Politics

Obama Slams Rising Islamophobia: ‘That Doesn’t Make Us Safer’

CREDIT: AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster

In his final State of the Union address, President Obama warned against rising animosity toward Muslims.

“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.”

Attacks on Muslims have spiked since extremist attacks in Paris and San Bernardino, California. ThinkProgress has tracked 51 incidents as of January 5. The attacks include hateful vandalism of mosques, bodily assaults of people who look Middle Eastern or wear signs of their faith, and profiling at airports. At least one mosque was even firebombed.

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Earlier in the speech, Obama specifically denounced the idea that terrorists represent “one of the world’s largest religions.”

“That is the story ISIL wants to tell,” Obama said. “That’s the kind of propaganda they use to recruit.”

Meanwhile, Republican presidential candidates immediately denounced Obama for trying to separate ISIS from Islam.

“There will be voices urging us to fall back into tribes, to scapegoat fellow citizens who don’t look like us, or pray like us, or vote like we do, or share the same background,” Obama said.