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Commentary

Obama's visit to mosque is welcome and reassuring

By Editorial Desk
05th-Feb-2016       
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President Barack Obama's visit to a Baltimore mosque and addressing the Muslims in the United States as part of "one American family" broke a new horizon in the inter community relations when divisiveness and hatred against Muslims in America are poisoning the environment. Particularly the call for a ban on entering Muslims in the United States by a Republican presidential hopeful renewed the hate campaign in recent past and his visit to mosque is seen as a counter to such anti-Muslim campaign.
Meanwhile, media reports and TV shows are routinely exploiting attack on a San Bernardino gathering in Calif. by a Muslin couple that killed 14 and left as many others injured, the Paris attack killing 130 and September 11, 2001 attack on the USA making American Muslims more vulnerable to growing suspicion.  
Vandalizing of their mosques is also on the rise at a time when the US President decided to take a visit to a mosque to stem the tide. 
In fact the indiscriminate hate campaign in the West against the Muslims is pushing many young people to become militant, although they come from peaceful and educated families and aspire to become worthy citizens. Their socio-cultural marginalization is making more people anti-West and they need to be treated well to stay away from falling into the hands of the terrorist outfits like the Islamic State.
What is needed is that the West must win the Muslims on their side and the war in the Middle East such as in Syria, the occupation of Palestine and the killing of its unarmed people by Israel must be the eye opener to the West how to save the young people from crossing to militants' side.
When Russians or French airplanes are bombing innocent Syrians and Israel is destroying homes of the Palestinians without respite, some people are bound to fall into trap out of anger and frustration instead of being killed at home.    
Mr Obama's visit to the Baltimore mosque took place when the global reality is very harsh to the Muslim world as nobody is coming to end those wars and save people from being killed.
His speech was a kind of primer in this background in which he offered some basic facts on Islam that aimed at removing misunderstanding of Islam and the Muslims.
He however said news media have so far failed to highlight the positive side of Islam and asked the US TV stations to air positive things about Islam.
He decried anti-Muslim rhetoric in US election campaign and urges TV programme producers to show some Muslim characters that are unrelated to national security threat as they want to portray them like that.
The President's observation was very timely when he said many Americans don't duly know a Muslim and form a hugely distorted impression based on TV film and negative news reports. Many even are portraying horrific acts of terrorism attributing it to the belief of the entire Muslim faith.
He said Islam is a religion of peace and Jefferson and other founding fathers of America sought to guarantee the freedom of Muslims to worship and had to face the allegations that they were also Muslims like the blame game Obama is facing. He praised the Muslims saying Muslims are everywhere in American society as doctors, teachers, soldiers and sports stars like Mohammad Ali. Muslim Americans are enriching American lives.
His observations that "You are not Muslims or Americans but you are Muslims and American," were highly inspiring to audience that gathered at Baltimore Islamic Center. 
But the President made up his mind at the end of his presidency to take a visit to a mosque when the Muslims need his presence by their side. The President did not disheartened them when he said 'You are not alone, your fellow Americans are with you.'  He also reminded others that diversity is not a weakness but America's greatest strength.
The President said some people are trying to portray it as a clash of civilizations between Islam and the West. He warned the West that targeting the Muslims as enemies would take them playing into the hands of the enemies.
The best way to fight terrorism is to deny organizations like the Islamic State (IS) and their propaganda, it would make them and their children safe. The President praised the Islamic leaders for speaking out against extremism and asked them to continue to offer a positive version of Islamic faith. 
Mr Obama was right when he said Islam has been part of America as many slaves brought from Africa were Muslims who kept their faith alive even in bondage. He said, Islam is not the root cause of problem, distortion of Islam by terrorists is the root of all problems.

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