Barack Obama is making his first presidential visit to a U.S. mosque on Wednesday, but the historic occasion is being overshadowed by criticism that the Baltimore-area center he chose has extremist ties.
The controversy centers around the Islamic Society of Baltimore’s former imam, who has ties not only to the Muslim Brotherhood but the Northern Virginia mosque where the radical Anwar al-Awlaki used to preach.
“As a Muslim American I’m just insulted, this is disgraceful that this is one of the mosques — or the mosque — that he’s chosen to visit,” Zuhdi Jasser, of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy, told Fox News on Sunday. “This mosque is very concerning.”
Jasser says the Baltimore center is not the best representative of tolerance in the faith community. “[Obama] is visiting a mosque that [is] against our Muslim reform movement,” he charged. “Historically, as I said before, they are basically a radical, extreme mosque and is not representative of modern Muslims in America.”
This Islamic center had been previously monitored by the FBI as a breeding ground for terrorists, after arresting a member for plotting to blow up a federal building.
All of the mosques around the country and the president picks this one.