Do not supress Islam, says Obama as he visits mosque

RSTV Bureau
Baltimore  :  President Barack Obama meets with members of Muslim-American community at the Islamic Society of Baltimore, Wednesday, Feb. 3, 2016, in Baltimore, Md. Obama is making 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.AP/PTI

Baltimore : President Barack Obama meets with members of Muslim-American community at the Islamic Society of Baltimore, Wednesday, Feb. 3, 2016, in Baltimore, Md. Obama is making 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.AP/PTI

US President Barack Obama has appealed to his countrymen to not supress Islam. This, he said after he visited a mosque in the US for the first time.

“The best way to fight terrorism is to show the US does not suppress Islam and refute lies to the contrary,” Obama said in his historic address to Muslim community from a mosque in Baltimore in Maryland.

The President also called the recent anti-Muslim rhetoric in the poll campaign as “inexcusable”.

“Recently we’ve heard inexcusable political rhetoric against Muslim-Americans that has no place in our country. No surprise, then, that threats and harassment of Muslim-Americans have surged,” Obama said in a direct attack on Republican White House hopeful Donald Trump who had called for a ban on Muslims entering the US.

“An attack on one faith is an attack on all our faiths… Americans must speak up when any group is targeted. We have to respect the fact that we have freedom of religion,” Obama said as he mentioned the recent attacks against the Muslim community and also cited assaults on Sikh Americans.

“I know that in Muslim communities across our country this is a time of concern and, frankly, a time of some fear. Like all Americans, you’re worried about the threat of terrorism, but on top of that, as Muslim-Americans, you also have another concern, and that is your entire community so often is targeted or blamed for the violent acts of the very few,” he added.

Obama also opposed the idea of religious profiling.

“We can’t give in to profiling entire groups of people because there is no single profile of a terrorist. Engagement with Muslim Americans communities must never be a cover for surveillance,” he said.

“As we go forward, I want every Muslim American to remember that…your fellow Americans stand with you,” Obama said and assured the young Muslim Americans, by adding, “you are not Muslim or American. You are Muslim and American.”

In his address, Obama also urged the Muslim community to reject extremism and terrorism.

(With inputs from agencies)