New York - United States President Barack Obama will reportedly visit a mosque for the first time since he was elected president nearly eight years ago.
New York – United States President Barack Obama will reportedly visit a mosque for the first time since he was elected president nearly eight years ago.
The White House announced on Saturday that President Obama will visit the Islamic Society of Baltimore on Wednesday
According to a White House official statement, President Obama will address members of the Islamic Society in Maryland concerning the right of all Americans to religious freedom and to practice their religion without interference.
“On Wednesday, February 3rd, the President will travel to Maryland to visit the Islamic Society of Baltimore Mosque to celebrate the contributions Muslim Americans make to our nation and reaffirm the importance of religious freedom to our way of life,” the statement read.
The Obama Administration has been known for its defense, respect and appreciation of the true values of Islam and support for Muslim Americans.
“The President will hold a roundtable with community members and deliver remarks, where he will reiterate the importance of staying true to our core values — welcoming our fellow Americans, speaking out against bigotry, rejecting indifference, and protecting our nation’s tradition of religious freedom,” the statement added.
This visit to a place of worship of the Muslim community in the U.S. comes at a time when Republican presidential candidates, such as Donald Trump have pushed their campaigns using anti-Muslim rhetoric and fear mongering that are contributing to an increase in hate crimes.
Obama has always stood up for religious freedom. He has made it clear that acts of terrorists do not represent the values of Islam or any other religions and that all Muslims should not be lumped together in the same category as terrorists.
According to the Washington Post, Obama has previously visited mosques overseas, such as the National Mosque of Malaysia in Kuala Lumpur in April 2014, and the Sultan Hassan Mosque in Cairo, Egypt in 2009, along with former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. However, this will be the first time Obama will visit a mosque in the United States.
The Islamic Society of Baltimore is one of the Mid-Atlantic’s largest Muslim centers, described on its website as 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.”
During his Final State of the Union Address delivered earlier this month, Obama spoke about bigotry and violence toward the Muslim community and reminded the American people that such behavior “betrays” the values of the U.S.
“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.”