Skip to main content

tv   News  Al Jazeera  February 3, 2016 1:00pm-2:01pm EST

1:00 pm
in the men time, the news continues from london. do keep it here. >> and a very warm welcome from me david foster to you on this al jazeera news hour live from london. let's take a look at some of the main stories at this hour. the u.n.-syrian envoy calls for a three-week pause in the talks in geneva, but calls what has happened isn't a failure. >> it is not a failure of the talks. >> syrian government forces
1:01 pm
break through to two and encircle villages and cut off supply routes from turkey. a policewoman is killed in a gun attack in jerusalem. president obama pays his first visit to a mosque an in the presidential campaign. >> i'm robin adams in doha. we have all the big sports stories for you. neymar's tax fraud case. >> after three days of talks about talks, representatives are heading home about geneva. they want to see results from
1:02 pm
the political negotiations. >> to bring a temporary pause, temporary pause. it's note the failure of the talks. they came and they stayed. both sides insisted on the fact that they are interested in having political process started. >> we listen to what they had to say in geneva, and explain what he expects besides the different elements in all of this to do during this three week break. what they have to come up with before they can come back? >> they really want to see the international actors, the stakeholder, saudi arabia, russia, the u.s. to do more to try to get both sides of the syrian conflict to the point where these negotiations can take off. they insist that these talks
1:03 pm
have started, but the last few days over and over again we heard from the regime and the opposition that they do not believe that the talks have started. the mutual distrust really was at record levels. they're being critical, they haven't done more to insure that the suffering of the syrian people haven't been alleviated at a time when these talks were started. the u.n. resolution, the stipulations within that resolution hadn't come to pass. bombardments were still going on. and humanitarian corridors had not been created, and political prisoners had not been released. they said that the syrian people need to see that these actors are doing more to try to help them. and i think that's really at the heart of the frustration. they're saying that really nothing can happen until these
1:04 pm
governments that are supporting one side or the other do more to make sure that those sides, they need to feel that these talks have been started. >> i think i have to add to that, that he did say, i am not frustrated when he was asked about what was going on. i've been a diplomat long enough, i've been in this business long enough not to be disappointed. i'm determined that he said i'm realistic. so what does he expect from the security council-- >> president obama now speaking at the islamic society of baltimore. his first visit as president to an u.s. mosque. let's go and listen in. >> devotion to your faith, your education, and service to others, you're an inspiration, and you're going to be a
1:05 pm
fantastic doctor. i suspect that your parents are here because they wanted to see you, where are your parents? [applause] good job, mom. she did great, didn't she? she was terrific. to everyone here at the islamic society of baltimore, thank you for welcoming me here today. i want to thank muslim american leaders from across this city and this state, and some who traveled even from out of state to be here. i want to recognize john sarbannes, who is here as well as congressmen keith ellison, from the great state of minnesota and congressman andre carson from the great state of indiana.
1:06 pm
[applause] this mosque like many in our country is an all-american story. you've been part of this city for half a century. you serve thousands of families. some who have been here for decades as well as immigrants who come to this country and work to become proud citizens. now a lot of americans have never visited a mosque. to the folks watching today who haven't, think of your own church or synagogue or temple, and a mosque like this will be very familiar. this is where families come to worship to express their love for god and each other. there is a school where teachers open young minds. kids play baseball, football, basketball, boys and girls, i hear they're pretty good.
