President Obama is making his first official visit to a United States mosque on Wednesday. The nation’s leader is delivering remarks at a mosque located in Baltimore.
According to NPR, President Obama’s mosque visit will include a roundtable with Muslim community members. It’s intention is to “reaffirm the importance of religious freedom” to life in America, the White House reveals. He’s paid visits to mosques in other countries, but not in the United States.
Obama’s visit at the U.S. mosque will take place at the Islamic Society of Baltimore. It’s there that he’s expected to deliver a message that rejecting bigotry is a fundamental American value. He’s making a point to highlight religious tolerance.
The president’s speech at the mosque is one of several religiously-themed visits he’s making in the next few months.
— CNN Newsroom (@CNNnewsroom) February 3, 2016
“He is set to speak to the nation’s Christian leaders at the annual National Prayer Breakfast on Thursday, and last week warned against the rise of religious intolerance during a ceremony at the Israeli Embassy,” according to the AP.
NPR reports that more people as a whole would like the next president to steer clear of criticizing Islam in general. 50 percent feel this way while 40 percent prefer a bold stand against the religion even if it involves criticism.
When George W. Bush spoke out against terrorism after the 9/11 attacks, he was careful not to generalize all Muslims.
“The face of terror is not the true faith of Islam,” Bush said. “That’s not what Islam is all about. Islam is peace.”
President Obama visiting a U.S. mosque is undoubtedly drawing criticism as well. Many argue he leads a divisive administration and isn’t firm enough against radical Islam.