“Muslim Americans keep us safe,” President Obama said of the contributions of Muslims in the U.S. “They are our police. They are our firefighters.”
On February 3, Obama visited the the Islamic Society of Baltimore, where he addressed a group of Muslim Americans. White House press secretary Josh Earnest called the visit “an opportunity for the president to celebrate the contributions of the Muslim-American community to our country.”
In his talk, the president countered what he called voices asking Muslim Americans to “choose between faith and patriotism.”
“You’re right where you belong,” Obama said. “You’re not Muslim or American, you’re Muslim and American.”
The Islamic Society of Baltimore is among the largest Muslim communities in the U.S. Middle Atlantic region. In addition to its mosque, the society runs a school and a health clinic for the homeless. “This mosque, like so many in our country,” the president said, “is an all-American story.”
The president spoke of the 12 Muslim Americans — students, activists and religious scholars among them — with whom he met before his speech. He said they are all “doing extraordinary work not just in the Muslim community but in the American community, and they’re proud of their work in business, in education and on behalf of social justice, the environment.”
Approximately 1 out of every 100 Americans is Muslim. They pray in mosques in every part of the country.