Obama to Make First Trip to American Mosque
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On Saturday, the White House announced President Obama will make his first trip to visit an American mosque.
The President will tour the Islamic Society of Baltimore and meet with religious leaders to promote “religious tolerance”:
On Wednesday, the president will visit the Islamic Society of Baltimore, a sprawling community center in the city’s western suburbs that serves thousands of people with a place of worship, a housing complex and schools, according to its website. It is one of the Mid-Atlantic region’s largest Muslim centers and describes itself as aspiring “to be the anchor of a growing Muslim community with diverse backgrounds, democratically governed, relating to one another with inclusiveness and tolerance, and interacting with neighbors in an Islamic exemplary manner.”
A White House official wrote in an email that Obama will “celebrate the contributions Muslim Americans make to our nation and reaffirm the importance of religious freedom to our way of life”:
“The President believes that one of our nation’s greatest strengths is our rich diversity and the very idea that Americans of different faiths and backgrounds can thrive together – that we’re all part of the same American family. As the President has said, Muslim Americans are our friends, and neighbors; our co-workers, and sports heroes – and our men and women in uniform defending our country.”
The President will hold a roundtable discussion with community members, according to officials.
The Washington Post writes that “Islamophobia” has been an issue for some time, but has intensified as “Republican lawmakers and presidential candidates began calling for a halt to refugees” from the Middle East after terrorist attacks in Paris and San Bernardino, California, late last year.
Obama spoke out against the mythical “Islamophobia” in his January State of the Union speech:
“When politicians insult Muslims, whether abroad or our fellow citizens, when a mosque is vandalized, or a kid bullied, that doesn’t make us safer. That’s not telling it like it is. It’s just wrong. It diminishes us in the eyes of the world. It makes it harder to achieve our goals. It betrays who we are as a country.”