U.S. President Barack Obama adamantly held firm to his policy of avoiding the term “radical Islamic terrorism” Thursday on the final day of the White House conference on violent extremism.
told participants at the final day of the White House “Conference on Violent Extremism” that 60 nations, including Arab nations, have so far united in the coalition to “degrade and ultimately destroy” the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria terrorist organization, which Obama referred to as “ISIL” and which is also referred to as ISIS. In the Middle East and by some European nations the group is called “Daesh.”
“We all have a responsibility to ensure the security and human rights of our citizens,” Obama said. “A civil society is vital to the success of any country.”
Still unable to use the term “radical Islamic terror,” however, Obama said, “We are here today because we are united against violent extremism and terrorism… a coalition of 60 nations, including Arab nations, has united to degrade and ultimoately destroy ISIL in Iraq and Syria.”
Obama spent about 15 minutes listing all the different terror groups around the world dedicating to creating havoc, murder and mayhem in various countries. But few if any were without ties to radical Islam, although Obama was unable to force himself to make the point.
He did, however, finally correct an earlier omission and specify that it was 21 Egyptian Christian Copts who were targeted by Daesh for execution at the edge of the Mediterranean waters in Libya last weekend. He was also careful to note that Israelis have endured the scourge of terrorism for decades, adding a special mention of the terrorist sieges in Paris and Copenhagen in an almost surprising reference to anti-Semitism in Europe.
Nevertheless, he said, “I refuse the notion that groups like ISIL represent Islam… There is a complicated history between the Middle East and the West,” Obama said, “and none of us should be immune from specific criticism on policy… But the idea that the West is at war with Islam is an ugly lie. We should reject it.”
However, he added, “When necessary, the United States will continue to take action against Al Qaeda affiliates …. in Iraq and Syria. Our coalition will not relent in the mission to destroy ISIL.”
Governments around the world, he added, have the responsibility to “cut off funding to terrorist groups.” Carefully avoiding any reference to Iran, however, Obama instead said the United States will “work with the United Arab Emirates to create a new digital communications hub to counter terrorist propaganda.”