CNN's Lemon suggests "considering the circumstances" and moving mosque "10, 20 blocks" from Ground Zero


From the 10 pm ET hour of the August 15 edition of CNN Newsroom:

Loading the player reg...

DON LEMON (ANCHOR): Mr. Patel, how did you view the President's comments on Friday?

EBOO PATEL (EXEC. DIR., INTERFAITH YOUTH CORE): You know, we expect our leaders in America to stand up for our highest principles and one of the highest principles of America is that we're a nation of people from different backgrounds living in equal dignity and mutual loyalty. Presidents from Washington and Jefferson to Clinton and Bush have stood up for that. President Obama stood up for that as well, and I applaud him for that.

LEMON: This situation, though, don't you think it's a bit different considering what happened on 9/11? And the people behind this mosque have said that there is a need for it in lower Manhattan. So that's why it's being built there.

What about 10, 20 blocks, midtown Manhattan, and considering the circumstances behind this. That's not understandable to you?

PATEL: Don, you know, in America, we don't tell people based on their race or ethnicity or religion that they are free in this place but not that place, that they're free here and not there.

LEMON: I understand but there's always context. Mr. Patel, there's always context.

PATEL: Sure Don--

LEMON: I don't think anyone is saying against -- against religious freedom or the freedom of expression or any of that. But there's always context.

This is an extraordinary circumstance, and you understand that it is very heated. Many people lost their loved ones on 9/11. And if --

PATEL: Including Muslim Americans who lost their loved ones.

LEMON: -- if building the mosque is going to cause a controversy like this, when it's supposed to be building relations between Christians, Jews, Muslims, Americans, it seems to be doing the exact opposite. So just considering the context here; that's what I'm talking about.

PATEL: Don, I have to tell you, this seems to me a little bit like telling black people 50 years ago, you can sit anywhere on the bus you like, but just not the front.

LEMON: I don't think --

PATEL: This is about George Washington--

LEMON: I don't think that black people were behind a terrorist plot to kill people and drive planes into a building.

BROWN: That's right.

LEMON: That's a completely different circumstance.

PATEL: And American Muslims were not behind the terrorist plot either.

LEMON: OK. Go ahead, Mr. Brown.

PATEL: The vile terrorists who -- the vile terrorists who attacked the United States on 9/11 deserve one name and one name alone, and that is vile terrorists.

And the American Muslims who are police officers and firefighters, who coach Little League and serve on the PTA deserve another name, an honored name. And that is fellow American.

Don Lemon
CNN Newsroom
We've changed our commenting system to Disqus.
Instructions for signing up and claiming your comment history are located here.
Updated rules for commenting are here.