In an attempt to ease tensions between many Americans and American Muslims, President Obama will make his first visit as president to a United States Mosque. The news came over the weekend, as Republicans are sure to pounce on the story and sell it to their base.
Ever since the attacks on 9/11 at the hands of Islamic terrorists, American Muslims have often felt under attack by those who question their faith. With the rise of the Islamic State (ISIS) over the last two years, that fear within Muslim communities has only grown. As reported by The Washington Post on Jan. 30, Obama will try to bridge the gap.
Obama is scheduled to appear at the Islamic Society of Baltimore this Wednesday, just 24 hours after the Iowa caucus that has dominated the news media. In an email released by the White House on Saturday, Obama’s visit is in part “to celebrate the contributions Muslim Americans make to our nation and reaffirm the importance of religious freedom to our way of life.” The president has spoken out repeatedly in the past, pleading for Americans to resist “Islamphobia.”
“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.”
In response to Obama’s decision to attend the Islamic Society of Baltimore, the right wing media has already fired back. The conservative Drudge Report tweeted “Extremist ties?” with a link to an article from the Daily Caller that claims the mosque is tied to possible extremism. Republican candidates have yet to offer their opinion, but if history is any inclination, it’s likely that they will be critical. Republican front runner Donald Trump made headlines in late 2015 when he called for a ban on Muslims from entering the country.