During a 24-hour span, President Barack Obama walked that line between American politics and American religion.
During Wednesday’s first-of-his-presidency visit to a mosque, Obama thanked Muslim Americans for their service to the country and acknowledged their concerns and fears of being targeted or blamed when terrorists strike.He assured Muslims — especially the young — that they fit in the American fabric, exhorting “You are not Muslim or American. You are Muslim and American.”
Thursday, Obama took advantage of the annual National Prayer Breakfast to press the mostly Christian audience to reject an underlying theme in the presidential campaign, saying “faith is the great cure for fear.”
The president’s high-wire act has drawn both praise and scorn.
At Baltimore Mosque, Obama Crushes the Muslim Haters
Dean Obeidallah – The Daily Beast
The two most powerful moments during President Obama’s first visit to an American mosque on Wednesday didn’t happen during his speech. Rather, they occurred in the moments before the President took the podium.
The first came when a color guard compromised of young Muslim American Boy and Girl scouts entered the venue. One of the older scouts told the flag bearer: “Proudly present the flag of the United States of America.”…
And the second moment that emotionally stood out was when the young African American Muslim woman, Sabah, introduced the President. Sabah spoke of the challenges of wearing a hijab—some had called her a terrorist. Yet she noted that far more of her fellow Americans of all backgrounds had been supportive. And then she delivered a passionate line that elicited huge applause from the crowd: “I’m proud to be American, I’m proud to be black, and I’m proud to be Muslim.”
Muslims Dismiss Obama’s Mosque Visit as #TooLateObama
Katie Reilly – Time
President Obama mounted a defense Wednesday of American Muslims who have found themselves under scrutiny amid the rise of ISIS, using his first visit to a mosque while in office to proclaim that “we are are one America family.”…
For many Muslims on social media, it was too little, too late. People using the #TooLateObama hashtag criticized Obama’s foreign policy, especially the escalation of drone strikes in Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia.
Obama to Visit a Mosque, and Wade Deeper into America’s War Over Islam
Stephen Prothero – CNN
It is impossible to predict how our Islam wars will turn out, but I believe that eventually our Muslim population will grow large enough and the American principle of liberty will resound loudly enough and Muslims will be included in the American family.
Why? Because we have run this gauntlet before.
Obama’s Mosque Speech was a Dangerous Fantasy
David Harsanyi – The Federalist
Many of the president’s ideas about “tolerance,” in fact, are antithetical to the American experience, not something to celebrate.
Acceptance of outsiders is an American virtue, yes. Do we have to embrace all ideas, as well? Obama has conflated tolerance of individuals and groups with tolerance of a select belief system — one that he demands be immune from criticism.
We certainly don’t want people attacking peaceful Muslims, but it’s irresponsible and intellectually obtuse to act as if the pervasive violence, misogyny, homophobia, child abuse, tyranny, anti-Semitism, bigotry against Christians, etc. that exists in large parts of Islamic society abroad has absolutely nothing to do with faith.