KUALA LUMPUR: President Barack Obama said the United States will eventually defeat the Islamic State (IS) and its “twisted ideology” but its war on terror is not aimed at any particular religion.
“The US cannot be at war with any religion because the country itself is made up of people from multiple religions, which over the years has strengthened its foundation,” he said at a media conference here today, before leaving for home after attending the 27th ASEAN Summit and Related Summits.
“We will not give in to fear or turn on each other or treat someone differently just because of their religion, race or background. It is a betrayal of our values and feeds on IS propaganda. We must absolutely reject that we are at war with an entire religion. The US could never be at war with any religion because the US is made up of multiple religions. We are strengthened by people from every religion including Muslim Americans,” he said.
Obama stressed that the US will continue to work with its allies worldwide – from France to countries in the region including Malaysia – to fight and defeat the IS, which recently claimed responsibility for the Paris terror attacks on Nov 13 that killed 127 people.
Describing the terror group as “a bunch of killers,” Obama said the IS will not succeed in sowing fear in the minds of the people or make people forget the values they hold.
“Prejudice and discrimination help IS and undermine our values. We must not succumb to that,” the president said.
He reiterated that the US and its coalition will together strive to cut off financing to the terror group, hunt down their leaders, dismantle their networks and supply lines.
“We will eventually defeat them,” said the president, adding that peace and harmony will prevail against the value of hatred and discrimination as propagated by the terror group.
Obama also reminded that it was vital for each country to send a signal that significant businesses in the world did not stop because of the terror group’s vicious attacks.
He said that to-date more than 65 countries globally, including Malaysia, have joined hands in the Coalition Against IS led by the US.
Obama noted that Malaysia would have a counter-messaging centre to combat the spread of IS ideology, similar to the one already operational in the United Arab Emirates.
This is in addition to efforts rendered by countries such as Saudi Arabia and Italy in disabling and dismantling the spread of influences by IS and its sympathisers, he added. – BERNAMA