Obama calls for unity against violent extremism

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Washington, Feb 20: US President Barack Obama Thursday echoed his Wednesday's call for Muslim communities around the world to resist the notion that the West was at war with Islam in his final speech at the White House Summit on Countering Violent Extremism.

"Muslim communities, including scholars and clerics, therefore have a responsibility to push back, not just on twisted interpretations of Islam, but also on the lie that we are somehow engaged in a clash of civilisation; that America and the West are somehow at war with Islam or seek to suppress Muslims," said Obama, Xinhua reported.

Barack Obama

"The notion that the West is at war with Islam is an ugly lie," said Obama.

Obama's statement echoed the key point of his keynote speech Wednesday, where he proclaimed that he was not leading a war against Islam. "We are not at war with Islam. We are at war with people who have perverted Islam," he said.

Obama also urged governments around the world to remain unwavering in the fight against terrorist organization and said that as a result of Thursday's ministerial-level meeting, many partners agreed to deepen cooperation against foreign terrorist fighters by sharing more information and making it harder for fighters to travel to and from Syria and Iraq.

Meanwhile, like Wednesday's speech, Obama sought to strike a balance between raising vigilance against those who starts getting radicalized and a sense of inclusiveness for different faiths.

"We have to ensure that our diverse societies truly welcome and respect people of all faiths and backgrounds, and leaders set the tone on this issue," he said, stressing that hatred towards people with different faith "feeds into terrorist narratives."

IANS

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