Obama: ‘We Do Not Suppress Islam’

By Melanie Arter | February 3, 2016 | 2:52pm EST
President Barack Obama speaks to members of the Muslim-American community at the Islamic Society of Baltimore, Wednesday, Feb. 3, 2016, in Baltimore, Md. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

(CNSNews.com) – In a speech at a mosque in Baltimore, Md., on Wednesday, President Barack Obama said the best way to fight terrorism is to show that the U.S. does not “suppress Islam” and to deny legitimacy to terrorist organizations like the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) also known as ISIL.

“The best way for us to fight terrorism is to deny these organizations legitimacy and to show that here in the United States of America, we do not suppress Islam. We celebrate and lift up the success of Muslim-Americans. That’s how we show the lie that they’re trying to propagate,” Obama said.

 



“We shouldn’t play into terrorist propaganda, and we can’t suggest that Islam itself is at the root of the problem. That betrays our values,” he added.

As CNSNews.com previously reported, Obama’s visit to the Islamic Society of Baltimore is the first time the president has visited a mosque inside the United States.

Meanwhile, there is controversy surrounding the mosque itself, which reportedly has ties to the Islamic Society of North America or ISNA, which was started by members of the Muslim Brotherhood, a group banned in many countries as an extremist organization.

During Wednesday’s visit to the mosque, Obama challenged the idea that he should use the term “Islamic terrorists” when referring to ISIL.

“I often hear it said that we need moral clarify in this fight, and the suggestion is somehow that if I would simply say these are all Islamic terrorists then we would actually have solved the problem by now apparently. Well I agree we actually do need moral clarity,” he said.

“Let’s have some moral clarity. Groups like ISIL are desperate for legitimacy. They’re not defending Islam. They’re not defending Muslims. The vast majority of the people they kill are innocent Muslim men, women, and children,” Obama said.

Then the president dispelled the notion that the U.S. is at war with Islam, saying this can’t be true, because Islam is part of the “fabric” of America.

“And by the way, the notion that America’s at war with Islam ignores the fact that the world’s religions are a part of who we are. We can’t be at war with any other religion, because the world’s religions are a part of the very fabric of the United States, our national character,” Obama said.

“So the best way for us to fight terrorism is to deny these organizations legitimacy and to show that here in the United States of America, we do not suppress Islam. We celebrate and lift up the success of Muslim-Americans. That’s how we show the lie that they’re trying to propagate,” he said. “We shouldn’t play into terrorist propaganda, and we can’t suggest that Islam itself is at the root of the problem. That betrays our values.”

Obama also said the U.S. must not use “engagement with Muslim-American communities” as “a cover for surveillance.”

“Engagement with Muslim-American communities must never be a cover for surveillance. We can’t give in to profiling entire groups of people. There’s no one single profile of terrorists,” he said.

“We can’t securitize our entire relationship with Muslim-Americans. We can’t deal with you solely through the prism of law enforcement. We’ve got to build trust and mutual respect. That’s how to keep our communities strong and our communities united,” Obama said.

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