You might think that America’s most dangerous enemy would be ISIS, or maybe Russia, or maybe an increasingly aggressive nuclear North Korea, or maybe a saber-rattling Iran (who we just gave nuclear technology to). But you would be wrong. Obama has not done anything meaningful during his tenure to confront any of those, and he does not intend to start now.
No, Obama will be taking on a much more sinister and deadly foe: Republicans.
(CNN)Seeking to rebut what he views as perilous election-year bombast about Muslims, President Barack Obama heads Wednesday to a mosque in Baltimore, his first visit to such a site in the United States.
At the Islamic Society of Baltimore, a 47-year-old mosque with thousands of attendees, Obama plans to herald the contributions of Muslims to American society while issuing a forceful counterpoint to the language favored by some Republican presidential candidates like Donald Trump, according to White House officials.
“We’ve seen an alarming willingness on the part of some Republicans to try to marginalize law-abiding, patriotic Muslim Americans,” White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest told reporters Tuesday. “It’s just offensive to a lot of Americans who recognize that those kinds of cynical political tactics run directly contrary to the values that we hold dear in this country. And I think the President is looking forward to the opportunity to make that point.”
Oh, well thank God. All that rhetoric against Muslims has led to exactly zero deaths in the United States, which is less than you would expect to happen just as a matter of overall homicide statistics in the United States. But still, it’s such an important problem that in order to combat it, Obama is willing to enlist the help of some controversial allies: extremist Muslims who hate America.
Barack Obama is making his first presidential visit to a U.S. mosque on Wednesday, but the historic occasion is being overshadowed by criticism that the Baltimore-area center he chose has extremist ties.
The controversy centers around the Islamic Society of Baltimore’s former imam, who has ties not only to the Muslim Brotherhood but the Northern Virginia mosque where the radical Anwar al-Awlaki used to preach.
* * *
During his time in Baltimore, El-Sheikh was a regional director for the Islamic American Relief Agency, the international parent organization of which has been cited by the U.S. Treasury Department for connections to Al Qaeda and the Taliban. After 2003, he was the imam for the Dar Al-Hijrah Islamic Center in Falls Church, Va., near Washington. It was there that Awlaki, just months earlier, gave his fiery sermons, before going on to be a top Al Qaeda affiliate operative in Yemen. Awlaki, a U.S. citizen, was killed in a U.S. drone strike in 2011.
I don’t think that Obama is some sort of secret Muslim at all. I don’t really believe he has any religious authority higher than himself.
But let’s ask this: how would his Presidency have looked different at all if he was?