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. Travis

    man, they should make a type of w e e d called qu'ran so when you burn it, you get stoned out of your mind..

    August 11, 2011 at 7:12 am |
  2. Get Real

    So, where is our "leader"? for the last 2 1/2 years, I've heard nothing but a good speech giver. (and reader of a teleprompter) He is nothing but an organizer that was voted in based on his "good looks" and race. (BTW, he is half white dim-wits) Oh that's right. He's on vacation that we're all paying for, while this country's economy, political division and racial tolerance is the worst it has been in years. I guess he is having a beach party at the vineyard with congress. I say, WE NEED A THIRD PARTY. In addition, make ALL politicians that serve in our govt, have term limits up to no more than 4-6 years, pay for their own healthcare and most of all, not allowed to vacation during a crisis!!!........

    August 11, 2011 at 7:11 am |
  3. nadine

    Muslims in the Middle East were celebrating 911 when it occurred and certainly many in America were doing so (in secret). Obama can praise Muslims all he wants but we know who he is. He is one of them, mind, body and soul.

    August 11, 2011 at 6:57 am |
    • Lonnie Wild

      f u c c k YOU. You are completely wrong in every way – most importantly you are what's wrong with America today

      August 11, 2011 at 7:14 am |
    • Civiloutside

      Do you use your magical ability to know for certain what people are doing in secret to aid local police investigations and/or national security. I'm positive such a skill would be invaluable.

      August 11, 2011 at 9:04 am |
  4. Chuck Steak

    And I'd like to praise all American Christians and Jews for tolerating (big distinction from liking) American Muslims, despite the fact that vast majorities in Muslim countries in the middle east have been disrepecting, abusing and killing Christians and Jews there for centuries.

    August 11, 2011 at 6:55 am |
  5. whome

    It takes one to know one.

    August 11, 2011 at 6:54 am |
  6. Methusalem2000

    So, what's their prize? A mosque right at Ground Zero?

    August 11, 2011 at 6:52 am |
    • Lycidas

      There is no Mosque at Ground Zero and there is none planned at Ground Zero....unless you call Ground Zero something much larger than what it originally was.

      August 11, 2011 at 6:54 am |
    • Geography

      The Mosque your talking about is two blocks away from ground zero.

      August 11, 2011 at 7:19 am |
    • Lycidas

      "The Mosque your talking about is two blocks away from ground zero."

      See Meth...not at Ground Zero.

      August 11, 2011 at 9:47 am |
  7. Methusalem2000

    "Do Atheist Materialists and Islamist Mohammadanists promote lawlessness and chaos?" Yes, indeed! Look at the chaos in London and Lebanon. The CNN team seems to be unenthusiastic on this issue.

    August 11, 2011 at 6:49 am |
    • Lycidas

      Yeah..all 1 billion Muslims in the world are really supporting what's going on in London *rolls eyes*

      August 11, 2011 at 6:55 am |
  8. DaveNYUSA

    "Obama praises U.S. Muslims since 9/11"
    Time to start buying every possible vote he can get.

    August 11, 2011 at 6:48 am |
    • Lycidas

      Is there something wrong with your fellow citizens Dave? Or should Obama ignore them?

      August 11, 2011 at 7:01 am |
    • Civiloutside

      Muslims being less than 1% of America's population, it's probable that he loses more votes by doing this than he would gain. Maybe, just maybe, the man actually believes it's necessary to combat the negative images and ignorance in order to preserve the openness of American society as well as to aid foreign relations.

      August 11, 2011 at 9:14 am |
  9. Amber

    Here we go again. Obama setting the stage for the campaign trail to garner Muslim votes (because he probably is one) and telling the rest of us we should be tolerant. You're a little backwards, Mr. Prez!! Muslims don't denounce radical Muslims because they are afraid for their lives and those of their families. The religion of peace is anything but. We should continue to profile at airports and our borders. But, this Prez doesn't care about America or Americans. Out in 2012 with no record to run on! The worst president in US history. Let's hope the history books reflect the truth. If not, I will write them!! My pledge!

    August 11, 2011 at 6:37 am |
    • jackola

      You sir are an uneducated bigot. "The religion of peace is anything but" can easily refer to Christianity which is responsible for the slaughter of millions of Jews during the 3rd Reich (did you know that Germans are of the Christian faith?).

      August 11, 2011 at 6:59 am |
    • Chuck in Jasper Georgia

      Go ahead write whatever you want,, most people are intelligent enough to distinguish nonfiction from fiction. Who cares what you write or for that matter think.

      August 11, 2011 at 7:03 am |
  10. -A

    I don't care what anyone says, "Islam is a dasterdly religious cult" which, teaches of hatred, killing, and lying about who they are as a people. Respect is not given it is earned and after reading both sides of the Q'uran they both say just about the same thing "Kill the Infidel!" Because, it will be a cold day in hell to MAKE people convert; you'd have to be totally nutz which, most are nutz that marry and convert into this theocracy.