1:07 pm
[ laughing ] cub scouts, girl scouts, they meet, you build bridging of understanding with other faith communities, christians and jews. there's a help point of those who meet for their faith. as voters you come here to meet candidates. as one of your members said look at the way we live. we are true americans. so the first thing i want to say is two words that muslim americans don't hear often enough. that is thank you. thank you for serving your community. thank you for lifting up the lives of your neighbors, and for helping to keep us strong and united as one american family. [applause]
1:08 pm
we are grateful for that. that brings me to the other reason why i wanted to come here. as muslim communities across our country, this is a time of concern and a time of some fear. like all americans, you're worried about the threat of terrorism, but on top of that, as muslim americans, you also have another concern, and that is your entire community so often is targeted or blamed for the violent acts of the very few. muslim american communities remain relatively small. there are 7 million in this country. as a result most americans do not know or at least don't know that they know a muslim personally. as a result, many only here about muslims or islam in the
1:09 pm
news after an act of terrorism or in the distorted media portrayals in tv or film, all of which gives this hugely distorted impression. and since 9/11, but more recently since the attacks in paris and san bernardino, you've seen too often people conflating the horrific acts of terrorism with the beliefs of an entire faith. inexcusebly we've heard political rhetoric against muslim americans that has no place in our country. no surprise then that threats and harassments against muslim americans have surged. here at this mosque twice last year threats were made against your children. around the country, women
1:10 pm
wearing the hijab have been targeted. we've seen children bullied, we've seen mosques vandalized. sikh-americans and others who are perceived to be muslims have been targeted as well. i just had a chance to meet with some extraordinary muslim americans across the country, who are doing all sorts of work. some of them are doctors. some of them are community leaders, religious leaders, all of them were doing extraordinary work. not only in the muslim community, but in the american community, and they're proud of their work in business, education, and on behalf of the social justice, the environment and education. i should point out they're all much younger than me, which is happening more frequently these days. [ laughing ]
1:11 pm
and you couldn't help but be inspired about the extraordinary work they're doing. but you could also not help being heartbroken to hear of their worries and anxieties. some of them are parents, and they talked about how their children were asking, are we going to be forced out of the country? are we going to be rounded up? why do people treat us like that? conversations that you shouldn't have to have with children, not in this country. not at this moment. that's an anxiety echoed in letters i get from muslim americans from around the country. i've had people write to me and say, i feel like i'm a second-class citizen. i've had mothers write and say,
1:12 pm
my heart cries every night thinking about how our daughter might be treated at school. a girl from ohio, 13 years old, told me, i'm scared. a girl from texas, signed her letter, a confused 14-year-old trying to find her place in the world. these are children just like mine, and the notion that they would be filled with doubt and questioning about their place in this great country of ours. at a time when it's hard enough, it's hard being a teenager already. that's not who we are. we're one american family. when any part of our family starts to feel separate or second class or targeted it tears at the very fabric of our nation.
1:13 pm
[applause] it's a challenge to our values, and that means that we have much work to do. we've got to tackle this head on. we have to be honest and clear about it. and we have to speak out. this is a moment when as americans we have to live to each other and learn from each other, and i believe it has to come from a common understanding of some basic facts. and i express these facts, although they be obvious to many of the people in this--in this place because, unfortunately, it is not facts that are communicated on a regular basis through our media. let's start with this fact. for more than a thousand years people have been drawn to
1:14 pm
islam's message of peace. and the very word itself islam comes from salam, peace. the standard greeting is peace be upon you. like many faiths, islam is rooted in compassion, mercy, justice and charity. whoever wants to enter paradise, the prophet muhammad taught, let him treat people the way he would like to be treated. [applause] for christians like myself, i'm assuming that that sounds familiar. [ laughing ] the world's 1.6 billion muslims are as diverse as humanity themselves. they are arabs, africans, brazilians, nigerians, bangladeshi, they're white,
1:15 pm
brown, black, there is a large african-american muslim community. that diversity is represented here today. a 14-year-old boy in texas, who is muslim, wrote when he said we just want to live in peace. here is another fact. islam is always been part of america. starting in colonial times many of the slaves brought here from africa were muslim, and even in their bondage some kept their faith alive. a few even won their freedom and became known to many americans. when enshining the freedom of religion in our constitution and our bill of rights, our founders meant what they said it applied to all religions. back then muslims were often called mohammeditans. and thomas jefferson explained,
1:16 pm
in the religious statute for virginia that he wrote was designed to protect all faiths. i'm quoting thomas jefferson, the jew and the christian, the gentile and the mohammeditan. [applause] jefferson and john adams had their own copies of the qur'an. benjamin franklin wrote that even if the mufti of constanti constantinople. he would find a pulpit at his service. [applause] this is not a new thing. generations of muslim-americans helped to build our nation. they were part of the flow of immigrants who became farmers and merchants. they built america's first mosque, surprisingly enough, in
1:17 pm
north dakota. [ laughing ] america's oldest surviving mosque is in iowa. the first islamic center in new york city was built in the 1890s. muslim americans worked on henry ford's assembly line cranking out cars. a muslim-american designed the skyscrapers of chicago. in 1957 when dedicating the islamic center in washington, d.c. president eisenhower said i should like to assure you my islamic friends under my american constitution and in american hearts this place of worship is just as welcomed as any other religion. [applause] and perhaps the most pertinent
1:18 pm
fact, muslim americans enrich our lives today in every way. there are neighbors, the teachers who inspire our children. the doctors who trust us with our health, future doctors, there are scientists who winnow bell prizes. young entrepreneurs who create technologies that we use all the time. they're the sports heroes that we cheer for like muhammad ali and kareem abdul jabar and hakeem olajuwon. and in the next olympics one of the americans will be a fencing champion wearing her hijab. and if mohammed, if he's here today, stand up. i told her to bring home the gold.
