In an August 16, 2010 column in the London daily Al-Sharq Al-Awsat, 'Abd Al-Rahman Al-Rashed, Al-Arabiya TV director-general and the paper's former editor, criticized President Obama for supporting the construction of the Cordoba House mosque at Ground Zero in New York. He stated that it would be unwise to construct a mosque at that location, saying that no practicing Muslims live in the area, and that the mosque would become a focal point for both the supporters of terrorism and the champions of Islamophobia. Therefore, he argued, it would be preferable for Obama to throw his support behind issues that are of real concern for the Muslims, such as promoting Middle East peace.
Following are excerpts from the column:
"U.S. President Barack Obama took a difficult position when he supported the construction of a mosque on a site where 3,000 U.S. citizens were killed by Al-Qaeda terrorists on September 11, 2001. Though the president's position was correct in principle, that is, in terms of the principle of freedom of worship, I think he took a political stand [on an issue] that is unnecessary and unimportant, even for the Muslims. This mosque is not an issue for Muslims, and they do not care about its construction.
"This reminds us of another principled stance that Obama took when he insisted that suspected Al-Qaeda members incarcerated in Guantanamo be tried in civilian [rather than military] courts, and that the [Guantanamo] military prison be closed down. This stance [also] is certainly a worthy one. However, the fact is that [Obama] fought a battle that does not concern Muslims across the world, because tens of thousands of Muslims, likewise accused of extremism, are imprisoned in [even] worse conditions in the Muslim countries.
"Muslims do not [really] yearn [to build] a mosque near the 9/11 cemetery, nor do they care whether bin Laden's cook is tried in a civilian court [or a military one]. Muslims are concerned about issues that involve the destinies of [entire] peoples... such as the establishment of the Palestinian state. If Obama focuses his energy and efforts on fighting for peace in the Middle East, this will be [far] more important and valuable than [his stance in favor of] the New York mosque...
"The [Ground Zero] mosque... is a strange affair, because it is not an issue [that concerns] the Muslims. [In fact,] we never even heard of it until it became the focus of vociferous arguments between supporters and objectors, most of them non-Muslim Americans!...
"The Muslims never asked for this [mosque], and even the angry Muslims do not want it. This is one of the few times when the two opposing sides are in agreement. Nevertheless, the dispute flared up. It made the front pages of newspapers and [featured on] the major television programs. Demonstrations were held in the streets, and large posters were plastered on New York buses, demanding that the construction of the mosque be prevented and reminding everyone of the 9/11 crime. This really is a strange battle!
"I can't imagine that Muslims [actually] want a mosque at this particular location, because it will become an arena for the promoters of hatred, and a monument to those who committed the crime. Moreover, there are no practicing Muslims in the area who need a place to worship, because it is a commercial district. Is there anyone who is [really] eager [to build] this mosque?...
"Those pushing to build this mosque may be construction companies, architect firms, or political groups who want to exploit this issue. The individual who submitted the building application – I do not know whether he [really] wants [to build] a mosque that will promote reconciliation, or whether he is [just] an investor looking for quick profits. Because the idea of a mosque right next to a site of destruction is not at all an intelligent one. The last thing Muslims want today is to build a religious center that provokes others, or a symbolic mosque that people will visit as a [kind of] museum next to a cemetery.
"What the citizens of the U.S. fail to understand is that the battle against the 9/11 terrorists is not their battle. It is a Muslim battle – one whose flames are still raging in more than 20 Muslim countries... I do not think that the majority of Muslims want to build a monument or a place of worship that tomorrow may become a source of pride for the terrorists and their Muslim followers, nor do they want a mosque that will become a shrine for the haters of Islam... This has already started to happen: [the Islamophobes] are claiming that a mosque is being built over the corpses of 3,000 U.S. citizens who were buried alive by people chanting 'Allah akbar' – the same call that will be heard from the mosque..."
 Al-Sharq Al-Awsat (London), August 16, 2010.