I have a feeling that President Obama’s visit to a Maryland mosque this week was kind of too little, too late (“In mosque visit, Obama decries anti-Muslim bias,” Feb. 4). It is ironic that while Obama is sending drones to kill Muslims abroad, an Islamophobe like Donald Trump only calls for banning them.
Republicans think Muslims just don’t fit here. Obama, on the other hand, thinks Muslims fit just fine right here in America, once they make it into the country alive. “Let me say as clearly as I can as president of the United States: You fit right here,” Obama assured thousands of Muslim Americans at the Islamic Society of Baltimore who came to listen to the first black president of the U.S. This probably was not the first time Obama had visited a mosque. His father was a Muslim, which has been a scar that has followed him all of his life.
According to a September CNN poll, 29 percent of Americans believe Obama is a Muslim, including 43 percent of Republicans. Obama joked about such notions in his mosque visit, saying the same rumors had stained Thomas Jefferson. “I am not the first,” he said. “I am in good company.”
Americans have a medieval view of mosques; many seem terrified of mosques. Most mosques in this country were at some point churches or schools that closed down. Very few mosques are actually built as mosques.
A big chunk of Americans who have never visited a mosque think mosques are breeding grounds for terrorist jihadists. Mosques, unlike churches, have no membership or denomination. Any group or imam can open a mosque. If you don’t like a mosque, you simply go to another one or build your own.