The number one issue at President Obama’s private meeting with Muslim leaders on Wednesday was the rise of Islamophobia in America, not the threat of Islamic terrorism, according to sources in the room with the president.
Comedian Dean Obeidallah wrote that he attended the event and found the main topic to be discrimination against Muslims by their fellow Americans. “In fact, it was clearly the No. 1 issue raised: The alarming rise in anti-Muslim bigotry in America,” Obeidallah wrote for the Daily Beast. “My point was that while bigotry from certain Republicans is nothing new, I’m alarmed about the Democratic response to these comments. What is the Democrats’ response, you ask? Simple: silence.”
The White House has yet to reveal the names of Muslim leaders who met the president behind closed doors, but some have begun speaking out about the meeting publicly. Farhana Khera, executive director of Muslim Advocates, also attended the meeting and told the Detroit Free Press that she wanted Obama to use his bully pulpit to speak out against anti-Muslim bigotry and nominate a Muslim to be a federal judge.
At the National Prayer Breakfast on Thursday, Obama condemned the Islamic State as a “death cult,” but again took the time to lecture his fellow Americans about the sins of some of their ancestral co-religionists. “And lest we get on our high horse and think that this is unique to some other place, remember that during the Crusades and Inquisition, people committed terrible deeds in the name of Christ,” he said. “In our home country, slavery and Jim Crow all too often was justified in the name of Christ.” Obama’s comparison of Americans during the Jim Crow era to Islamic terrorists comes days after a Jordanian pilot was burned alive by the Islamic State.