Yesterday, President Obama made his first visit to a U.S. mosque, speaking at the Islamic Society of Baltimore. He gave a stirring address that covered issues of religious persecution, stereotype, and discrimination, and called on all Americans to stand up against attacks on faith.
[I]f we’re serious about freedom of religion — and I’m speaking now to my fellow Christians who remain the majority in this country — we have to understand an attack on one faith is an attack on all our faiths. (Applause.) And when any religious group is targeted, we all have a responsibility to speak up. And we have to reject a politics that seeks to manipulate prejudice or bias, and targets people because of religion.
We’ve got to make sure that hate crimes are punished, and that the civil rights of all Americans are upheld. (Applause.) And just as faith leaders, including Muslims, must speak out when Christians are persecuted around the world — (applause) — or when anti-Semitism is on the rise — because the fact is, is that there are Christians who are targeted now in the Middle East, despite having been there for centuries, and there are Jews who’ve lived in places like France for centuries who now feel obliged to leave because they feel themselves under assault –sometimes by Muslims. We have to be consistent in condemning hateful rhetoric and violence against everyone. (Applause.) And that includes against Muslims here in the United States of America. (Applause.)
So none of us can be silent. We can’t be bystanders to bigotry. And together, we’ve got to show that America truly protects all faiths.
Read the whole thing or watch it in this video from the White House: