Homeland Security Watch

News and analysis of critical issues in homeland security

March 21, 2016

President Obama’s visit to a mosque

Filed under: General Homeland Security,Radicalization,Resilience — by Arnold Bogis on March 21, 2016

With the declining state of campaign rhetoric during this political season, especially as it concerns immigration, Islam, and terrorism, I thought it appropriate to bring attention back to President Obama’s visit to the Islamic Society of Baltimore last month.

If you missed it behind the sheer volume of campaign and other news, it is a speech worth reading or watching.  The President hits on several important homeland security topics, while at the same time resisting the urge to frame the speech in simple security terms.

As a reporter from the Washington Post described it:

President Obama Wednesday delivered the comforting sermon to U.S. Muslims that their community leaders have been requesting for years, framing Islam as deeply American and its critics as violating the nation’s cherished value of religious freedom. Obama’s comments came in his first visit as president to a U.S. mosque.

The historic 45-minute speech at a large, suburban Baltimore mosque was attended by some of the country’s most prominent Muslims. In what appeared to be a counter to the rise in Islamophobia, Obama celebrated the long history of Muslim achievement in American life from sports to architecture and described Muslims as Cub Scouts, soldiers and parents, pointing out the mother of the pre-med college student who introduced him at the podium.

“There are voices who are constantly claiming you have to choose between your identities…. Do not believe them…. You fit in here. Right here. You’re right where you belong. You’re part of America, too,” Obama said, his volume rising as he said he was speaking in particular at that moment to young Muslim Americans. “You’re not Muslim or American, you’re Muslim and American. And don’t grow cynical.”

You can read the text of the speech at the White House website here:

https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2016/02/03/remarks-president-islamic-society-baltimore

Or you can watch it below:

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5 Comments »

Comment by William R. Cumming

March 22, 2016 @ 4:10 am

YES! It was an important speech! But IMO not just Islam but many other “western” religions do not at their core promote FREEDOM OF RELIGION and/or EQUAL RIGHTS FOR WOMEN.

Thus, at their core they oppose the Constitution’s 1st Amendment.

Please everyone continue to vote even if choices may be a disaster. Why? I believe a record low voter turnout in November.

Am I correct that Christianity now largely a PACIFIST religion while Islam militant?

Comment by William R. Cumming

March 22, 2016 @ 4:18 am

Rome a largely Pagan Empire until Emperor Constantine. Adopting a state religion {Christianity] to save Rome may have helped lead to his division and demise. But before Constantine [In Hoc Vinces] there was Diocletian whose geographic line drawings seem to still be of influence.

Wiki Extract:

Diocletian (/?da?.??kli???n/; Latin: Gaius Aurelius Valerius Diocletianus Augustus), born Diocles (245–311),[3][5] was a Roman emperor from 284 to 305. Born to a family of low status in the Roman province of Dalmatia, Diocletian rose through the ranks of the military to become cavalry commander to the Emperor Carus. After the deaths of Carus and his son Numerian on campaign in Persia, Diocletian was proclaimed emperor. The title was also claimed by Carus’ other surviving son, Carinus, but Diocletian defeated him in the Battle of the Margus. Diocletian’s reign stabilized the empire and marks the end of the Crisis of the Third Century. He appointed fellow officer Maximian as Augustus, co-emperor, in 286.

Diocletian delegated further on 1 March 293, appointing Galerius and Constantius as Caesars, junior co-emperors. Under this ‘tetrarchy’, or “rule of four”, each emperor would rule over a quarter-division of the empire. Diocletian secured the empire’s borders and purged it of all threats to his power. He defeated the Sarmatians and Carpi during several campaigns between 285 and 299, the Alamanni in 288, and usurpers in Egypt between 297 and 298. Galerius, aided by Diocletian, campaigned successfully against Sassanid Persia, the empire’s traditional enemy. In 299 he sacked their capital, Ctesiphon. Diocletian led the subsequent negotiations and achieved a lasting and favorable peace.

Diocletian separated and enlarged the empire’s civil and military services and reorganized the empire’s provincial divisions, establishing the largest and most bureaucratic government in the history of the empire. He established new administrative centres in Nicomedia, Mediolanum, Antioch, and Trier, closer to the empire’s frontiers than the traditional capital at Rome had been. Building on third-century trends towards absolutism, he styled himself an autocrat, elevating himself above the empire’s masses with imposing forms of court ceremonies and architecture. Bureaucratic and military growth, constant campaigning, and construction projects increased the state’s expenditures and necessitated a comprehensive tax reform. From at least 297 on, imperial taxation was standardized, made more equitable, and levied at generally higher rates.

Not all of Diocletian’s plans were successful: the Edict on Maximum Prices (301), his attempt to curb inflation via price controls, was counterproductive and quickly ignored. Although effective while he ruled, Diocletian’s tetrarchic system collapsed after his abdication under the competing dynastic claims of Maxentius and Constantine, sons of Maximian and Constantius respectively. The Diocletianic Persecution (303–11), the empire’s last, largest, and bloodiest official persecution of Christianity, did not destroy the empire’s Christian community; indeed, after 324 Christianity became the empire’s preferred religion under its first Christian emperor, Constantine.

In spite of these failures and challenges, Diocletian’s reforms fundamentally changed the structure of Roman imperial government and helped stabilize the empire economically and militarily, enabling the empire to remain essentially intact for another hundred years despite being near the brink of collapse in Diocletian’s youth. Weakened by illness, Diocletian left the imperial office on 1 May 305, and became the first Roman emperor to abdicate the position voluntarily. He lived out his retirement in his palace on the Dalmatian coast, tending to his vegetable gardens. His palace eventually became the core of the modern-day city of Split in Croatia.

Comment by William R. Cumming

March 22, 2016 @ 4:27 am

The first great splinter of Rome as Empire occurred along lines drawn by Diocletian. Thus Rome visa a vis Byzantium?

Hitler wanted to create a Third Reich. Do you know the first two?

Have you heard of The American Empire project? Have you heard of Chalmers Johnson? Have you heard the term BLOWBACK?

Comment by William R. Cumming

March 22, 2016 @ 2:12 pm

Seems the US polity divided between “it can’t happen here” [Brussels] and “it can happen here”!

IMO the later is more honest and accurate.

Comment by Concerned Citizen

March 24, 2016 @ 7:42 pm

OPEN BORDER – WHILE ALL THIS DISCUSSION ABOUT ISLAM, LET’S TALK OPEN BORDER AND THIS OVAL OFFICE IS SIMPLY PERMITTING ANY AND ALL TO CROSS THE BORDER AND EVEN WITH CRIMINAL BACKGROUND SO UNTIL THIS NATION CLOSES ITS BORDERS AND TRULY VETTS ANY AND ALL COMING ACROSS, DOES ANYONE RALLY CARE WHAT THE DEMOCRATS OR REPUBLICANS ARE DOING AND YES, LOW VOTER TURNOUT WILLIAM BECAUSE T IS OBVIOUS THE SYSTEM IS SO, SO CORRUPT!

GOD BLESS AMERICA! A NATION WHICH ONC EXISTED AND FROM TH LOKS OF IT, A SOCIETY OF INTERNET ADDICTS AND LITTLE INFORMED AS TO REALITY OF LIFE AND WHAT IS REQUIRED TO MAINTAIN FREEDOM!

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