U.S. President Barack Obama said that no single religion was to blame for the rise of violent extremism in the 21st century, even as he exhorted nations across the world to join the fight against forces of terror that seek to exploit disillusioned youth through slick media campaigns and networks of indoctrination.
Speaking at the start of the White House-sponsored summit on “Countering Violent Extremism” here, Mr. Obama said, “The terrorists do not speak for over a billion Muslims who reject their hateful ideology. They no more represent Islam than any madman who kills innocents in the name of God represents Christianity or Judaism or Buddhism or Hinduism.”
Among the various examples of “good” Muslims who comprise the majority of the members of the religion were “Business leaders in India, with one of the world’s largest Muslim populations,” Mr. Obama said, and news media needed to give such persons more attention.
With the focus of the summit on providing a grassroots response worldwide to stem the rise of al-Qaeda and Islamic State (IS), the U.S. President said, “They do depend upon the misperception around the world that they speak in some fashion for people of the Muslim faith, that Islam is somehow inherently violent, that there is some sort of clash of civilisations.”
An Indian delegation headed by the Chairman of the Joint Intelligence Committee R.N. Ravi is among the numerous nations represented at the summit, notwithstanding the fact that no more than four Indian nationals are believed to have joined the ranks IS.
On Thursday, Mr. Obama reiterated the importance of tolerance toward all religions when he cited the 2012 attack against the Sikh temple near Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
He added that these terror groups were “desperate for legitimacy,” which they seek to obtain by portraying themselves as religious leaders or holy warriors in defence of Islam, and the notion that America — and the West, generally — was at war with Islam. “That’s how they recruit. That’s how they try to radicalise young people,” he said, adding that the U.S was not at war with Islam but with the people who have “perverted Islam.”