I’m unsure if the president understands that hearing things you don’t like does not constitute an attack on freedom. People say ugly things all the time. No crime is acceptable, but Muslims have experienced far fewer hate crimes than blacks, Jews, or gays. Any way you want to parse the numbers there is no epidemic of Islamophobia.
But Obama likes to create the impression that some great injustice is occurring here.
Take this CNN headline: “Obama rebuts anti-Muslim rhetoric in first U.S. mosque visit.” What does it mean? In the piece, we learn that president reacted to “young Muslim parents whose children are worried about being removed from the country.” I know of no Republican candidate — or anyone of note on the Right; or anywhere else for that matter — who has ever suggested any policy resembling this. Not even Donald Trump.
A president who wanted to bring people together would have dismissed this as a preposterous idea. He would have explained that no one in American politicians is plotting to kick Muslims out of the country. He could have pointed out that in the United States, these children will enjoy more religious freedom than any Islamic nation offers; free of virtually any religious or factional violence. But that in this country, people still have the freedom to be critical of each other’s beliefs and even denounce them. A freedom that’s a lot more useful than dangerous notions about “tolerance.”