President Barack Obama marked the Muslim holy month of Ramadan by looking ahead to the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks next month and reminding Americans that Muslims were both victims and heroes that day.

The president made no mention of the men who hijacked four planes that day, or their religious beliefs. But his remarks at an Iftar dinner at the White House were meant to push back against any suggestion that because they were Muslims, other Muslims are tainted by their deadly actions.

Muslims, Mr. Obama said, were passengers on those planes and were at the Pentagon and working in the twin towers when they were struck. “They were cooks and waiters, but also analysts and executives,” he said. “They were taken from us much too soon.” Muslims, he said, were among the first responders and, later, among those who volunteered for military service—part of what he called the “9/11 generation.”

“Make no mistake, Muslim Americans help to keep us safe,” he said.

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