Muslim Women Say Your Mosque Visit Is #TooLateObama

Dear President Obama,
On behalf of — myself, I would like to thank you for your visit to the Islamic Center in Baltimore and welcome you to the religion of peace known as Islam.
Though it is much appreciated, it’s about seven years overdue. That’s seven Ramadan missed opportunities, by the way. The announcement of the surprise visit has forced me to look back at your record concerning Muslims. I could not help but wonder why you would visit an American Mosque in the last year of your presidency.
Please do not tell me that Donald Trump got it right. Do not tell me that his years of accusing you of being a Muslim deterred you from making your presence at a single mosque in the United States.
Because if it did, that would make you a “self-hating” Muslim” in the greatest nation in the world in a group with an estimated two to four million dead Muslims on your hands.
Is it because last year, in 2015 alone, we hit the deadliest record for American Muslims? The Washington Post reported a staggering 63 recorded attacks on mosques. The numbers were only higher the year you took office in 2010, when there were 53 reported attacks against Islamic houses of worship.
Those 63 attacks are nearly triple what they were in 2014. Though Muslims are the target of that ugly hateful side of humanity, the unfortunate yin that must be appreciated in order to understand the yang, attacks on houses of worship are nothing original.
Having said that, I have a hard time believing that the numbers provoked some need to redeem yourself to the Muslim community.
In 2014, Muslims were the target of 154 hate crimes. While there are no total numbers of crimes on individuals in 2015 just yet, it’s not looking good, Mr. President, although the Huffington Post kept a running tally of reported hate crimes since the tragic Paris attacks through Dec. 16.
According to those reports, there were 80 crimes reported against Muslims within that time period. Maybe I can remind you of a few, like the shooting in Chapel Hill, N.C. where a newlywed couple was killed just a few days before Valentine’s Day.

Though you’ve made it habit to visit the families of the shooting victims — this family never got a visit. Of course, you’re the president of the United States. You cannot possibly visit all the families and victims of hate crimes.
Nevertheless, you are going to a Mosque so in addition to praying for the couple that I mentioned, perhaps you could pray for a few more, like a friend of yours, Muslim Congressman André Carson who reported death threats.
Or how about the woman wearing hijab who was cut off in traffic while stones were being thrown at her car in Tampa, Fla.?
Please don’t forget to pray for those praying in the park in California when a woman threw hot coffee on them.
Then there was the driver who was assaulted by his passengers while spewing accusations by calling him a “terrorist.”
It has taken you the last year of your term to finally visit an American Mosque — a religion that houses almost two billion people worldwide?
While in office, you’ve had the opportunity to watch the Palestinians in Gaza — Muslims and Christians working together in order to survive an open-air prison by sharing their mosques and their churches so that the community remains inclusive and respectful of each other’s differences.


Throughout history, they have always protected each other against the Zionist settlers that set fire to their churches and bulldoze their mosques.
Even the Muslims in Syria and Iraq are dying while they protect their Christian counterparts, because their faith teaches them tolerance, not terrorism.
Maybe the “dark side” has intrigued you. Perhaps this is your moment. Mabrook!


However, I’m not over the hundreds of Iraqi, Syrian, Palestinian and American children that were murdered under your watch while you claimed to be “tolerant.”

Did you miss that memo before you decided to send our boys and girls to their death? The American children that suited up, showed up and died under your command, because you chose not to stand up for Islam. You chose not to stand up for the children that served our country and died hoping for direction and a future. You might want to pray for them too.
Humility is the very essence of Islam. In its most basic form, it is a religion of choice with no compulsion. Everything is done in moderation and forgiveness is encouraged. Visiting a mosque as the leader of the free world only once in seven years is not moderation, but neglect.
Even so, I say, I hope you enjoyed your visit Mr. President — as I’m sure you are aware through your long contact with Muslims and clergymen of mosques, that the doors were always open for you.
They’ve been expecting your visit, albeit a very late one.
Best of luck in your future endeavors!
Shirin Zarqa-Lederman

P.S. I voted for you twice.
P.P.S. Both times I was sorely disappointed.
P.P.P.S. I too will be praying for the victims of your tenure because… see first P.S.

Image: Screengrab from NBC Video