My 92-year-old dad believes that President Obama is a brother of ISIS and that he is a Muslim. He may be old, but his mind is sharp, so why does he think this? I blame extremist Sunday morning TV preachers, Fox News, and hate-talk radio. So Obama’s visit to the city of Baltimore next week will only further fuel many conservatives’ hatred toward our president.
What happened to respecting the office of the president, if not the man? I miss those days. President Obama knows how people like my dad feel about him. Yet, in spite of it, he is going to visit a mosque.
This will be his first official presidential visit to a mosque inside of the U.S., the White House announced Saturday. The visit is an attempt to promote religious tolerance, when a growing number of Americans believe that Islam is synonymous with terrorism.
The visit will happen Wednesday, when the president tours the Islamic Society of Baltimore in the city of Baltimore, Md. According to its website, the large community center serves thousands of individuals, and it includes schools, housing, and of course, the mosque. It describes itself:
‘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.’
‘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.’
A White House official e-mailed the “Washington Post,” saying the visit is:
‘…to 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 Islamic leaders from the city of Baltimore also asked for former president George W. Bush to join President Obama. Bush made news, when he went to the Islamic Cultural Center of Washington D.C. days after the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks.
While there, Bush said that “Islam is peace,” and “the face of terror is not the true faith of Islam.”
The Baltimore mosque has received a number of threats in the past few months, including a bomb threat. President Obama has made formal visits to mosques overseas, but never one in this country.
Farhana Khera, executive director of Muslim Advocates, a legal advocacy group, visited Obama’s aides last month:
‘I think it would be enormously comforting and also send a powerful message to Americans about recommitting to religious freedom — especially if we had Bush and Obama visit together.’
Featured Image: White House Photo
H/T: Washington Post