Obama decries anti-Muslim discrimination

President Obama on Thursday bemoaned discrimination faced by Muslim Americans, calling on people in the U.S. to practice tolerance toward their fellow citizens. 


“Let’s be clear: Muslim Americans are as patriotic, as integrated, as American as any other member of the American family,” Obama said during a White House reception celebrating Eid al-Fitr, the Islamic holiday that marks the end of Ramadan. 

Obama urged people around the country to ensure that Muslim Americans do not feel as if they’re “second-class citizens.”

“We see you, we believe in you," the president said, addressing young Muslims in the room. "And despite what you may sometimes hear, you’ve got to know you’re a valued part of the American family and there is nothing you cannot do." 

Obama made the comments hours before Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpHouse panel approves 0.5B defense policy bill House panel votes against curtailing Insurrection Act powers after heated debate House panel votes to constrain Afghan drawdown, ask for assessment on 'incentives' to attack US troops MORE was set to accept the Republican Party's nomination for president in Cleveland.  

Trump’s call for a temporary ban on Muslim immigration in the wake of last year’s terror attacks in Paris and San Bernardino, Calif., has been a rallying cry for his campaign.

"Discriminating against Muslim Americans is also an affront to the very values that already make our nation great," Obama said. 

The president said he was speaking during a “difficult time” for the Muslim American community in the aftermath of recent attacks in Orlando, Fla., and Nice, France. 

He vowed that the government would go after groups such as the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) that have taken credit for such attacks. 

He emphasized that the Muslim American community should be treated as an ally in pushing back against extremism and must not be viewed with wholesale suspicion.

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