Barack Obama will make his first official visit as president to a United States mosque this Wednesday. 

According to the Baltimore Sun, Obama is making the trip at the suggestion of faith leaders as attacks and vitriol against Muslims and those percieved as Muslim surge. ”As the president has said, Muslim Americans are our friends and neighbors; our co-workers and sports heroes—and our men and women in uniform defending our country,” White House spokesman Keith Maley said. 

President Obama will speak with faith and community leaders at the Islamic Society of Baltimore and deliver remarks about religious freedom. A spokesman for the Council on American-Islamic Relations praised the decision, saying, “With the tremendous rise in anti-Muslim sentiment in our country, we believe that it will send a message of inclusion and mutual respect.”