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9 Of The Most Powerful Quotes From Obama's First Visit To A US Mosque

On Wednesday, President Obama visited the Islamic Society of Baltimore in Maryland. It was the first time in his presidency he visited a US mosque.

The president delivered an impassioned speech urging Americans to exhibit tolerance toward Muslims at a time when Islamophobia has a very real impact in American communities.

His visit to the mosque was long overdue, given Obama is in his final year in office, but it was also very timely for unfortunate reasons.

The Obama speech was a v good & important (if belated) speech. It's just a shame we live in an era where he *had* to give it. #mosquevisit — Mehdi Hasan (@mehdirhasan) February 3, 2016
"Here at this Mosque, twice last year, threats were made against your children.'- @POTUS at #MosqueVisit in #MD — Senator Ben Cardin (@SenatorCardin) February 3, 2016
"Recently, we've heard inexcusable political rhetoric against Muslim Americans that has no place in our country." —@POTUS #MosqueVisit — White House Live (@WHLive) February 3, 2016

Religious tolerance is one of the founding principles of the US, and it's important for our leaders to reiterate that, particularly when tolerance is threatened.

"As Americans, we have to stay true to our core values, that includes freedom of religion—for all faiths." - @POTUS #MosqueVisit — Elite Daily (@EliteDaily) February 3, 2016

Here are nine of the most powerful quotes from the president's speech, all of which remind us it's possible for people of multiple faiths and backgrounds to live together in peace.

1. President Obama acknowledged many Muslims don't feel safe right now and explained why that's not OK.

Obama on Muslim Americans: "When any part of our family starts to feel 2nd class, or targeted, it tears at the very fabric of our nation." — Harun Maruf (@HarunMaruf) February 3, 2016

2. Since the terror attacks in Paris and San Bernardino, California, hate crimes against Muslims tripled, and the president urged Americans to take a stand against this.

“We can't be bystanders to bigotry. Together, we have to show that America truly protects all faiths.” - @POTUS #MosqueVisit — Elite Daily (@EliteDaily) February 3, 2016

3. He reminded us all how important it is all faiths are respected.

.@POTUS on first visit to mosque: "An attack on one faith is an attack on all our faiths" — Jim Sciutto (@jimsciutto) February 3, 2016

4. The president highlighted the vital roles Muslim Americans play in our communities.

"Muslim Americans enrich our lives—they're our neighbors—the teachers who inspire our children" —@POTUS #MosqueVisit https://t.co/D7LtPYgf7D — The White House (@WhiteHouse) February 3, 2016

5. There are over 5,000 Muslim Americans in the US military, and President Obama made it clear he appreciates their service.

"Muslim-Americans fight and bleed and die for our freedom; some rest in Arlington National Cemetery." - @POTUS #MosqueVisit — Elite Daily (@EliteDaily) February 3, 2016

6. He explained why it's wrong to blame all of the world's 1.6 billion Muslims for terrorism.

“They're not defending Islam or Muslims—the vast majority of the people they kill are innocent Muslim men, women & children”-@POTUS on #ISIL — WH National Security (@NSC44) February 3, 2016

7. He offered an important quote from the Quran.

"The Quran says 'whoever kills an innocent, it is as if he's killed all mankind.'" - @POTUS#MosqueVisit — Elite Daily (@EliteDaily) February 3, 2016

8. He let young Muslims know they belong in this country just as much as anyone else.

"You are not Muslim or American. You are Muslim AND American." —@POTUS to young Muslim Americans #MosqueVisit — The White House (@WhiteHouse) February 3, 2016

9. And finally, the president aptly noted we're all on the same team.

President Obama said our blended heritage is one of our greatest strengths: "We are one American family. We will rise and fall together." — NYT Politics (@nytpolitics) February 3, 2016

Citations: Crimes Against Muslim Americans and Mosques Rise Sharply (The New York Times), More than 5,000 Muslims Serving in US Military, Pentagon Says (ABC News)