In Baltimore, Obama Addresses Heightened Anti-Muslim Rhetoric

By Hope Kroll, a Spring 2016 Leadership Conference Education Fund Intern

Last Wednesday, President Obama spoke at the Islamic Society of Baltimore, where he reinforced the importance of unity and of ensuring that core American values, including freedom of religion, are upheld. “We’ve heard inexcusable political rhetoric against Muslim Americans that has no place in our country,” Obama said.

This conversation comes at a time when, according to the latest data, reported hate crimes as a whole are declining for all Americans except Muslim Americans. In fact, anti-Muslim hate crimes have tripled in the United States since the Paris attacks.

“We have to reject a politics that seeks to manipulate prejudice or bias and targets people because of religion.” Obama said on Wednesday. “We’ve got to make sure that hate crimes are punished and that the civil rights of all Americans are upheld.”

The membership of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights unanimously adopted a resolution at its annual meeting in December 2015 condemning calls from presidential candidates to exclude immigrants and refugees on the basis of religion, establish databases of Muslim American citizens, or engage in the blanket surveillance of mosques.