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Obama praises American Muslims for contributions since 9/11 attacks
August 10th, 2011
10:57 PM ET

Obama praises American Muslims for contributions since 9/11 attacks

By Dan Gilgoff, CNN.com Religion Editor

(CNN) - President Barack Obama spoke in stark tones Wednesday night about what he said were the positive contributions of American Muslims in the years since the September 11, 2001, attacks, in remarks that came a month before the 10th anniversary of 9/11.

“Muslim Americans were innocent passengers on those planes,” Obama said, referring to the aircraft that slammed into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon in the September 11 attacks, “including a young married couple looking forward to the birth of their first child."

“They were workers in the Twin Towers - Americans by birth and Americans by choice, immigrants who crossed the oceans to give their children a better life,” he continued.

Obama was speaking at a White House Iftar dinner, held to celebrate the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

The White House invited Muslim families who had relatives working in the Twin Towers on 9/11 to the dinner, with the president asking guests to stand and acknowledge them on Wednesday night.

“Muslim Americans were first responders,” Obama said, recounting events of September 11, “the former police cadet who raced to the scene to help and then was lost when the towers collapsed around him; the EMTs who evacuated so many to safety; the nurse who tended to so many victims; the naval officer at the Pentagon who rushed into the flames and pulled the injured to safety.”

“On this 10th anniversary, we honor these men and women for what they are - American heroes.”

The president also thanked American Muslims for their military service during “10 hard years of war.”

At another point in his remarks, Obama noted that American Muslims serve as firefighters, police officers and counterterrorism specialists. “Make no mistake,” Obama said. “Muslim Americans help to keep us safe.”

At a time when Muslim Americans are facing stepped up scrutiny – with congressional hearings on radicalization in U.S. Muslim communities and legislatures across the country weighing bills to outlaw Sharia, or Muslim law – Obama called for Americans to treat Muslims with fairness and respect.

Obama called for “an America that doesn’t simply tolerate people of different backgrounds and beliefs, but an America where we are enriched by our diversity.”

“An America where we treat one another with respect and with dignity,” he continued, “remembering that here in the United States there is no ‘them’ or ‘us;’ it’s just us.”

Iftar dinners are held during Ramadan to break the daily fast. President Bill Clinton started the tradition of such dinners at the White House, with George W. Bush and Obama continuing it.

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Barack Obama • Islam • Ramadan

soundoff (583 Responses)
  1. Expertia

    Read the Koran: it teaches Muslims to either convert or overcome all "infidels" - meaning Christians and Jews.

    August 11, 2011 at 12:51 am |
    • Kat

      aha and where did you get your Koran from? I bet you've never seen one in your life.

      August 11, 2011 at 12:59 am |
    • BG

      Here they go again with the famous 'Wrong Koran' defense and winding up like air raid sirens...

      "You're all bigots."

      August 11, 2011 at 1:15 am |
    • islam quran plunder

      http://quran.com/2/109
      Quite a number of the People of the Book(Christian according to our friend from Malaysian and Indonesian) wish they could Turn you (people) back to infidelity after ye have believed, from selfish envy, after the Truth hath become Manifest unto them: But forgive and overlook, Till Allah accomplish His purpose; for Allah ...

      August 11, 2011 at 1:39 am |
    • islam quran plunder

      http://quran.com/2/191
      And kill them wherever you overtake them and expel them from wherever they have expelled you, and fitnah is worse than killing. And do not fight them at al-Masjid al- Haram until they fight you there. But if they fight you, then kill them. Such is the recompense of the disbelievers

      August 11, 2011 at 1:42 am |
    • thecatisasleep

      A. give the rest of the verse AND all the verses that explain how you may not kill ANYONE who calls a truce. B. Notice it says expel them from where they expelled you. So, God says, don't fight muslims and they may not fight you. Why do non-muslims insist on spreading radical islam??

      August 11, 2011 at 9:53 am |
    • Catholic man

      Dude, omiting context is what gets us into trouble...there are infidels in all religions. Personally I am sticking with this one...002.062 Those who believe (in the Qur'an), and those who follow the Jewish (scriptures), and the Christians and the Sabians,- any who believe in God and the Last Day, and work righteousness, shall have their reward with their Lord; on them shall be no fear, nor shall they grieve.

      Have faith in your religion and do deeds of charity – all three reglions share one thing in common – we all have only one God.

