BALTIMORE (KGO) --Seven years into President Barack Obama's presidency and he marked a first on Wednesday when he visited a mosque in the United States.
Obama does not another election and this is his final year in office, so he's stepping into a touchy issue and condemning Islamophobia.
The president spoke at the Islamic Society of Baltimore mosque. He has visited mosques in other parts of the world, but never in the United States.
Analysts say this gesture is difficult. A CNN poll in September found 29 percent of Americans believe he is Muslim and that number jumps to 43 percent for Republicans.
But on Wednesday, the president was unequivocal. "The first thing I want to say is two words that Muslim-Americans don't hear often enough and that is thank you. Thank you for serving your community, thank you for lifting up the lives of your neighbors and for helping keep us strong and united as one American family."
Obama said Muslims shouldn't have to live in fear.
Back in September, a 14-year-old Muslim boy showed his teacher his home-made clock and ended up in handcuffs for his invention after it was mistaken for a bomb.
And in December, a Castro Valley woman allegedly threw coffee in the face of a Muslim man who was praying at Lake Chabot Regional Park.
In the presidential race, Republican candidate Donald Trump wants to temporarily ban Muslims from the U.S. Without naming Trump, the president said to his Muslim audience: "You're right where you belong. You're part of America, too."