- The Washington Times - Thursday, July 21, 2016

President Obama praised Muslim Americans Thursday as patriots and heroes, and decried an increase of violence against Muslims in the U.S.

“This is a difficult time for Muslim Americans,” Mr. Obama said at a White House reception marking the Islamic holiday of Eid al-Fitr. “Let’s be clear, Muslim Americans are as patriotic, as integrated, as American as any other members of the American family.”

In an apparent reference to Republican nominee Donald Trump, who has proposed a ban on Muslim immigrants, Mr. Obama told young Muslims in the audience, “In spite of what you sometimes hear, you’ve got to know you’re a valued part of the American family and there’s nothing you cannot do.”

When Mr. Obama told the crowd in the East Room that they are living in “challenging times,” many audience members responded by chanting “four more years!”

“No, no,” Mr. Obama said. “Michelle’s going to come down and scold you.”

He said attacks against Muslims in the U.S. are on the rise.

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We’ve seen a spike in Muslim Americans, including children, being attacked, Muslim mosques being targeted,” Mr. Obama said.

“That shouldn’t be happening in the United States of America.”

He added, “Singling out Muslim Americans, moreover, feeds the lie of terrorists like ISIL that the West is somehow at war with a religion that includes over 1 billion adherents. That’s not smart national security.”

Mentioning terrorist attacks in Orlando, Florida; Nice, France; and other locations around the world, Mr. Obama said it was “a difficult Ramadan.”

“In the face of terrorism, we will prevail,” the president said. “But we will prevail by working together, not driving each other apart.”


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