1:19 pm
[applause] not putting pressure on you. muslim americans keep us safe. there are police and firefighters. they're our homeland security and in our intelligence community. they serve honorbly in our armed forces, meaning they fight and bleed and die for our freedom. some rest in arlington national cemetery. [applause] so muslim-americans are some of the most resilient and patriotic americans you'll ever meet. we have some of our proud muslim-american service members here today. please stand so we can thank you for your service. [applause]
1:20 pm
so part of the reason i want to layout these facts is because, and the discussions that i was having these incredibly accomplished young people, you know, they're pointing out that so often they felt invisible. part of what we had to do is to lift up--lift up the contributions of the muslim american community, not when there is a problem, but all the time. our television shows should have some muslim characters that are unrelated to national security. [applause] because it's not that hard to
1:21 pm
do. there was a time when there were no black people on television. and you can tell good stories while still representing the reality of our communities. now, we do have another fact that we have to acknowledge. even as the overwhelming majority, and i repeat, the overwhelming majority muslims embrace islam as a source of peace. it is undeniable a small faction of muslims--groups like al-qaeda, isil, they're not the first in history to misuse god's name. we've seen it before across faiths. but right now there is an
1:22 pm
organized extremist element that draws selectively from islamic texts, twist them to justify their killing and their terror. they combine it with false claims that america and the west are at war with islam. and this warped thinking that has been found around the world, including boston, chattanooga, and san bernardino, it is real. it is there. and it creates tensions and pressure that disproportionately burden the majority of law-abiding muslim citizens. the question is how do we move forward together? how do we keep our country strong and united? how do we defend ourselves
1:23 pm
against organizations that are bent on killing innocence? it can't be the work of any one faith alone. it can't be just a burden on the muslim community. although the muslim community has to play a role. we all have responsibilities. so with the time i have left i want to suggest a few prints that i believe can guide us. first, at a time when others are trying to divide us along lines of religion or sect we have to reaffirm that most fundamental of truths. we are all god's children. we're all born equal with inherent dignity. so often we focus on our outward differences, and we forget how much we share. christians, jews, muslims, we're all under our faiths descendants of abraham.
1:24 pm
so mere tolerance of religions is not enough. we must embrace our common humanity. all mankind, the qur'an teaches, we've made you peoples and tribes that you may know one another. [applause] so all of us have the task of expressing our religious faith in a way that seeks to build bridges rather than to divide. second, as americans we have to stay true to our core values, and that includes freedom of religion for all faiths. i already mentioned our founders like jefferson knew that religious liberty is essential not only to protect religion, but because religion helps strengthen our nation.
1:25 pm
if it is free. if it is not an extension of the state. part of what has happened in the middle east and north africa and other places where we see sectarian violence is religion being a tool for another agenda, for power, for control. freedom of religion helps to prevent that, both ways. protects religious faiths, protects the state from--or those who want to take over the state, from using religious animosity as a tool for their own ends. that doesn't mean that those of us with religious faith should not be involved. we have to be active citizenry. but we have to respect the fact that we have freedom of religion. remember, many preachers and
1:26 pm
pastors fought to abolish the evil of slavery. people of faith advocated to improve conditions of labor and abolish child labor. many challenges us to live up to our ideals. that civil activism, that civic participation that is the essence of our democracy, it is enhanced by freedom of religion. now, we have to acknowledge that there have been times that we have fallen short of our ideals. by the way, thomas jefferson's opponents tried to stir things up by suggesting he was a musl muslim. so i was not the first-- [applause] no, it's true. it's true. look it up. i'm in good company.