      August 11, 2011 at 3:47 pm |
  2. Not so True

    And not a word about the muslim inroads being made against USA that are the opposite of this praise. Have a look here:
    http://vladtepesblog DOT com/?p=36422

    August 11, 2011 at 12:47 am |
  3. rgvg

    Northern Lights How do you know if any posters here are white? Hmm is that a racist comment, surley not.

    August 11, 2011 at 12:47 am |
    • Muneef

      No race no color no gender no age nothing just talking to ghosts....

      August 11, 2011 at 2:36 am |
  4. Chiniquy

    In The Holy Qur'an these names are written:

    Allah (the Name The Lord-Creator used for Himself) – 2,069 times

    Adam – 25 times

    Prophet Noah – 47 times

    Prophet Abraham – 69 times

    Prophet Lot – 28 times

    Prophet David – 16 times

    Prophet Solomon – 19 times

    Prophet Moses – 167 times

    Prophet Aaron – 24 times

    Mary the mother of Jesus – 32 times

    Jesus the son of Mary – 28 times

    Prophet Muhammed – 4 times

    August 11, 2011 at 12:47 am |
  5. Skadams

    If being a Muslim is so great, why doesn't Obama just admit that he is one. Guess he's waiting until after the 2012 election to come out of the closet.

    August 11, 2011 at 12:47 am |
    • Mike Manhattan KS

      Well, so much for any politician representing all the people in the country, skadams! So much for equal rights, I guess it doesn't apply to some religious beliefs!

      August 11, 2011 at 12:53 am |
    • BG

      Here you go.

      [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tCAffMSWSzY&w=640&h=390]

      August 11, 2011 at 1:16 am |
    • gj

      Obama was never in any closet about his faith. From day one he has been saying he is a Christian. Didn't you get the memo? Perhaps one day people like you could explain the rest of us why you insist calling a man Muslim when he has told you a million times that he is not.

      August 11, 2011 at 5:35 am |
  6. Kim Winland

    President Obama has not did a good job at all running this country he can't even make a decent speech without a tellapromnpter
    he cant make decisions about our country. He has done away with the Middle Class Americans. Has he truly done anything
    correctly? Oh thats right he has spent this great Country of ours into Oblivin and caused our credit rating to fall to a double A
    credit rating. As Americans its time we stand together and demand for him to be Impeached.

    August 11, 2011 at 12:46 am |
    • Roger Noe

      You have mangled the English language so badly you ought to be run out of the country.

      August 11, 2011 at 12:55 am |
    • OK

      Maybe you should run for president if your willing to leave your job as a Walmart greeter.

      August 11, 2011 at 7:25 am |
  7. Kat

    Right on president Obama.

    August 11, 2011 at 12:45 am |
  8. *frank*

    The median IQ
    in this thread
    will be 48.9

    August 11, 2011 at 12:45 am |
    • Willowspring

      @ frank. So you're the one that has just about zeroed out the rest of us.

      August 11, 2011 at 12:55 am |
    • Mojo

      And you are no doubt 10 points below that..

      August 11, 2011 at 5:40 pm |
  9. Willowspring

    @ Time2think. Timothy McVeigh didn't just blow up a child care center, he blew up the Murrah Federal Building with a day care in it. Many many people died. About the KKK, you mean the organization that endorsed Obama for president? Unbelievable. They must be making up for past sins. They were predominantly democrats and yet the blacks continue to vote democratic. Go figure. Keep in mind the conservative side of the aisle has historically been more helpful to the advancement of Black people than liberals ever were. Think about democrat Sen Byrd, he was in the clan early in his career.

    August 11, 2011 at 12:44 am |
    • Q

      I believe you're overlooking the general reversal between parties following WWII...

      August 11, 2011 at 12:48 am |
  10. student

    Muslims be steadfast and patience with Allah and Muslims who take the kaffir as your protector and advisors you will not receive it from Allah on that day. I am no American Muslim nor am I a Asian Muslim or a European Muslim I a am a Muslim we are one ummah do not segregate yourselves to appease the kaffir please your lord fear your lord and ask for his guidance. Do not segregate yourself from the one ummah.. Allah is one remember and which of your favors of your lord would you deny. Allah is the greatest the most merciful the the most gracious.

    August 11, 2011 at 12:42 am |
    • Al

      he is gracious? do you mean he says "PLEASE pass the butter" when you have him over for supper?

      August 11, 2011 at 6:19 am |
  11. Qularkono

    but have they aggressively condemned the terrorists and their actions/agendas? have they condemned suicide bombings? have they aggressively preached from their mosques that killing infidels because they don't believe the Koran? the answer is no they haven't? the question is why not?

