Follow U.S. example to integrate Muslims, Obama tells Europe

President Barack Obama listens as British Prime Minister David Cameron speaks during their joint news conference in the East Room of the White House on Friday.   | Photo Credit: Evan Vucci

U.S. President Barack Obama has said that Europe should take a cue from America and focus on better integration of Muslims in the mainstream society as vast majority of the community believes in “tolerance”.

“Our biggest advantage is that our Muslim populations, they feel themselves to be Americans. And there is this incredible process of immigration and assimilation that is part of our tradition that is probably our greatest strength,” Mr. Obama said on Friday.

“It doesn’t mean that we aren’t subject to the kinds of tragedies that we saw at the Boston Marathon. But that, I think, has been helpful,” he said.

Mr. Obama said there are parts in Europe where the situation is different and that is probably the reason the continent faces the “greatest danger”.

He said it was important for Europe not to simply respond with a “hammer and law enforcement and military” approaches to these problems.

“There also has to be a recognition that the stronger the ties of a Frenchman of North African descent to French values, French Republic, a sense of opportunity — that’s going to be as important, if not more important, in overtime solving this problem. And I think there’s a recognition of that across Europe, and it’s important that we don’t lose that,” he said.

Mr. Obama said a vast majority of Muslims believed in “tolerance” and in working together “to build rather than to destroy”.

“This is a problem that causes great heartache and tragedy and destruction, but it is one that ultimately we’re going to defeat. But we can’t just defeat it through weapons,” he said.

“One of the things that we spoke about is how do we lift up those voices that represent the vast majority of the Muslim world so that that counter-narrative against this nihilism is put out there as aggressively and as nimbly as the messages coming out from these fanatics,” Mr. Obama said.

“How do we make sure that we are working with local communities and faith leaders and families — whether in a neighbourhood in London or a neighbourhood in Detroit, Michigan — so that we are inoculating ourselves against this kind of ideology,” he said.

“That’s going to be slow, plodding, systematic work, but it’s work that I’m confident we’re going to be able to accomplish, particularly when we’ve got strong partners like the United Kingdom doing it,” Mr. Obama added.

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Printable version | Oct 24, 2020 4:38:27 AM |

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