International

In a first, President Obama to visit mosque in the U.S.

Barack Obama touring the Sultan Hassan Mosque in Cairo, Egypt, with U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, Iman Abdel Fateh (to his left) and Dr. Zahi Hawass.

Barack Obama touring the Sultan Hassan Mosque in Cairo, Egypt, with U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, Iman Abdel Fateh (to his left) and Dr. Zahi Hawass.   | Photo Credit: Gerald Herbert

more-in

U.S. President Barack Obama’s was scheduled to make his first visit to a U.S. mosque at a time Muslim-Americans say they’re confronting increasing levels of bias in speech and deeds.

Mr. Obama was to visit the Islamic Society of Baltimore on Wednesday. Its campus contains a mosque and school that runs from kindergarten through 12th grade.

The White House said he will focus on the need to speak out against bigotry and reject indifference. It’s the kind of effort that Muslim-Americans said they’ve been waiting for from America’s political and religious leaders.

“For some time, we’ve been asking for pushback. Perhaps this will start a trend,” said Ibrahim Hooper, a spokesman for the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR).

CAIR has tracked a growing number of attacks on mosques and on individuals in the months following the Paris terrorist attack and the shooting rampage in San Bernardino, California. A severed pig’s head was delivered to a mosque’s doorstep in Philadelphia. Someone attempted to set fire to a mosque in Southern California.

In June 2009, just five months into his presidency, Mr. Obama toured the Sultan Hassan mosque during a visit to Cairo. In a speech at Cairo University, he declared that the U.S. would never be at war with Islam. “America and Islam are not exclusive,” he said, and share “common principles of justice and progress, tolerance and the dignity of all human beings.”

Attendees at the Baltimore mosque are predominantly of Turkish heritage, although immigrants of other nationalities also participate, said Akbar Ahmed, an Islamic studies specialist at American University who has researched mosques around the U.S.

Mr. Ahmed said the visit will be reassuring to U.S. Muslims amid the heightened rhetoric of the 2016 presidential campaign. “The President going there means he hasn’t forgotten us,” Mr. Ahmed said.

Why you should pay for quality journalism - Click to know more

null
Related Topics World International
Recommended for you
This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor

Printable version | Dec 11, 2019 6:14:13 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/in-a-first-president-obama-to-visit-mosque-in-the-us/article8189937.ece

Next Story