President Obama on Thursday, addressed world leaders on the final day of his violent extremism summit calling for an expansion of human rights, religious tolerance and peaceful dialogue across nations and within faiths as well as not just across different faiths. Obama urged nations to break cycles of conflict, including sectarian conflict and address the grievances that terrorists target, both politically and economically.
The speech at the State Department rehashes remarks he made last fall at the United Nations General Assembly, when he urged nations across the Islamic world to provide opportunities for young people who may be enticed to join terrorist organizations. The President highlighted new efforts with the United Arab Emirates to counter ISIS terrorist propaganda online. Obama has continually faced criticism for continually refusing to call the ISIS threat radical Islam. Several Republican and Democrat leaders including Ted Cruz and Rep. Tulsi Gubbard have been among the loudest to call him out on remaining silent.
Obama placed partial blame on Muslim clerics saying they have a responsibility to push back on the twisted interpretations of Islam. During his concluding address, he urged leaders across the globe to stop pushing the belief that the United States is the cause of every problem in the Middle East. Obama made it clear that he believes “poverty and political grievances fuel alienation that can lead to bursts of killing like those seen in Paris, Copenhagen, Sydney and Ottawa.” Along with building up a security force, nations must put a stop to the routine cycle of hate, through opportunity and freedom.
“When people are oppressed and human rights are denied, particularly along sectarian lines or ethnic lines, when dissent is silenced, it feeds violent extremism,” “It creates an environment that is ripe for terrorists to exploit. When peaceful democratic change is impossible, it feeds into the terrorist propaganda that violence is the only answer available. “So we must recognize that lasting stability and real security require democracy,” “That means free elections where people can choose their own future and independent judiciaries that uphold the rule of law, and police and security forces that respect human rights, and free speech and freedom for civil society groups, and it means freedom of religion.”
Obama’s remarks come as political debate as grown over the administration’s response to terrorism. Even after the events of September 11, 2001 America is still attempting to create a workable solution on how to tackle an enemy more elusive and less structured than a foreign enemy like Korea or Cuba. Mr. Kerry, opening the day’s proceedings, said there was no one-size-fits-all solution to the problem. Military action must be married with political, economic and other methods, he said.