    August 11, 2011 at 12:38 am |
    • Steve

      They have done as much or more as any group in America

      August 11, 2011 at 12:41 am |
    • Allocer

      They have, problem is that you turn a blind eye to their efforts. Lets be honest, you rather pay attention to terrorist and Osama Bin Laden than regular folks who are muslims. idiot.

      August 11, 2011 at 12:41 am |
    • Kat

      Wrong. Muslim nations and communities condemned the attacks instantly. Bush used to send terror suspects to his Muslim allies countries to harshly interrogate them.

      August 11, 2011 at 12:47 am |
    • will i am

      If someone is trying to kill me, then yes I will keep an eye on them. Try going to any middle east mooslin courty a say good things about christ.

      August 11, 2011 at 12:52 am |
    • Muneef

      Willy.
      So you been to the middle east and tried to speak nicely about Christ there....! So what did they do to you then?

      August 11, 2011 at 2:25 am |
    • Guest

      Kat you are an idiot or a liar. The vast majority of muslims in the vast majority muslim countries were dancing in the streets when 9/11 occured. Trying to portray anything else is an outright lie. You should be very ashamed of yourself.

      August 11, 2011 at 2:45 am |
  12. jerry west

    i also am appalled at the lengths this president will go to so he can appease the muslim community while ignoring the christian majority of this country. he borders on treason

    August 11, 2011 at 12:38 am |
    • Steve

      Stick with Faux News then. You'll find the phoney news more to your liking.

      August 11, 2011 at 12:41 am |
    • Allocer

      And the Conservatives who wants to see America in another pointless war is also treason. Think before you speak!

      August 11, 2011 at 12:42 am |
    • Roger Noe

      The terrorist tea party cadre who let their hatred of Barack Obama push this county into further economic crisis are the traitors.

      August 11, 2011 at 12:47 am |
    • Willowspring

      Cancelled the Day of Prayer, Chaplains can no longer pray in Jesus' name, I could go on, but the point is, if he is going to devote time and the White House to Muslims events, he should respect Christians as well. I am shocked at his treatment of Israel as well.

      August 11, 2011 at 12:48 am |
    • Q

      @willowspring – Obama did not cancel the (unconst-tutional) national day of prayer. Please check out any of the many urban legend sites...

      August 11, 2011 at 12:52 am |
    • J

      I thought the majority of Americans were non-believers?

      August 11, 2011 at 12:58 am |
    • Michelle

      Roger: You're so completely addled you goose stepping siegheiling idiot. Patriots are not terrorists. Funny they get labeled that way, just like George Washington said they would. Patriots that expect a government to perform as it swore under oath, instead of acting like drunken sailors at port with a stolen chest of gold. Stolen from us and our children, and for what? What has improved? For us nothing. for the thieves that used trillions of money to buy businesses overseas it was great. They are criminals because of it. Keep kissing their ass and thanking them. You seem to have forgotten we don't have kings in this country. Get off you knees.

      August 11, 2011 at 1:02 am |
    • Jesse Fallis

      That's laughable. What Christian majority? Are you still living in the old days where it's considered patriotic to hide behind your Bible? How dare him act like a president, he should be peddling to the Fundamentalists and Christians.

      August 11, 2011 at 1:14 am |
  13. desiree

    jesus not my will but your will be done. there will come a day where christians shall be curcified like their savoir for what servant is better than his master...... for all these things must come to past. the "land of the free" will kill those "openly" who are christian and many will deny the faith but i say to all my ture and faithfull christians .....to live is to die. AMEN

    August 11, 2011 at 12:36 am |
  14. frootyme

    The guy has guts to stand for the truth. That's why he got elected.

    August 11, 2011 at 12:35 am |
    • Steve

      I agree

      August 11, 2011 at 12:37 am |
    • Willowspring

      Shall I send you the links to a lot of his lies in his own words on video? There is no disputing that. How can anyone have a shred of faith in a man who contradicts himself from one day to the next?

      August 11, 2011 at 12:52 am |
    • J

      @willowspring Please let me know of a president that didn't lie? He is trying to unite our country. People like you will not let that happen.

      August 11, 2011 at 1:01 am |
    • Muneef

      Aren't those are the basics of American or say Western Politics ...?? It is us only who keep on believing although know that all are just shows and nothing for real...

