When the White House announced Obama’s plan to finally visit a US mosque, Muslim Americans like Zudhi Jasser, of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy and some 2016 Republican candidates came out criticizing the choice of the mosque in question.
Liberal site ThinkProgress did a story defending Obama’s visit to the Islamic Society of Baltimore and attacking Republican Presidential candidate Senator Marco Rubio (FL) for criticizing Obama’s speech at the mosque while at a Town Hall in NH:
“I’m tired of being divided against each other for political reasons like this president’s done,” … “Always pitting people against each other. Always. “Look at today – he gave a speech at a mosque,” Rubio continued. “Oh, you know, basically implying that America is discriminating against Muslims. Of course there’s going to be discrimination in America of every kind. But the bigger issue is radical Islam. And by the way, radical Islam poses a threat to Muslims themselves.”
ThinkProgress’s Adrienne Mahsa Varkani immediately jumped on the Senator’s criticism by throwing down a ‘President George W. Bush visited a mosque and did so 6 days after 9/11 no less and Republicans are hypocrites” Ace card. Here’s a part of article:
But Rubio, as well as other conservatives who have criticized Obama’s move, are forgetting one major thing: Obama isn’t the first U.S. president to visit a mosque in the country. Former President George W. Bush, a Republican, visited the Islamic Center of Washington, D.C. only six days after September 11, 2001 to similarly decry a rise in attacks against Muslim Americans.
The only problem with Varkani’s Poker move is that she left quite a few key points out of that comparison. She blatantly left out points that would surely defeat the “how dare you criticize Obama” narrative and the attack on the Senator.
Let’s review what ThinkProgress selectively left out and we’ll start with the obvious.
- President George W. Bush did visit the Islamic Center of Washington, DC six days after September, 11th almost 8 months into his 1st term. Bush went to ICW actually three times during his presidency.
- Doesn’t mention it took Obama almost 8 years to visit an American Mosque.
- Only a link in the article noted the Islamic Society of Baltimore had been under FBI surveillance
- It does not bring up that ISB’s former Imam Mohammad Adam el-Sheikh, served as a regional director for the Islamic American Relief Agency whose group’s parent organization is the Islamic African Relief Agency, which the Treasury Department says provided funds to Osama bin Laden, al-Qaeda, Hamas and other terrorist organizations.
- The story overlooked that while under FBI surveillance, an ISB member, Antonio Martinez, aka Muhammad Hussain, was busted for plotting to bomb an Army recruiting center in Maryland, was convicted and sentenced to 25 years in prison in 2012.
- No mention, what so ever, that the Islamic Center of Washington, DC has never been connected to Islamic Extremism or any terrorist activities.
I’m sure those tidbits of information were just innocently overlooked. Because hey, you can’t possibly further a narrative by giving both sides. That would be journalism.
There’s one issue that everyone in the media has overlooked. Why did Obama go to a mosque in Maryland, when the Islamic Center of Washington, DC is only 2 miles from the White House?
What could possibly be the reason for not going to one that a U.S. President had already vetted & visited? Specifically, one with no ties to terrorism since President Dwight Eisenhower first dedicated it 59 years ago?
Adding to that, Bush, during his third visit in 2007 rededicated the Islamic Center of Washington. Here’s a portion of that speech..you’ll note the tone, and stark differences between Bush’s words and the one Obama gave at ISB. (I’m sure Rubio will notice those differences as well.)
Men and women of conscience have a duty to speak out and condemn this murderous movement before it finds its path to power. We must help millions of Muslims as they rescue a proud and historic religion from murderers and beheaders who seek to soil the name of Islam. And in this effort, moderate Muslim leaders have the most powerful and influential voice. We admire and thank those Muslims who have denounced what the Secretary General of the OIC called “radical fringe elements who pretend that they act in the name of Islam.” We must encourage more Muslim leaders to add their voices, to speak out against radical extremists who infiltrate mosques, to denounce organizations that use the veneer of Islamic belief to support and fund acts of violence, and to reach out to young Muslims — even in our country and elsewhere in the free world — who believe suicide bombing may some day be justified. We need to rally the voices of Muslims who can speak most directly to millions in the Arab world left behind in the global movement toward prosperity and freedom. For decades the free world abandoned Muslims in the Middle East to tyrants, and terrorists, and hopelessness. This was done in the interests of stability and peace, but instead the approach brought neither. The Middle East became an incubator for terrorism and despair, and the result was an increase in Muslims’ hostility to the West. I have invested the heart of my presidency in helping Muslims fight terrorism, and claim their liberty, and find their own unique paths to prosperity and peace.
It’s valid to question why the Islamic Society of Baltimore was chosen over the already vetted Islamic Center of Washington. Even stranger, is that Obama himself made the following remark regarding the DC mosque at ISB
In 1957, when dedicating the Islamic center in Washington, D.C., President Eisenhower said, “I should like to assure you, my Islamic friends, that under the American Constitution … and in American hearts…this place of worship, is just as welcome…as any other religion.”
With that, I’ll say to ThinkProgress — If you wish to invoke Bush’s actions during his presidency in order to defend Obama’s and attack others, why then should you not be willing to invoke those same actions, in order to question Obama’s motivations?
But then again, that would be journalism.