The head of a Messianic Jewish ministry believes it would be better if President Obama chooses to visit a Jewish synagogue this week instead an Islamic mosque.
Obama will meet Wednesday with Muslim leaders at the Islamic Society of Baltimore. While in the city, he will visit an American mosque for the first time since becoming president. The White House says he wants to "celebrate the contributions Muslim Americans make to our nation and reaffirm the importance of religious freedom to our way of life."
Jan Markell, founder and director of Olive Tree Ministries, tells OneNewsNow she is racking her brain to try to come up with anything positive that American Muslims have contributed.
"Going all the way back to our Founding Fathers, they were battling Muslim pirates on the seas of Tripoli," she points out. "I'm sure there are some patriotic Muslims, but I simply do not know what they've actually contributed in a significant way to our country."
While at the mosque, says the White House, the president "will reiterate the importance of staying true to our core values: welcoming our fellow Americans, speaking out against bigotry, rejecting indifference and protecting our nation's tradition of religious freedom."
Markell says she would rather see Obama visit a Jewish synagogue. "At least we share Judeo-Christian values with our Jewish brothers and sisters that I just don't see within Islamic tradition or faith," she explains.
The ministry leader also notes that Christians and Jews both worship the same God, Jehovah – not Allah, the god of Islam.
Perhaps overshadowing the historic nature of the visit, says Fox News, is the fact that the mosque the president has chosen to visit has "extremist ties." According to that report, the former imam at the Islamic Society of Baltimore has ties to the Muslim Brotherhood.
Fox News also quotes Zuhdi Jasser, of the American islamic Forum for Democracy, who argues that particular mosque isn't the best representative of tolerance in the faith community. "They are basically a radical, extreme mosque and is [sic] not representative of modern Muslims in America," Jasser said.