Muslims are our friends, neigbhours, says Obama

President Barack Obama used his Sunday
night address on terrorism to reassure the
American people that the San Bernardino
shootings last week appear to be an isolated
incident, despite one of the killers pledging
allegiance to ISIS.
The president firmly dismissed a change in
strategy in the war against the extremists that
would require combat troops on the ground in
Iraq and Syria.
And while the terrorist group is made up of
‘thugs and killers’ and is part of a ‘cult of
death’, he again refused to call them ‘radical
Islamic terrorists’.
“Americans must not take out their grievances
with the fanatics on followers of Islam”, he
said.
“Muslim Americans are our friends and our
neighbors are coworkers, our sports heroes.
And yes, they are our men and women in
uniform who are willing to die in defense of
our country,” the president said, speaking from
the Oval Office. “We have to remember that,”
he added.
He also called on Congress to pass legislation
barring individuals on the no-fly list from
purchasing guns.
The symbolic use of the Oval Office was an
attempt by Obama to set a tone of political
gravitas equal to the moment after repeated
accusations that he underestimated the threat
from ISIS and was too slow to identify the San
Bernardino mass murder as domestic
terrorism.
In only the third Oval address, Obama
declared the killings an ‘act of terrorism’ and
said the perpetrators went down the ‘dark
path of radicalization’.
But there is ‘no evidence’ they were directed to
commit the murders by a specific terrorist
group nor is the United States under threat of
an imminent attack, he said.
The FBI is still ‘gathering the facts’, Obama
declared, but that much is known.
Syed Farook, a 28-year-old American, and
Tashfeen Malik, his 29-year-old wife born in
Pakistan – both Muslims – carried out the
massacre which left 14 dead and 21 injured.
The duo were killed in a police stand-off.
Malik is said to have pledged allegiance to
ISIS on Facebook at the time of the rampage.
The FBI is investigating the shooting spree as
a terrorist attack, it said Friday.
Addressing the United States’ campaign to
debilitate ISIS this evening Obama said: “We
cannot turn against one another by letting this
fight be defined as a war between America and
Islam. That too is what groups like ISIL want.
ISIL does not speak for Islam.”
ISIS, he said, using an alternative reference to
the group, ISIL, makes up a ‘tiny fraction’ of
the billions of Muslims around the world –
millions of whom ‘reject their hateful
ideology’.
“That does not mean denying the fact that an
extremist ideology has spread within some
Muslim communities,” Obama said. “This is a
real problem that Muslims must confront,
without excuse.”
Muslim leaders must vocally reject any twisted
interpretation of Islam such as the one
pronounced by ISIS, he said. “But just as it is
the responsibility of Muslims around the world
to root out misguided ideas that lead to
radicalization, it is the responsibility of all
Americans – of every faith – to reject
discrimination,” Obama argued.
Leading Republican presidential candidate
Donald Trump tore into Obama on Twitter
during his remarks and said afterward, ‘Is that
all there is? We need a new President –
FAST!”
“Well, Obama refused to say (he just can’t say
it), that we are at WAR with RADICAL ISLAMIC
TERRORISTS.”

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