Last week, Barack Obama, the US president, communicated his support for the building of a mosque two blocks away from Ground Zero in New York, saying: "Muslims have the same right to practice their religion as everyone else in this country."

This seemed harmless enough until he found out that over two-thirds of the US disagreed with him.

Chastened, Obama went off-message to control the political damage, saying: "I was not commenting and I will not comment on the wisdom of making the decision to put a mosque [there]."

On this episode of Inside Story we ask: How much of an impact are upcoming elections having on Obama and are Muslims in the US being treated fairly?

Joining us to discuss this are: Brad Blakeman, a Republican strategist; Barry Lynn, the executive director of Americans United for Separation of Church and State; and Ibrahim Hooper, a spokesperson for the Council on American-Islamic Relations.

This episode of Inside Story aired on Tuesday, August 17, 2010.

Source: Al Jazeera