In the fight against violent extremism, the US has a higher moral ground than Europe as per US President Barak Obama: a long tradition of warmly embracing its immigrants, including Muslims.
The Islamic State spreading its reach and having reached the shores of Mediterranean, Europe has gone on an overdrive with heightened security measures and a feeling of anxiety among its Muslim population. On the other hand President Obama has used this week’s White House summit on violent extremism as a stage to urge the international community to broaden its response much beyond military intervention and rhetoric. US led airstrikes have managed to halt the ISIS blitzkrieg in Iraq and Syria but they do little to address the extreme ideologies which strengthen such groups like ISIS, al-Shabab and Boko Haram.
The latest front in the US war against the likes of ISIS and Boko Haram will not take place in the deserts of Syria, Iraq or Libya, but on the covers of the nation’s fourth estate newspapers and tabloids. President Obama with two speeches in as many days will be taking by horns his conservative critics. The President was at pains to explain that the black clad extremists has nothing to do with Islam and all of us have a responsibility to refute the notion that groups like ISIL somehow represent Islam.
Obama did not stop here but a day later accused people in the public sphere helping the terrorist cause by highlighting the connection between Islamic teachings and Islamic state tactics.
Obama said, “That narrative sometimes extends far beyond terrorist organizations. That narrative becomes the foundation upon which terrorists build their ideology and by which they try to justify their violence, and that hurts all of us, including Islam and especially Muslims who are the ones most likely to be killed.”
On the other side of the road are conservative commentators and Republican Presidential contenders who say that Obama has weakened the efforts to defeat these radicals by whitewashing their religious roots in public statements.
Republican presidential contender Jeb Bush, after a foreign policy address on Wednesday said, “It’s violent, extreme Islamic terrorism, and the more we try to ignore that reality, the less likely it is that we’re going to develop the appropriate strategy to garner the support in the Muslim world to do what I said, which is tighten the noose and then take them out.”
The Obama Administration’s long battle against the conservative press and his Republican critics has become keener and nastier.