President Obama will make the first visit during his presidency to a U.S. mosque, the White House announced Saturday[January 30, 2016], part of the administration’s push to promote religious tolerance at a time when rhetoric linking Islam with terrorism is growing. It’s actually the first time any president has visited a Muslim religious facility on American soil in U.S history.

The president is making the visit “to celebrate the contributions Muslim Americans make to our nation and reaffirm the importance of religious freedom to our way of life,”  a White House official wrote in an email Saturday.

“The President believes that one of our nation’s greatest strengths is our rich diversity and the very idea that Americans of different faiths and backgrounds can thrive together – that we’re all part of the same American family. 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.”