In his address to the United Nations General Assembly on Wednesday, Barack Obama asserted that the United States is not fighting the religion of Islam in its efforts to stop the insurgency of the group known as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), because Islam, he said, is peaceful.
“[W]e have reaffirmed that the United States is not and never will be at war with Islam. Islam teaches peace,” he said to the gathering of world leaders in his sixth address before the UN. “Muslims the world over aspire to live with dignity and a sense of justice. And when it comes to America and Islam, there is no us and them—there is only us, because millions of Muslim Americans are part of the fabric of our country.”
“So we reject any suggestion of a clash of civilizations,” Obama continued. “Belief in permanent religious war is the misguided refuge of extremists who cannot build or create anything, and therefore peddle only fanaticism and hate. And it is no exaggeration to say that humanity’s future depends on us uniting against those who would divide us along fault lines of tribe or sect, race or religion.”
In calling for other nations to take a stand against the barbaric group ISIS, also known as ISIL, Obama again repeated his assertion that the violent philosophies of the Islamic organization are not characteristic of any religion.
“No God condones this terror,” he contended. “There can be no reasoning, no negotiation, with this brand of evil. The only language understood by killers like this is the language of force. So the United States of America will work with a broad coalition to dismantle this network of death.”
Obama then outlined a plan for defeating ISIS, including cutting off funding to the group, and creating an interfaith alliance.
“That means bringing people of different faiths together,” he explained. “All religions have been attacked by extremists from within at some point, and all people of faith have a responsibility to lift up the value at the heart of all religion: do unto thy neighbor as you would have done unto you.”
“Next year, we should all be prepared to announce the concrete steps that we have taken to counter extremist ideologies—by getting intolerance out of schools, stopping radicalization before it spreads, and promoting institutions and programs that build new bridges of understanding,” Obama continued.
This is not the first time that the president has asserted that ISIS is not representative of the Muslim faith. As previously reported, in his speech to the nation on September 10th, Obama made similar statements that left some scratching their heads.
“Now let’s make two things clear: ISIL is not Islamic,” he said. “No religion condones the killing of innocents, and the vast majority of ISIL’s victims have been Muslim.”
“And ISIL is certainly not a state,” Obama continued. “It was formerly al Qaeda’s affiliate in Iraq, and has taken advantage of sectarian strife and Syria’s civil war to gain territory on both sides of the Iraq-Syrian border. It is recognized by no government, nor by the people it subjugates. ISIL is a terrorist organization, pure and simple. And it has no vision other than the slaughter of all who stand in its way.”
The U.S. began launching airstrikes against the group in Syria on Monday, with other attacks on key targets continuing throughout the week.