From: John Stanton
Sent: Wednesday, February 3, 2016 1:48 PM
To: Barnes, Desiree N. EOP/WHO
Subject: travel pool report 5
At 1:01, Obama was introduced by Ms. Sabah Maktar, a student at the University of Maryland's Baltimore campus, where she is studying biology as part of a pre-med program.
"Some of us may find ourselves doubting where we fit into our society. Personally this visit by the president is an affirmation ... an assurance to Muslim-American kids constantly bombarded by anti-Muslim slogans that they belong," Maktar said.
POTUS began speaking at 1:04. Here are some quick quotes and notes from the speech - do check against the official transcript because your pooler has large fingers and POTUS sometimes speaks quickly.
On the Islamic Society of Baltimore's history in the city: "This mosque, like so many in our country, is an all American story"
"They have a school here where teachers open young minds Kids play baseball, football and basketball ... there's a health clinic that serves the needy, regardless of their faith."
"I want to start with two words Muslim Americans don't hear often enough. Thank you."
"We've seen too often people conflating horrific acts of terrorism with the beliefs of an entire faith"
On Republican rhetoric: "Inexcusable political rhetoric against Muslims that has no place in our country. It's no surprise than that threats against Muslims have surged."
On the fears of Muslim children that they will be attacked by other Americans: "The notion that they would be filled with doubt, questioning their place in this great country of ours ... that's not who we are. "
"We have to speak out. This is a moment when as Americans we have to truly listen to each other and learn from each other."
"For more than a thousand years people have been drawn to Islam's message of peace"
"Here's another fact, Islam has always been a part of America," noting that some slaves brought from Africa were Muslims.
There was big applause when Obama pointed out a Muslim American woman who will be on the Olympic fencing team this summer. Similarly, lots of applause when Obama introduced a group of Muslim members of the armed forces, who seemed specifically picked to represent the multi-racial face of Islam.
"Muslim Americans are some of the most resilient and patriotic Americans you will ever meet," Obama said.
15 minutes in, Obama pivoted to national security concerns. The twisted ideology of Islamic terrorists "is real. It's there," Obama said, adding "the question is how do we move forward? How do we keep our country strong and united?"
But he warned that combating terrorism "can't just be a burden for one community," and argued that, "Mere tolerance of other religions is not enough ... all of us have the task of expressing our religious faith in a way that seeks to build bridges, rather than to divide."
"Thomas Jefferson's opponents tried to stir things up by suggesting he was a Muslim. So I was not the first," Obama joked.
"We have to understand. An attack on one faith is an attack on all faiths. If anyone in this room is attacked, we all have a responsibility to speak up"
"We have to reject a politics that seems to manipulate bias or prejudice"
"We have to be consistent in condemning hateful rhetoric and violence ... none of us can be silent. We can't be bystanders to bigotry. Together we've got to show America truly protects all faith"
On Isis "I won't give them legitimacy ... They're not defending Islam," he said, explain that "the vast majority of the people they kill are innocent Muslim women and children."
Urged Muslims to view communicating their faith to Christians as a "great privilege" and not a burden.
On the future: "We will, I will, do everything I can to lift up the multiplicity of Muslim voices that promote peace, I will try to reach out to young Muslims around the world ... that is why we'll continue to partner with the Muslim American community, not just protect against extremist threats but to expand health care, education and opportunity"
To the youth: "today there are voices in the world, particularly over the internet, constantly claiming that you have to choose between your identifies as a muslim or an American ... let me say, as the president of the united states, you fit in right here."
"Don't believe you have to choose between your best impulses and somehow embrace a world view that pits us against each other, or even worse, glorifies violence."
"Help us move our country forward, your country forward"
The speech wrapped at 1:47 and POTUS is now working the room.
DC Bureau Chief