1:27 pm
but that's not the first time that the tactic has been used. mormon communities have been attacked throughout our history. catholics, jfk, when he ran for president, he was accused that he was disloyal. there was suggestions that he would take orders from the pope as opposed to holding up his constitutional duties. anti-semitism in this country has a sad and long history. jews were excluded routinely from colleges, professions and from public office. and so if we're serious about freedom of religion, and i'm speaking now to my fellow christians, who remain the majority in this country, we have to understand that attack on one faith is an attack on all our faiths. [applause]
1:28 pm
and when any religious group is targeted, we all have a responsibility to speak up. and we have to reject a politics that seeks to manipulate prejudice or bias and targets people because of religion. we've got to make sure that the hate crimes are punished, and that the civil rights of all americans are upheld. [applause] and just as faith leaders including muslims must speak out when christians are persecuted around the world. [applause] or when anti-semitism is on the rise because the fact is that there are christians who are targeted now in the middle east. despite having been there for centuries. and there are jews who have lived in places like france for
1:29 pm
centuries, who now feel obliged to leave because they feel themselves under assault. sometimes by muslims. we have to be consistent in condemning hateful rhetoric and violence against everyone, and that includes against muslims here in the united states of america. [applause] so, none of us can be silent. we can't be bystanders to bigotry. and together we've got to show that america truly protects all faiths. which brings me to my next point. as we protect our country from terrorism, we should not reinforce the ideas and rhetoric of the terrorists themselves. i often hear it said that we
1:30 pm
need more clarity in this fight. the suggestion is some how that if i would simply say these are all islamic terrorists, thin we would actually have solved the problem by now, apparently. well, i agree with actually do need moral clarity. let's have moral clarity. groups like isil are desperate for legitimacy. they try to portray themselves as religious leaders and holy warriors who speak for islam. i refuse to give them legitimacy. [applause] we must never give them that legitimacy. [applause] we're not--they're not--they're not defending islam. they're not defending muslims. the vast majority of people they kill are muslim men, women and children. [applause] and by the way, the notion that
1:31 pm
america is at war with islam ignores the fact that the world's religions are a part of who we are. we can't be at war with any other religion because the world's religions are a part of the very fabric of the united states, our national character. [applause] so the best way to fight terrorism is to deny these organizations legitimacy, and to show that here in the united states of america we do not suppress islam. we celebrate and lift up the success of muslim americans. that's how we show the lie that they're trying to propagate. we shouldn't play into terrorist propaganda. we can't suggest that islam itself is at the root of the problem. that betrays our values.
1:32 pm
it alienates muslim americans. it's hurtful to those kids who are trying to go to school. and remembers the boy scouts and are thinking about joining our military. that kind of mindset helps our enemies. it helps our enemies recruit. it makes us all less safe. so let's be clear about that. now finally, just as all americans have a responsibility to reject discrimination, i've said this before, muslims around the world have a responsibility to reject extremist ideologies that are trying to penetrate within muslim communities. here at this mosque and across
1:33 pm
our country and around the world muslim leaders are roundly and repeatedly and consistently condemning terrorism. around the globe muslims who dare to speak out often have been targeted and even killed. so those voices are there. we just have to amplify them more. [applause] and you know, it was interesting on the discussion i had when i came out, why is there always a burden on us when a young man in charleston shoots african-americans in a church, there is not an expectation that every white person in america is suddenly explaining they're not racist. everyone is assumed to be horrified by that act. i recognize that sometimes that doesn't feel fair. but part of the answer is to make sure that the muslim
1:34 pm
community in all of its variety, in all the good works that it is doing, all the talent that is on display, that it's visible on a consistent basis. not just at a certain moment. [applause] but what is also true is that there is a battle of hearts and minds that takes place--that is taking place right now, and american muslims are better positioned than anybody to show that it is possible to be faithful to islam and to be part of a pluralistic society and to be on the cutting edge of science, and to believe in democracy. so i would urge all of you not to see this as a burden but as a great opportunity and a great--a
1:35 pm
great privilege to show who you are. to use a little christian expression, let your light shi shine. because when you do, you'll make clear that this is not a clash of civillations between the west and islam. this is between the peace-lovi peace-loving, overwhelming majority of muslims aroun around the world, and a radical tiny minority. ultimately i'm confident that the overwhelming majority will win that battle. muslims will decide the future of your faith, and i'm confident in the direction that it will go. but across the islamic world
1:36 pm
