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Endorsing constitution not the mosque at ground zero: Obama

world Updated: Aug 30, 2010 09:57 IST

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The US President Barack Obama has reiterated that he is endorsing the core value enshrined in the American constitution on religious freedom and not the proposed mosque at ground zero.

"What I said was I was not endorsing any particular project. I was endorsing our Constitution. And what is right," Obama told the NBC news in an interview when asked about his recent statements about the Ground Zero mosque in the New York City.

"Well, look, I think my statement at the Iftar dinner in the White House was very clear. And that is that if you can build a church on that site. If you can build a synagogue on that site or a Hindu Temple on that site, then we can't treat people of the Islamic faith differently, who are Americans, who are American citizens," he said, adding "that is central to who we are. That is a core value of our Constitution."

Obama said that as a President his job was to uphold the US Constitution.

The President said, he thinks that the media anticipating that this was going to be a firestorm politically, seemed to think that somehow there was inconsistency and there wasn't.

"I was very specific to my team and will be very specific to you now. That the core value and principle that every American is treated the same. That doesn't change," he asserted.

"At this Iftar dinner I had — Muslim Americans who had been in uniform fighting in Iraq. Some of whom have served over 20 years. How can you say to them that somehow their religious faith is less worthy of respect under our Constitution and our system of government?

"You know, that's something that I feel very strongly about. I respect the feelings on the other side. I would defend their right to express them just as fiercely," Obama said.