President Obama compares anti-Muslim rhetoric to historic persecution of Mormons

Posted at 9:26 PM, Feb 03, 2016
and last updated 2016-02-04 11:01:14-05

During his first visit to a mosque in the United States while in office, President Barack Obama compared the anti-Muslim rhetoric to the historic persecution of Mormons.

“Mormon communities have been attacked throughout our history...We have to understand that an attack on one faith is an attack on all our faiths," President Obama said.

"I agree with every word he said," said Ed Firmage, a Mormon historian and author of the book "Zion in the Courts."

However, Firmage warns about taking too literal an interpretation regarding the remarks.

"I agree with it, but, if you push that metaphor, like any other metaphor, you're in grave danger," he said. "Reasoning from a metaphor is very dangerous."

Firmage acknowledges a bloody history for members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, but he said for Muslims, the bloodshed stretches back much further into history.

"The Muslim tradition goes back so long and Mormons don't...The Muslims have suffered so much more violence than we ever did," Firmage said.

Muslim or Mormon, the comparison may not be exact, but the message of tolerance for all, Firmage believes is universal.

"I think Tom Monson would say that, I surely say that, the president is saying that, and I agree with him," Firmage said, referring to the President of the LDS Church, Thomas S. Monson, as well as President Obama.