President Obama took the media to task for its portrayal of Muslims during a speech Wednesday at the Islamic Society of Baltimore.
“The Muslim American community remains relatively small, several million people in this country,” Obama said. “As a result, most Americans don’t necessarily know or at least don’t know that they know a Muslim person.
“As a result, many only hear about Muslims and Islam from the news after an act of terrorism, or in distorted media portrayals in TV or film, all of which gives this hugely distorted impression.
“And since 9/11 but more recently since the attacks in Paris and San Bernardino, you’ve seen too often people conflating the horrific acts of terrorism with an act of faith,” he continued.
The President went on to say that attacks on Muslim Americans weaken the fabric of our country. “We’ve seen children bullied, we’ve seen mosques vandalized,” he said. “It’s not who we are. We’re one American family. And when any part of our family begins to feel separate or second class, it tears at the heart of our nation.”
For years, Obama has contended with opponents who have claimed that he is a Muslim masquerading as a Christian, something he addressed in his speech.
“Thomas Jefferson’s opponents tried to stir things up by suggesting he was a Muslim. So I was not the first,” Obama said, drawing laughter from the audience. “No, it’s true. Look it up. I’m in good company.”