President Barack Obama visited an American mosque for the first time during his presidency today to decry Islamophobia and says that Islam does not promote violence. Rather, the “radical, tiny, minority” of Muslims terrorists have perverted the faith to make it violent. President Obama says we should thank Muslim members of the American community for their contributions.
Obama seemingly calls out GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump as well, saying he has recently “heard inexcusable political rhetoric against Muslim-Americans that has no place in our country.” This jab is likely at Trump, who says we need to ban Muslims from entering the country until we can get a better background checking system to ensure those entering our country are not terrorists.
The Daily Mail reports that President Barack Obama visited his first American mosque at the Islamic Society of Baltimore. Obama has visited mosques in other countries, but this marks the first time he has visited a mosque here in the United States during his presidency. Obama took to the mosque to call out rhetoric that he says has “no place in our country,” as anti-Muslim rhetoric is “inexcusable,” according to the POTUS.
To honor the traditions in the mosque, President Barack Obama removed his shoes before entering the religious building and was seen walking into the room in just his socks. He also stood at the podium without his shoes throughout his speech.
As the president took the podium to speak in front of the Muslim-American crowd, his staff members and White House officials in attendance were greeted to seats that were outfitted with a Quran.
During his speech at the Baltimore mosque, President Barack Obama noted that there is “no place” for Islamophobia in our country and decried the “inexcusable” political rhetoric regarding terrorism and the Muslim community. Obama’s jab appeared to be directed towards Donald Trump, but he did not name any names during the speech.
Obama also took the time to thank the Muslim-American community for their contributions to society and says that they don’t hear “thank you” enough. He says Muslims help keep America a strong, united country and noted that an attack on the Muslim faith in America is an “attack on all faiths.”
“We have to understand: An attack on one faith is an attack on all our faiths.”
He goes on to say that there is a “distorted” view of Muslims in America due to dangerous rhetoric and that extremists should not be “legitimized” with rhetoric that calls them Muslims.
“Since 9/11, but more recently since the attacks in Paris and San Bernardino, you have seen too often people conflating the horrific acts of terrorism with the beliefs of an entire faith. We must never give them that legitimacy. They’re not defending Islam. The vast majority of the people they kill are innocent Muslim men, women and children.”
What do you think about President Barack Obama’s visit to the American mosque? Do you agree with his assessment that the Quran and Muslims are not promoting violence but rather a small minority of extremists?
[Photo by Martinez Monsivais/AP]