Mooch also told the girls (most wearing headscarves and hijabs), “When I look out at all these young women, I see myself.”
Michelle Obama compared her struggle to succeed as a young black woman in America to the experience of British Muslim girls during a visit to in inner-city girls school in London.
The First Lady, who is visiting the UK for two days, and met with Prince Harry this morning, struggled to hold back tears as she gave an emotional speech to Mulberry School for Girls in London’s Tower Hamlets.
She said: “Girls like you inspire me and impress me every single day.
“When I look out at all these young women, I see myself. In so many ways your story is my story.”
She told the audience – including the whole school, many of whom are watching the speech live-streamed to the School sports hall, she grew up in a working class neighbourhood on the south side of Chicago, where people work hard to make ends meet.
She added: “My parents told me I could grow up to do anything – but only if I worked hard in school.”
Mrs Obama drew links between the experience of young black women in America to the struggles faced by British Muslim girls.
She said: “Maybe you see the news and see people talking about your religion, and wonder if anyone will ever see beyond your headscarf.”
The First Lady is visiting the UK with her mother and two teenage daughters, Malia and Sasha.
In her emotional speech, which was live streamed to the whole school, many of which watched from a nearby sports hall, she told the students they could accomplish anything if they worked hard.