influential voices should consistently speak out with affirmsive vision of their fai faith, and it's happening. these are the voices of muslim clerics who teach islam prohibits terrorism. the qur'an teaches that if a muslim kills than it is like killing all mankind. [applause] there are muslim teachers who point out the first word in the qur'an, to read, seek knowledge, to question assumptions. [applause] muslim political leaders have to push back on the lie that the west suppresses muslims and against conspiracy theories that says that america is the cause of every ill in the middle east. now, that doesn't mean that
1:37 pm
muslim-americans aren't free to criticize american u.s. foreign policy. that's part of being an american. i promise you, as president of the united states i'm mindful that that is a healthy tradition that is alive and well in america. [ laughing ] but as leaders everywhere, these leaders have been offering and need to continue to offer a positive vision for progress, that includes political and economic progress. we have to acknowledge that much of the violence in places like the middle east, it is now turning into fights between sects, shia, sunni and others, where differences are exploited to serve agendas and it is destroying muslim communities
1:38 pm
and families and there has to be global pressure to have the vision and courage to end this kind of thinking and this approach to organizing political power. it's not historically unique. it's happened in every part of the world from northern ireland to africa to asia to right here in the united states in the past. but it is something that we have to fight against. and we know its possible. across the history of islam different sects traditionally have lived and thrived together peacefully, and in many parts of the world they do today, including here in the united states. like people of all religions, muslims living their faith in a modern muralistic world are called upon to up hold human
1:39 pm
rights, that includes the aspirations of women and youth and all people. if we expect our own dignity to be respected, so must we respect the dignity of others. [applause] so let me conclude by saying that as muslim communities stand up for the future that you believe in, that you exhibit in your daily lives, as you teach your children, america will be your partner. we will--i will do everything i can to lift up the multiplicity of muslim voices that promote pluralism and peace. [applause] we will continue to reach out to young muslims around the world and empowering them with science, technology and entrepreneurship so they can
1:40 pm
pursue their god-given potential and help build up their communities and provide opportunity. that's why we'll continue to partner with muslim american communities to help build strong resilient communities. [applause] our values must guide us in this work. engagement must never be a cover for surveillance. we cannot b profiling groups of people. we can't securetize. we must build trust and mutual respect. that's how we'll keep our communities strong and united. as i was in discussion with
1:41 pm
young people before i came in here, i said this will be a process. law enforcement has a tough job. some of these groups are specifically trying to target muslim youth. we have to be partners in this process. there will be times where the relationship is clumsy or mishandled. but i want you to know that from the president to the fbi director to everybody in law enforcement, my directive and their understanding is that this is something we have to do together. if we don't do it well then we're not making ourselves safer. we're making ourselves less safe. here i want to speak to the young people who may be listening. in our lives we have many different identities. we're sons, daughters, brothers
1:42 pm
and sisters, we're classmates, cub scout troop members, we're followers of our faith, we're citizens of our country. and today there are voices in this world and over the internet who are constantly saying that you have to choose between your identities. as a muslim, for example, or an american. do not believe them. if you ever wonder if you fit in here, let me say it as clear as i can as president of the united states. you fit in here. right here. you're right where you belong. you're part of america, too. [applause] you're not muslim or american. you're muslim and american. [applause] don't go cynical.
1:43 pm
don't respond to a world-view that may suggest that you have to choose between your faith and your patriotism. don't believe you have to choose between your best impulses and some how embrace a world-view that pits us against each other or even worse, glorifies violence. understand your power to bring about change. stay engaged in your community. help move our country forward. your country forward. [applause] we're blessed to live in a nation that even though we may fall short we never stop striving towards our ideals. we keep moving closer to that perfect union. we're a country where if you work marched and play by the rules you can ultimately make
1:44 pm
it, no matter who you are or how you pray. it may not always start off even in the race, but here, more than any place else, there is an opportunity to run that race. as we go forward i want every muslim american to remember that you are not alone. your fellow americans stand with you, just as sabab and her friends when she decided to wear a hijab. that's not unusual. so often we hear about muslims after a terrorist take. so often we only hear about america's on to muslims after a hate crime has happened, we don't always here about the extraordinary respect and love and community that so many americans feel.
1:45 pm
i'm thinking about the seven-year-old boy in texas, who empties his piggy bank to help a mosque that had been vandalized. [applause] >> to all the faith communities who rallied around muslim americans after the tragedy at chapel hill. the churches and the synagogues standing shoulder to shoulder with their local music muslim mosques. or about the police officer who heard about a little muslim girl who was afraid sent her a note saying i will protect you. i want to hear about how muslim communities are standing up as well. there are muslims in kenya who save christians from terrorists.
