Amid growing anti-Muslim rhetoric in the US poll campaign, President Barack Obama’s visit to a US mosque for the first time during his presidency is aimed at assuring the large Muslim-American community of their religious freedom, according to a top White House official.
“I think the President is quite interested in making sure that we’re affirming the important role that Muslims play in our diverse American society, and certainly affirming their right to worship God in a way that’s consistent with their heritage,” White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest told reporters yesterday.
Obama is expected to spend several hours at a mosque in Baltimore, near the American capital, during which he would hold talks with eminent American-Muslim leaders and listen to their grievances if any.
“They (Muslims) shouldn’t be subject to ridicule or targeting by anybody, let alone somebody who aspires to leading the country,” Earnest said on the eve of the first visit of the US President to a mosque in the country.
“It certainly true that we’ve seen an alarming willingness on the part of some Republicans to try to marginalise law-abiding, patriotic Muslim Americans,” Earnest said.
Earnest highlighted that Obama has talked a lot about how important it is for the government to have an effective partnership with leaders in the Muslim community.
“We know that there are extremist organisations like ISIL that are seeking to use social media to radicalise vulnerable members of the population,” he said.
Certainly the leaders in the Muslim community have a strong interest in preventing that from happening, Earnest said.