WASHINGTON — President Obama on Wednesday embraced Muslims in the United States as part of “one American family” and implicitly criticized the Republican presidential candidates in a warning to citizens to not be “bystanders to bigotry.”
In a visit to the Islamic Society of Baltimore, his first to a mosque in the United States as president, Mr. Obama recited phrases from the Quran and praised American Muslims as a crucial part of America’s history and vital to the nation’s future.
“And so if 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,” Mr. Obama said.
Although Mr. Obama never mentioned Republican presidential candidates like Donald J. Trump, who has called for a temporary ban on Muslims entering the United States, the targets in his remarks were clear. “We have to reject a politics that seeks to manipulate prejudice or bias, and targets people because of religion,” he said.
The speech served as a bookend to a 2009 address Mr. Obama delivered at Cairo University, where he called for “a new beginning between the United States and Muslims around the world.” In Baltimore, the president did not talk about intractable international conflicts like the Israeli-Palestinian dispute and focused instead on the more prosaic reality of vandalized mosques and bullied American Muslim children.