Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Obama, in mosque visit, denounces anti-Muslim bias (w/video)

WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama reached out to Muslims in the United States on Wednesday in an impassioned speech, embracing them as part of "one American family," implicitly criticizing the Republican presidential candidates and warning citizens not to be "bystanders to bigotry.''

In a visit to the Islamic Society of Baltimore, his first to a mosque in the United States as president, Obama recited phrases from the Koran and he praised U.S. Muslims as a crucial part of America's history and vital to the nation's future.

"If we're serious about freedom of religion — and I'm talking to my fellow Christians who are the majority in this country — we have to understand that an attack on one faith is an attack on all faiths," he said.

Although Obama never mentioned Republican presidential candidates like Donald Trump and Ben Carson, the targets of his remarks were clear. "We have to reject a politics that seeks to manipulate bigotry," Obama said.

He said that too many Americans heard about Islam only after terrorist attacks, and that this must change. "Our television shows should have some Muslim characters that are unrelated to national security," he said. "It's not that hard to do. There was a time when there was no black people on television."

Obama said anyone who suggested that the United States was at war with Islam not only legitimized such groups as the Islamic State but also played into their hands. "That kind of mindset helps our enemies," he said. "It helps our enemies recruit. It makes us all less safe."

For Obama, the remarks were an implicit admission of how little progress has been made since he opened his presidency with a 2009 speech he delivered in Cairo that sought to reach out to the world's Muslims by calling for "a sustained effort to listen to each other, to learn from each other, to respect one another, and to seek common ground."

On Wednesday, the president said, "Islam has always been a part of America." To young Muslims, he said: "You fit in here, right here. You're right where you belong. You're part of America, too. You aren't Muslim or American. You are Muslim and American."

President Barack Obama greets attendees in an overflow room Wednesday after speaking at the Islamic Society of Baltimore. It was his first visit to a mosque in the United States as president.

New York Times

President Barack Obama greets attendees in an overflow room Wednesday after speaking at the Islamic Society of Baltimore. It was his first visit to a mosque in the United States as president.

Obama, in mosque visit, denounces anti-Muslim bias (w/video) 02/03/16 [Last modified: Wednesday, February 3, 2016 9:12pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

Copyright: For copyright information, please check with the distributor of this item, New York Times.
    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Video: Rays Souza on that oh-so-bad dive, and reaction from Twins fans

    Blogs

    What was Rays RF Steven Souza Jr. thinking when he made that oh-so-bad dive for a ball in the seventh inning Friday? Well, we'll let him tell you ...

  2. What was Rays RF Steven Souza Jr. thinking on that comically bad dive?

    Blogs

    What could Rays RF Steven Souza Jr. been thinking in the seventh inning Friday when he dove for a ball and came up yards short?

    Actually, he insisted after all the laughing, teasing and standing ovation from the Twins fans was done, it was a matter of self-preservation.

  3. Judge tosses life sentences for D.C. sniper Lee Boyd Malvo

    Nation

    McLEAN, Va. — A federal judge on Friday tossed out two life sentences for one of Virginia's most notorious criminals, sniper Lee Boyd Malvo, and ordered Virginia courts to hold new sentencing hearings.

    A federal judge has tossed out two life sentences for D.C. sniper shooter Lee Boyd Malvo. [Associated Press, 2004]
  4. Zbigniew Brzezinski, President Carter's national security adviser, dies

    News

    Zbigniew Brzezinski, the hawkish strategic theorist who was national security adviser to President Jimmy Carter in the tumultuous years of the Iran hostage crisis and the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in the late 1970s, died on Friday at a hospital in Virginia. He was 89.

    Zbigniew Brzezinski, former national security adviser to President Jimmy Carter, participates in Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on Capitol Hill on March 5, 2009, in Washington, D.C. [Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images]
  5. USF eliminated by UCF in AAC baseball; Florida, FSU, Miami win

    Colleges

    CLEARWATER — Roughly 16 hours after a ninth-inning collapse against East Carolina in the American Athletic Conference's double-elimination baseball tournament, USF returned to Spectrum Field presumably set for a reboot.

    It simply got booted instead.

    ’NOLES win: Tyler Holton gets a hug from Drew Carlton after his strong eight innings help Florida State beat Louisville.