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Mosque to host Obama grew from tiny gathering to influential congregation

Mosque to host Obama grew from tiny gathering to influential congregation

When President Barack Obama steps shoeless into the prayer room at the Islamic Society of Baltimore on Wednesday, he'll be entering a mosque that began as a small Sunday gathering at the Johns Hopkins University but is now one of the largest and most influential Muslim communities in the Mid-Atlantic.

It will be Obama's first visit to an American mosque as president. The White House says the event, in which Obama is to participate in a roundtable discussion with community leaders, is designed to reinforce the ideal of religious tolerance at a time when anti-Muslim sentiment is growing.

"It's an opportunity for the president to celebrate the contributions of the...

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