Obama lamented the “distorted impression” that many Americans have of Muslims.
“Here in America, many people personally don’t know someone who is Muslim. They mostly hear about Muslims in the news — and that can obviously lead to a very distorted impression,” Obama said.
He shared the story of protesters outside of an Arizona mosque who held up “offensive signs against Islam and Muslims. But when the congregants invited the protesters in to pray, some completely changed their minds.
“One demonstrator, who accepted the invitation later, described how the experience changed him; how he finally saw the Muslim American community for what it is — peaceful and welcoming,” Obama said.
“That’s what can happen when we stop yelling and start listening. That’s why it’s so important always to lift up the stories and voices of proud Americans who are contributing to our country every day.”