    August 11, 2011 at 6:23 am |
    • Charms

      well said. Truth hurts too!

      August 11, 2011 at 6:44 am |
    • Lycidas

      I would recommend you stay away from that other book...the one where God told Jehoshua to kill every man, woman and child within a city. Or toward the end where all non-believers are wiped out and thrown in the lake of fire. The book? The Bible.

      August 11, 2011 at 6:48 am |
    • AZ

      You are simply Ignorant!

      August 11, 2011 at 6:52 am |
    • Danny

      Am christian, and even me can see that u are nutz

      August 11, 2011 at 6:53 am |
    • Chuck in Jasper Georgia

      Of course you don't care what anyone says.... That is usually the position that people that don't know what the hell they are talking about take. It helps them to justify the ignorance they display to themselves and others.

      August 11, 2011 at 7:07 am |
    • humaira

      I hope your children do not read ,what you have written, otherwise they will be haters like you and the world will see a breed of haters . Hating Muslims and lying about them and hating the brilliant President , and lying about him ,that he does not
      ;care about America . Is it because he is Black./White and is not pure white or pure black? . Or because you think he is a Muslim. Man in Oslo went into the senseless rage , of killing so many innocent humans , might be under the influence of dark clouds ,which people like you perpetrate. Obama did care for America when he voted against sending our young men to Iraq. If it was Mr. Obama 's way : close to 6000 Americans the cream of the crop would still be alive. 100's of thousands have been disabled physically or mentally , all this could have been preventable. Do you know what it is to loose limbs in your twenty's . These men and women 's misery is uncalled for, or all we want is to go to middle east for oil. Please leave your tunnel behind and start living in light so you spread light. Then I will read what you write about Obama. Right now you need a through cleansing of the inside. (Jesus has said.: You fool what you want to clean the outside , clean the inside.of a vessel).Read the Bible , both new and read Qur'an , then you will realise Qur'an is no different. You probably have never read ,these on your own. they are all available on internet . Only a click away. Then if you have any questions , discuss them. They all try to make human beings humble and loving and caring.

      August 11, 2011 at 11:12 am |
  11. Chris

    When Bush hosted these dinners every year nobody said anything. Most of the comments here are just plain sick, and clearly most of you missed the message and the whole point of these dinners as a way to respect ALL our fellow Americans.

    August 11, 2011 at 6:21 am |
    • rs1201

      Then why does he have to hold a special dinner for them? why is he honoring them in particular? They haven't exactly been very honorable in alerting the anti-terrorism task forces of terrorist acts. Let me remind you of FT Hood, NYC subway bomber, Times Square bomber, and the list goes on. Where exactly were these "honorable muslims" when all this happened or was being planned? where was their outcry when it did happen? There' s no room for political correctness here. We are at war with muslim terrorists and the so called "peaceful muslims" aren't stepping up to the plate and telling these monsters to stop hurting our country and our citizens. I hope obama keeps this up all the way til November 2012...people in the voting booths will remember on whose side he's on.

      August 11, 2011 at 6:57 am |
    • Chuck in Jasper Georgia

      @rs1201... Did you even read the story or are you just stupid.. CLINTON AND BUSH did exactly the same thing. Get a clue you idiot.

      August 11, 2011 at 7:10 am |

    Mr. Obama is try to impress Muslim Society but He never know in war zone such as Iraq and Afghan, The Mujahedden scream that American President bow down to Islam. And so the Mujahed marching forward to US soldiers.

    August 11, 2011 at 6:16 am |
    • Lycidas

      I don't think the Pres cares what a bunch of uncouth rebels half a world away thinks of him.

      August 11, 2011 at 6:50 am |
  13. chuckmartel

    If it were not for muzzies, there would have been no 9/11, stupid president. Every day muzzies blow up other muzzies in islamiland. No surprise some muslims were killed when they carry out terrorist attacks in the western countries stupid enough to import them. This is a positive mr harvard law review? Did odumbo mention the positives about standing around shoeless in airport lines with 3 oz carry on? Sticking explosives in their undies and shoes on Christmas day jet flights is a real positive. I understand muslims have been great moral boosters in the military. Gunning down or trying to gun down fellow soldiers. Ft Hood was a positive contribution and just recently another muzzie soldier tried a copycat terrorist attack at Ft hood. As a civilian, I appreciate the constant attempted terrorist attacks and incidents; time sq, trying to blow uo the big christmas tree lighting, etc. Every day the news has stories of the religion of peace trying to blow up infidels in their adopted country. .Mr prez, if you could read and count, you would know muzzies are responsible for more terrorist attacks and incidents than all other nuts combined. And it did not begin with 9/11; RFK assasination, plane hijacking with killings, .. nice.

    August 11, 2011 at 6:13 am |
    • rich

      Perhaps he's trying to defuse the muzzies before the 10th anniversary arrives

      August 11, 2011 at 6:38 am |
    • Lycidas

      @Chuck- "If it were not for muzzies, there would have been no 9/11, stupid president."

      If there was no Abraham...there would be no muzzies, there would be no 9/11, stupid Chuck.

      August 11, 2011 at 6:52 am |
    • Chuck in Jasper Georgia

      Timothy McVeigh was not a Muslim was he? You somehow left off the Oklahoma City bombing during your ignorant rant.

      August 11, 2011 at 7:15 am |
  14. Blue Bird

    ....he hosted a dinner for Muslim Americans....you know I was looking at the oat to become an American citizen and it said....that when you take the oat to be an American you are just an American....not German American ... not Italian American... not Cuban American... just plain old American and yet Obama has a dinner for Muslims....it blows my mind...what about hosting a dinner for the Veterans who live on the street....he is a moron....

    August 11, 2011 at 6:07 am |
    • hmm

      Veterans being homeless is a tough break considering the US military member makes more than most high-school-educated career fields.

      August 11, 2011 at 6:13 am |
    • chuckmartel

      Disgusting. Sad thing is bush seemd to gush over them even more.

      August 11, 2011 at 6:16 am |
  15. Red Wolf

    End of an Error in 2012...Hope For Change!

    August 11, 2011 at 6:04 am |
  16. Grammy 11

    What's Obama's obsession with the Muslims? Suppose the answer is, he's one of them.

    August 11, 2011 at 5:58 am |
    • John Richardson

      He's trying to temper the rising sense of enmity on both sides by encouraging muslims and non-muslims to respect each other. This is on par with George W Bush visiting the Islamic Center in the days after 9/11. Of course, when there are idiots like you who insist on hating Obama, then you will hate everything he does and strain to find negative interpretations of everything he says or does. It's hard to keep the peace when so many openly seek strife.

      August 11, 2011 at 6:49 am |
    • Lycidas

      @Grammy- Odd, I guess you missed those times her went to church or visited a synogogue.

      August 11, 2011 at 6:53 am |
    • Josh

      His obsession with Muslims? Read the whole story before you post your biggotry. Praising American Muslims in the White House was started by Bill Clinton, continued with Bush and now Obama. You're just fishin here. How's the Tea?

      August 11, 2011 at 7:12 am |
  17. Triple A

    Praises the Muslims yet bad mouths Americans. Talking to a group of Hispanics and telling them to rise and vote against the enemy... Yup refering to us fellow Americans. I understand that there is a thought difference and belief difference between the left and the Right. However I canot understand how the left can believe and follow someone whom seems to be so Anti-American.

    August 11, 2011 at 5:51 am |
  18. Donald

    Was there any doubt that this would happen?? I mean Obama praising muslims......was there any doubt that would happen?

    August 11, 2011 at 5:34 am |
    • Barnacle Bill

      You're no better. You probably spent your Sundays praising some invisible friend.

      August 11, 2011 at 5:40 am |
    • Lonerider

      yup. Praising his invisible penis.

      August 11, 2011 at 5:44 am |
  19. dennis

    Obama praises the muslims that have hidden in thier homes since 911, and have not spoken out against other muslims that have terrorized the world....

    August 11, 2011 at 5:29 am |
    • ELEANO

      you piece of trash what the hell did you know? what this american muslims did or not did

      August 11, 2011 at 5:31 am |
    • Opie

      I speak out about it every day on my blog. *shrugs* muslimunicorn.blogspot. com

      You were saying?

      August 11, 2011 at 5:33 am |
    • gj

      Which planet are you from, Dennis?

      August 11, 2011 at 5:48 am |
    • John

      Dennis, I commend you for being honest and 100% correct. For 10 years they have stood by and watched attacks happen almost daily in all parts of the world and in all this time have said nothing to speak out against it. Our leadership in the country is at an all time low.

      August 11, 2011 at 6:20 am |
    • Charms

      .....and silently celebrate 9/11

      August 11, 2011 at 6:47 am |
    • Geography

      The president has not spoken out against the Muslims who terrorised the world? What? You need to watch something other than Faux news.

      August 11, 2011 at 7:21 am |
  20. ThePostMan

    Christianity and Jews must choose to die or pay security tax named jizyah. While others than Jews/Christianity must choose between Convert to Islam or Dieyoung.


    Sahih International
    Fight those who do not believe in Allah or in the Last Day and who do not consider unlawful what Allah and His Messenger have made unlawful and who do not adopt the religion of truth from those who were given the Scripture – [fight] until they give the jizyah willingly while they are humbled.
    Muhsin Khan
    Fight against those who (1) believe not in Allah, (2) nor in the Last Day, (3) nor forbid that which has been forbidden by Allah and His Messenger (4) and those who acknowledge not the religion of truth (i.e. Islam) among the people of the Scripture (Jews and Christians), until they pay the Jizyah with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued.

    August 11, 2011 at 5:25 am |
    • ThePostMan

      Sorry Folks, I click twice while reply some comment below.

      August 11, 2011 at 5:27 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.