1:46 pm
and there are muslim who is met in morocco to protect minorities, including christian and jews. plus plus the good people of this mosque helped the city move forward after the turmoil of last year. muslim americans across the country help african-americans rebuild after arson. muslim americans in boston who reached out to victims after the marathon bombing, and those who raised money for the families of san bernardino. the muslim americans in chattanooga who honor our fallen service members by saying in the name of god, in the name of abraham, moses and mohammed, got bless our fallen heroes. [applause] we are one american people we will rise and fall together. it won't always be easy.
1:47 pm
there will be times when our worst impulses are given voice, but i believe that ultimately our best voices will win out. that gives me confidence and faith in the future. after more than 200 years our blended heritage, the patchwork quilt which is america, that is not a weakness, that is one of our greatest strengths. it's what makes us a beacon to the world. it's what led--that mother who wrote to me, the one who worries about her young daughter, has led her to end her letter that despite her fears, i still believe in one nation under god, indivisible with liberty and justice for all.
1:48 pm
may god's peace be upon you. may god bless the united states of america. thank you very much, everyone. thank you. >> president obama wrapping up what seems to be an extremely well-received talk at the islamic society at baltimore. about a 45-minute talk. his first visit to a mosque here in the u.s. he has visited other mosques around the world. i'm challenging the faith community and broader community not to be bystanders to bigotry saying an attack on one faith is an attack on all faiths and challenging people to go beyond tolerance and to build bridges and embrace other faiths and other religions. mike viqueira is outside of the islamic society of baltimore. that was a pretty remarkable talk that seemed to be interrupted by applause at times. it seemed to be very personal at times. take it away. >> you know, i thought it was an optimistic speech.
1:49 pm
there is no question about it, richelle, reconciliation, calling for mutual respect among all parties concerned, appealing to the better nature of human kind, and basic american values of cooperation and respect of other creeds and other faiths. but at the same time i think a lot of this what the president has been saying and including this speech, and what brought him to baltimore to speak at the islamic society, frankly, is the fact that he's somewhat annoyed and maybe angry over some of the rhetoric he has heard last couple of months on the campaign trail, and in the wake of the attacks in paris and san bernardino. yes, a call for reconciliation, and a call for empathy. here is more of what the president said just a few moments ago. >> you also could not help but be heartbroken to hear their worries and their anxieties. some of them are parents, and they talked about how their
1:50 pm
children were asking, are we going to be forced out of the country? are we going to be rounded up? why do people treat us like that? conversations that you shouldn't have to have with children. not in this country. >> and so the president again--what drives him to this mosque here today, what really propelled him, first of all, the calls by muslim leaders. many came to the white house to talk with the president and his top aides, urging him to do something about this, the rhetoric of phobia over the last several months. he really got the crowd going telling younger muslims in this country, you fit in here. you don't have to choose. it's not a binary choice between being an muslim or american. you're a muslim and american. asking them not to listen to the
1:51 pm
calls of the opponents in the united states like isil who use the rhetoric to drive them into the arms or make them more sympathetic to the message given by many of these groups. fascinating speech, richelle. whether it will change minds, whether it will take a qualitative difference in the lives of those who have felt this discrimination over the past several months, years, generations it remains to be seen. one tends to doubt it. >> i'll bring someone else in to this discussion to talk about the president's visit. the director of muslim life at georgetown university, and imam, we appreciate your time so much. first i want your reaction to what the president has just said. >> well, thank you for having me. well, as an american, and as a muslim, i am--i was about to cry. you know, for the first time, and i've been waiting for months
1:52 pm
for the president to speak the way he did. you know, he now is setting the tone for america and for politicians that american-muslims are here to stay. american-muslims are part of the fabric of america. i love the statement in which he started. one american family. we're all in this together. jews, christians, and muslims, buddhist and hindus and others. what makes america great is that we're all included regardless of religion, regardless of race, regardless of ethnicity, regardless of color of skin. in a way he spoke to america, he spoke to american muslim who is have felt alienated, excluded, dehumanized, disrespected by the kind of message american muslims hear on tv often by people running for public office. that this is not the america
1:53 pm
that our forefathers wanted and designed. this is not the america that we all want to have. we are all in this together. the way he spoke about american muslims, their history from day one that almost 30% of the slaves who came to america were muslims. american muslims contributed from day one to the making of america. and they continue to do that. it's through education, health, economy, business, trade, we contribute through our doctors and engineers, our service men and women, our men and women are out there protecting america from every walk of life, and from every shape, and form. i needed to hear that message. and i believe he skillfully challenged the media tactfully
