US does not suppress Islam: Obama

Washington, Feb 4: Terming the recent anti-Muslim rhetoric in the US poll campaign as “inexcusable”, President Barack Obama has said the best way to fight terrorism is to show that the US does not suppress Islam.

“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, Maryland.

In his first visit to a mosque in the US, Obama yesterday referred to the recent political rhetoric against Muslims in the country, where Christians are in majority, and said Americans cannot be silent bystanders to bigotry against any faith.

“An attack on one faith is an attack on all our faiths,” Obama said as he mentioned the recent attacks against the Muslim community and also cited assaults on Sikh Americans who look like them.

Americans must speak up when any group is targeted. We have to respect the fact that we have freedom of religion,” Obama said.

“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,” the US President said.

Referring to the recent attacks on Muslim Americans, Obama said since 9/11, but more recently since the attacks in Paris and San Bernardino, they have seen too often people conflating the horrific acts of terrorism with the beliefs of an entire faith.

“And, of course, 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,” he said in a veiled jibe at Republican White House hopeful Donald Trump and others.

During his campaign, Trump called for a ban on Muslims entering the Us, triggering sharp reactions.

In another apparent reference to recent political rhetoric, he 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,” Obama 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, that, “you are not Muslim or American. You are Muslim and American.”

Obama also urged the Muslim community to reject extremism and terrorism. Pushing back at critics who say he should talk about “Islamic terrorists”.