Obama to make his first visit to US mosque

US President Barack Obama to make his first visit as president to Baltimore mosque in order to defend religious freedom after rise in hate speeches targeting Muslims

Photo by: AP (Archive )
Photo by: AP (Archive )

US President Barack Obama, 2nd right, tours the Sultan Hassan Mosque in Cairo, Egypt, June 4, 2009.

Updated Jan 31, 2016

President Barack Obama will make his first visit as president to a US mosque next week in order to defend religious freedom, the White House said, following a rise in anti-Muslim rhetoric in the United States.

Obama will visit on Wednesday the Islamic Society of Baltimore mosque, where he will hold a roundtable with the community and deliver remarks, a White House official said on Saturday.

At the mosque, the president will "reiterate the importance of staying true to our core values - welcoming our fellow Americans, speaking out against bigotry, rejecting indifference, and protecting our nation's tradition of religious freedom," the official said.

He has visited mosques outside the United States on his trips abroad.

Obama, a Democrat in his last year as president, has appealed to Americans to reject anti-Muslim comments by politicians, most notably Republican presidential hopeful Donald Trump.

Trump's call for a ban on Muslims entering the United States has attracted widespread condemnation by American politicians. It has also provoked international uproar and led to criticism suggesting his views could be used as propaganda by militant groups.

TRTWorld, Reuters