such thing. More than likely they'll be jacking the bricks and blocks out of this building as they tear it down and shipping them out to sell as souvenirs of 9/11 to wealthy Moslems.

Posted by: muawiyah | August 25, 2010 4:46 PM
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Ms. Kolbert,
It really gets tiresome repeating onseself in so many forums, but you obviously don't understand Islam. It is NOTHING like Christianity (although they claim similarities to seem like a peaceful people) or Catholicism! They are a government within themselves, and their "holy" book, the Qu'ran, tells them to OWN us. You'd do well to read a bit more on Islam before defending them.

Read http://www.amprpress.com/theology_of_islam.htm
(Yes, the grammer is incoherant, but the gisy is clear.)

...and...

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-465570/I-fanatic--I-know-thinking-says-radical-Islamist.html

Of particular interest is this fellow's statement, "...the real engine of our violence: Islamic theology."

Islam talks a big talk in regards to peace when confronted by those unlearned on the subject, but their intentions are clear, and it's about time we paid attention.

Posted by: flipper49 | August 25, 2010 10:27 AM
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As a journalist, you should know that you must look at the facts:

Fact #1

The Islamic cleric who wants to build a mosque two blocks from Ground Zero once claimed in a jaw-dropping speech that the United States has killed more innocent civilians than al Qaeda.

"We tend to forget, in the West, that the United States has more Muslim blood on its hands than al Qaeda has on its hands of innocent non-Muslims," Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf said in 2005.

You should do research by reading the Qur'an and studing Sharia law before you say "Muslim Americans and any other believers that come under attack deserve an impassioned defense from our Commander in Chief."

Posted by: tonyjm | August 24, 2010 2:34 PM
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Obama didn't exhibit leadership. He merely made a statement of fact about the constitutionally guaranteed right of religious freedom.

His remarks at the White House Islamic dinner have been misconstrued and the words he stated did not imply that building a mosque at ground zero was a good idea.

He should now just stay out of it. Keep government out of this controversy.

Posted by: Hazmat77 | August 24, 2010 1:38 PM
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