The Florida pastor who inflamed the debate over construction of an Islamic center near Ground Zero in Manhattan faded from public view, but anger simmered during a weekend marked by a memorial for 9/11 victims and dueling protests near the site of the proposed project.

Protesters from both sides of the divide filled the area around the Islamic center's site on Saturday amid services commemorating the ninth anniversary of the 2001 attacks. Pastor Terry Jones's campaign and the protests have served to draw a spotlight to the growing debate about religious tolerance in the U.S.

President Barack Obama on Saturday alluded to the tensions. Speaking at the Pentagon, he said Americans "are not—and never will be—at war with Islam. It was not a religion that attacked us that September day. It was al Qaeda, a sorry band of men which perverts religion."

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