Obama, in mosque visit, says an attack on Islam is an attack on all faiths

Published: February 4, 2016
US President Barack Obama speaks at the Islamic Society of Baltimore mosque in Catonsville, Maryland. PHOTO: AFP

US President Barack Obama speaks at the Islamic Society of Baltimore mosque in Catonsville, Maryland. PHOTO: AFP

BALTIMORE: US President Barack Obama on Wednesday slammed what he called “inexcusable” anti-Muslim rhetoric in the political sphere — a veiled jibe at Republican White House hopeful Donald Trump and others.

“Recently we’ve heard inexcusable political rhetoric against Muslim-Americans that has no place in our country,” Obama told the members of the Islamic Society of Baltimore during his first visit to a US mosque while in office.

Obama makes first trip to US mosque

He lauded Muslim-Americans who were sports heroes, entrepreneurs and the architect behind the skyscrapers of Chicago. Trump had recently called for a ban on all Muslims entering the United States.

On Wednesday, Obama said: “An attack on one faith is an attack on all our faiths.” He also criticised the media and Hollywood, which he said portray Muslims in a narrow way.

“Our television shows should have Muslim characters that are unrelated to national security,” he said.

Obama restated his case that organisations like the Islamic State group pervert Islam and do not represent the vast majority of Muslims.

Obama slams ‘inexcusable’ anti-Muslim political rhetoric

The president offered “two words that Muslim-Americans don’t hear often enough, and that is thank you,” saying they help unite the country in “one American family” and called them ‘resilient’ and ‘patriotic’. But he also called on Muslims to help tackle radicalisation. “How do we defend ourselves against organisations that are bent on killing innocents?” he asked.

“It can’t be the work of any one faith alone. It can’t be just a burden on the Muslim community, although the Muslim community has to play a role.” “We can’t give in to profiling entire groups of people because there is no single profile of a terrorist,” he said adding that engagement with a community cannot be used as a cover for surveillance.

Obama had visited mosques in Malaysia, Indonesia and Egypt as president, but this was his first visit to one of America’s 2,000-plus places of Islamic worship. 

Published in The Express Tribune, February 4th, 2016.

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Reader Comments (11)

  • Mohammad
    Feb 4, 2016 - 10:26AM

    America is going to miss such a graceful president. Recommend

  • Ali khan
    Feb 4, 2016 - 10:58AM

    This is a very kind gesture from Obama. I know many American muslim friends who are happy with his attitude towards Islam and Muslims, especially in the face of hate mongering by Trump and other Republicans after terrorists attacks. US muslims feel quite secured under Obama. But very few in Pakistan would show moral courage to utter a word of appreciation for him (not even for solidarity with US muslims), particularly those whose politics revolve around Islam and anti-Americanism.Recommend

  • Aftab
    Feb 4, 2016 - 11:22AM

    Whenever Obama talks, he seems more miture and sensible person. He is the true reprensentative of American dream. Guys like Donald Triump are just narrow minded persons whose thoughts belong to a stone ages.Recommend

  • Mohammad
    Feb 4, 2016 - 12:42PM

    watch the full address on youtube, you will be surprised to see the things supposed to be said by the Muslim leaders are being said by President Obama. Recommend

  • Amit Lunia
    Feb 5, 2016 - 1:19PM

    Yes it is a learning for Islam also that all faiths have right to coexistsRecommend

  • Sam
    Feb 5, 2016 - 7:01PM

    Obama is the guy who gave billions to the Syrian rebels thinking they would help him defeat Assad. Those Syrian rebels went on to form ISIS who have killed and raped Muslims and non-Muslims in the Syria-Iraq region. He had a mandate to cool things down in the Middle East. Instead he set fire to the whole region and the fallout is the hatred against Islam. His policies & actions have created Trump. Obama created the hatred and then he pretends to be the good guy – for what ? Votes for the democrats! How naïve Muslims can be!Recommend

  • Breaking Bad
    Feb 6, 2016 - 12:41AM

    The visit had nothing to do with Islam. It was for upcoming elections.Recommend

  • ajeet
    Feb 6, 2016 - 9:06AM

    Barak Hussein Obama is supporting his own religion, which is behind most of the bloodshed in this world.Recommend

  • observer
    Feb 6, 2016 - 11:06PM

    More appeasement by Obama. Why didn’t he ask the Muslims worldwide to take responsibility and weed out radicalism, extremism, bigotry and terrorism that their communities are breeding instead of living in denial and blaming others for imagined “Islamophobia”?Recommend

  • someone
    Feb 7, 2016 - 8:56PM

    When Rome was burning , ceaser was playing flute. You sound pretty much same Mr. Obama.Recommend

  • AA
    Feb 12, 2016 - 6:42AM

    He can say this because he does not have to run for re-election.Recommend

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