Slamming Trump, Obama decries use of ‘radical Islamic’ phrase
"It will make the country less safe by fueling the notion among followers of ISIS that the West hates Muslims"
President Barack Obama says anti-Muslim rhetoric from presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump is "not the America we want."
Obama is arguing that treating Muslim-Americans differently won't make the U.S. safer. He says it will make the country less safe by fueling the notion among followers of ISIS that the West hates Muslims.
And he charged that "loose talk" about Muslims by presidential hopeful Donald Trump and other Republicans was betraying American values and harming the fight against extremism.
"We're starting to see where this kind of rhetoric and loose talk and sloppiness about who exactly we're fighting, where this can lead us," Obama told a news conference, two days after the Orlando attacks.
"We now have proposals from the presumptive Republican nominee for president of the United States to bar all Muslims from emigrating to America -- language that singles out immigrants and suggests entire religious communities are complicit in violence. Where does this stop?"
Obama lashed out a day after presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump doubled down on his proposal to temporarily ban foreign Muslims from entering the U.S.
Obama also angrily refuted criticism for not using the term "radical Islamic terrorism," calling it "loose talk."
"What exactly would using this language accomplish? What exactly would it change?" Obama asked during remarks at the Treasury Department. "Would it make ISIL less committed to try and kill Americans?" he continued, using a different acronym for ISIS. "Would it bring in more allies? Is there a military strategy that is served by this? The answer is none of the above. Calling a threat by a different name does not make it go away."
"The men and women who put their lives at risk and the Special Forces I ordered to get bin Laden and are now on the ground in Iraq and in Syria -- they know full well who the enemy is," "So do the intelligence and law enforcement officers who spent countless hours disrupting plots. And protecting all Americans, including politicians who tweet, and appear on cable news shows. They know what the nature of the enemy is. So there's no magic to the phrase 'radical Islam.' It's a political talking point. This is a political distraction” Obama said.
US President added that the his country was founded on freedom of religion and that there are no religious tests in America.
He says such talk makes Muslim-Americans feel like their government is betraying them.
Obama commented after meeting with his national security advisers on the threat posed by ISIS. He also was briefed on the investigation into the Orlando nightclub shooting.
The ISIS group claimed responsibility for the shooting in Orlando early Sunday. The gunman, Omar Mateen, pledged allegiance to the IS leader in 911 calls made during the attack, the FBI said.
Obama said that the Islamic State group was losing ground in Iraq and Syria, and that the number of foreign fighters joining the extremists was plummeting.
"ISIS lost nearly half of the populated territory it had in Iraq and it will lose more. ISIL continues to lose ground in Syria as well," Obama said after a meeting of the National Security Council on the fight against the jihadist group.
"In short, our coalition continues to be on offense. ISIS is on defense," Obama said, using an alternate acronym for the group.
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