Muslim Advocates Commends President for Challenging Americans to Face Future with Confidence, Not Fear
January 12, 2016
Tonight, President Obama chose to use his final State of the Union address to call on Americans to face the future with confidence, not fear, by living up to the values from which our nation’s strengths are derived. The President has set an example for all public officials to follow by defending our values of inclusion, diversity, and compassion.
Muslim Advocates welcomed Obama’s remarks reminding us who we are as Americans: “[W]e need to reject any politics that targets people because of race or religion. This isn’t a matter of political correctness. It’s a matter of understanding what makes us strong. The world respects us not just for our arsenal; it respects us for our diversity and our openness and the way we respect every faith. His Holiness, Pope Francis, told this body from the very spot I stand tonight that ‘to imitate the hatred and violence of tyrants and murderers is the best way to take their place.’ When politicians insult Muslims, when a mosque is vandalized, or a kid bullied, that doesn’t make us safer. That’s not telling it like it is. It’s just wrong. It diminishes us in the eyes of the world. It makes it harder to achieve our goals. And it betrays who we are as a country.”
Muslim Advocates appreciated the diverse group of Americans from many backgrounds who were invited to attend tonight’s address, including everyday American Muslims. Among these guests were Jawad Khaki, an entrepreneur and civic leader who was previously a corporate vice president at Microsoft for 20 years, invited by Suzan DelBene (D-WA), as well as Refaai Hamo, a Syrian scientist and refugee now living in Michigan, and Naveed Shah, a veteran of the U.S. Army and proud American Muslim, both invited by First Lady Michelle Obama.
Since a meeting with President Obama in February 2015, Muslim Advocates has specifically and repeatedly asked the President and his administration to challenge anti-Muslim bigotry. The administration has recently taken additional steps to hold perpetrators of hate crimes accountable and to remind educators and employers of their legal obligations to create schools and workplaces, respectively, free of religious discrimination. We commend the President and his administration for their valuable leadership at this critical time of fear and concern for American Muslims.
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