In a brief Easter weekend radio address, President Obama vowed to decimate the self-proclaimed Islamic State, but he said the United States will do so by offering an example of freedom, tolerance and open society.
“I will stand with the Muslims should the political winds shift in an ugly direction.” – Barack Obama, from The Audacity Of Hope
“Our openness to refugees fleeing ISIL’s violence; our determination to win the battle against ISIL’s hateful and violent propaganda — a distorted view of Islam that aims to radicalize young Muslims to their cause,” are paramount in the fight, Obama told Americans during his weekly radio address.
Admitting entry to Syrian and Iraqi refugees has become a divisive issue in the U.S. as well as Europe, but Obama made clear he has no plan to back off his promise to admit 100,000 to the U.S. this year.
“We have to wield another weapon alongside our airstrikes, our military, our counterterrorism work, and our diplomacy,” Obama said. “And that’s the power of our example. Our openness to refugees fleeing ISIL’s violence. Our determination to win the battle against ISIL’s hateful and violent propaganda – a distorted view of Islam that aims to radicalize young Muslims to their cause.”
In his brief speech, Obama underscored that the United States’ has to engage Muslims as partners in the fight against terrorism. He took apparent shots at proposals by Republican presidential candidates. Donald Trump has called for barring Muslims from entering the United States. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas urged preemptively expanding police presence to “secure” Muslim neighborhoods, though American Muslim communities have been been a source of domestic terrorism.
In fighting their incendiary rhetoric, “our most important partners are American Muslims,” Obama stated. “That’s why we have to reject any attempt to stigmatize Muslim-Americans, and their enormous contributions to our country and our way of life. Such attempts are contrary to our character, to our values, and to our history as a nation built around the idea of religious freedom,” he said, repeating a theme he has sounded as anti-immigrant and anti-refugee rhetoric consumed the GOP presidential campaign trail.
“It’s also counterproductive. It plays right into the hands of terrorists who want to turn us against one another; who need a reason to recruit more people to their hateful cause,” Obama said before reiterating his determination to “degrade and destroy” the Islamic State, in light of an attack last week in Belgium. source