1:54 pm
and the butte i of america, urging america to reclaim the american soul that some of us have lost. the american soul is about we're all in this together. one nation under god, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all, including american muslims. i heard that. american-muslims heard that. we need that message of confirmation. a message that some of our youth have not heard. my own daughter, a drum major in her high school, have been told to go back to your country. another daughter of mine, a basketball player, has been told to go back to your country. my kids are american. they were born in america. they drew up in america. and go back where? go back to america. we pray that the message that the president got to the heart of america today, and i'm optimistic that it will change
1:55 pm
hearts, minds, and souls. >> imam hindi, that was a wonderful wrap up. you covered all the points that i should be doing here, but they clearly touched you, and thank you for your reaction. stay there for just a moment. i'll go out to mike viqueira. the imam, as you can see, as you can hear, is very optimistic about what the president had to say. let's play one more clip of the president, and then we'll come back to you, mike. >> the best way for us to fight terrorism is to deny these organizations legitimacy, and to show that here in the united states of america we do not suppress islam. we celebrate and lift up the success of news limb americans. that's how we show the lie that they're trying to propagate. we shouldn't play in to terrorist propaganda. >> now mike, the reality of politics is that there are obviously members of the other party who will agree with president obama's take on how to address isil and some of the
1:56 pm
comments that he made. so going forward how do you think this is going to be received? >> well, you know, i agree with the imam. i said it myself when we started talking about this, it was an optimistic message, no doubt about it. i think its constructive to compare how president obama has spoken about these issues, and the tone that he took initially in the wake of the paris attacks and the san bernardino attacks, where he lashed out in a visceral and angry way at many of the people who were engaging in islamophobia and anti--muslim rhetoric in the wake of those attacks. i'm thinking in particular at the g-20 in ankara, turkey, when he was meeting with world leaders, lashing out, that angry statement that he made. i think the criticism that he got and that the white house got about the tone is really reflected in the subsequent speeches and remarks that he has made at the state of the union, and elsewhere culminating in
1:57 pm
this very important address that he gave here today just outside of baltimore, richelle. >> imam hindi, if i can bring you back into this discussion. there was a moment where the president was walking this fine line. he said, i understand that muslim also say to me, why is it i have to speak for an entire group of people when somebody does something bad? and somebody, for example, nobody white has to speak when all of the shootings happen at the church in south carolina. do you think that was an important point for him to make? did that resonate with you? >> that was a very profound point to make. american-muslims have been forced to apologize for the acts of every muslim around the world. his message was very on, that to fight terrorism and extremism in the name of islam, we do not need to target an entire faith community or an entire religion. islam is a religion of peace.
1:58 pm
it is a religion of compassion and goodness, and let us allow muslims and work with muslims to fight extremism and terrorism. going after muslims does not help our fight that we need to win. >> all right, he also gave a bit of a history listen. how much do you think people learned today from what the president was saying? >> i know i have learned a lot of things i did not know about thomas jefferson that i got to learn today. there is much more to what american muslims have done for america that america needs to know about. how many people know that george washington's first treaty was with the king of morocco? how many americans know that the first ship to have arrived to the coast of america after our independence was with the name of sultana from the gulf of oman. muslims have been part of the history of america p we just
1:59 pm
need to teach that to american-muslims and the rest of america. my fellow muslims, we are here because we love how america is a country by all, for all, and we don't want to change america to become muslims. we're happy the way america is, very diverse, very pluralistic, very respectful of all. >> imam hindi, thank you very much for your comments and reactions to what the president had to say. it remains to be seen what sort of impact this will have on the larger community, but the president challenging the american community to embrace all of who america is, that includes every religion, not just your religion, and not to be bystanders to bigotry, and it is on all americans, anyone of any faith to speak out when one religion, particularly when muslims are attacked. it will be interesting to see how these comments play out with
2:00 pm
the president making his first visit to a mosque here in the united states. keep it here on al jazeera. >> it did not end, end, and it is not a failure, the talks. >> u.n. syrian envow announces a three-week pause in the talks. hello there, i'm felicity barr. you're watching al jazeera live from london. also coming up, three poisons shot dead after carrying out a stabbing attack. on his first visit to an