      August 11, 2011 at 2:10 am |
  15. A real americin

    I think muslim is a pretty cool guy. eh kills woman, raeps child and doesn’t afraid of anything

    August 11, 2011 at 12:34 am |
    • Steve

      Unfortunately, truly are a real American, illiterate and ignorant.

      August 11, 2011 at 12:43 am |
    • Jesse Fallis

      A real American understand the basics of the English language.

      August 11, 2011 at 1:13 am |
    • Muneef

      Do you mean by the real American understands the basics of English language...Is about hating Muslims and speak badly about them?

      August 11, 2011 at 2:05 am |
    • gj

      Quit slaughtering the English language, you "real Americin."

      August 11, 2011 at 5:42 am |
  16. Sagebrush Shorty

    Muslims have friends in high places. Very high places. All this sweet talk from a man who cannot utter the words "Radical Islam" but can turn the White House into a Muslim love fest. What a hypocrite this man is.

    August 11, 2011 at 12:33 am |
    • Jesse Fallis

      Yeah, everyone's on the Islam bashing bandwagon. God forbid he says one nice thing about them. Too bad Americans will never realize the greatest threat is their own ignorance, they're too busy wagging their finger at everyone else.

      August 11, 2011 at 1:16 am |
    • BG

      Well, Jesse, when everyone dislikes you, maybe it's time for a little introspection.

      We can't all be wrong.

      August 11, 2011 at 1:19 am |
  17. Muslims Jelly alight

    Hey muslims, U Jelly of our freedom? Allah is not great

    August 11, 2011 at 12:31 am |
  18. Time2Think

    No one here could possibly take the time to think about the KKK as a terrorist organization. Where were all of you bigots speaking against Islam when people were being lynched back during the Civil Rights Movement, pathetic. Truth is, no one place is perfect. Every society has it's bad people. Nobody talks about Timothy McVeigh after he blew up a daycare. Guess that just flies off the boundaries of what's considered terrorism, like the KKK. Point on point people, stop making your bigotry filled comments on a religion based on fanatics. I think all you bigots should look at what Warren Jeffs is doing to your children.

    August 11, 2011 at 12:30 am |
    • Mike Speakman

      Timothy McVeigh was a terrorist and was executed for it. he KKK was at times a terrorist organization, it also was consider the military arm of the Democratic party at one time. Interesting how liberals leave that little tidbit out. As for Islam, it's been a violent religion from the start and needs some major changes to truly be accepted by Americans. Enough of the coddling of Muslims.

      August 11, 2011 at 12:44 am |
    • Salero21

      So well said!!

      But sweeping the dirt under the carpet and hoping no one notices or remembers it, is a Culturally accepted and Endemic trait. Reminds me, that the Devil and his hosts have the capability to make themselves acceptable to any culture, anywhere and at anytime in history. That is exactly what happened here in those days and in those places we all remember just because are the Facts of History.

      Is too much dirt to hide under the carpet!!

      August 11, 2011 at 1:00 am |
  19. An American Muslim

    For those of you spewing your hate on these message boards, I truly feel sorry for you. It's disgusting to see all these hate filled messages. I'm glad most of you don't act on them

    August 11, 2011 at 12:27 am |
    • Mojo

      Why dont you rag on your fellow Muslims that do go out and do act on them. Oh yea– little difference in radical and moderate Muslims. It's all islam.

      August 11, 2011 at 12:32 am |
    • Steve

      So sad so many Americans are ignorant pack animals – as evidenced in the posts here and especially the election results of 2010

      August 11, 2011 at 12:40 am |
    • Jmac72

      Can you please all give us a honest answer of what Taqiyya is?

      August 11, 2011 at 12:43 am |
  20. Mojo

    Obama is just proving again his willingness to be on one knee to Muslims–should'nt take much to get him down on 2. How many times will he invite 1.5% of the american population and kiss their collective asses. Shame on him. Disgraceful.

    August 11, 2011 at 12:27 am |
    • Allocer

      Good to show your patriotic, courages, conservative opinion.... behind a computer screen!

      August 11, 2011 at 12:36 am |
    • Talon

      the 'Right' is just proving again 'their' willingness to be on one knee to 'the wealthy-shoudn't take much to get 'them' down on 2. How may times will 'the right' invite 1.5% of the american population and kiss their collective asses. Shame on 'them.' Disgraceful.

      August 11, 2011 at 12:40 am |
    • northern lights

      It's sad about u white people! Enough said!

      August 11, 2011 at 12:41 am |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.