WASHINGTON: President Obama delivered a primetime TV address on Sunday (6 December) on the threat of terrorism without once mentioning Saudi Arabia and Pakistan, two countries whose state-mandated bigotry may have radicalized the Pakistani-origin terrorists who massacred 14 people in California in a religion-fueled rage.
In what was only his third address to Americans from the White House bully pulpit, Obama only went so far as to say it was “clear that the two of them had gone down the dark path of radicalization, embracing a perverted interpretation of Islam that calls for war against America and the West,” without naming states, society, and circumstances that encourage such thinking. Instead, he referred to the “broader war on terrorism,” focusing on ISIL and al-Qaida and how the internet had erased distance to enable them poison the minds of people.
“The threat from terrorism is real, but we will overcome it. We will destroy ISIL and any other organization that tries to harm us,” Obama said, adding, without naming specific countries, “our military will continue to hunt down terrorist plotters in any country where it is necessary.”
The US has historically taken a lenient, hands-off view of extremist elements and policies that encourage or nurture them in Saudi Arabia and Pakistan. Washington regards the two countries as allies despite their fecundity when it comes to producing terrorists; instead, the US imposed war on Iraq and Syria, and President Obama spoke expansively about the developments in those countries.
The US President also dealt with domestic enforcement challenges amid pressure from some Republicans for tighter scrutiny of new immigrants, particularly Muslims. He said he had ordered the Departments of State and Homeland Security to review the visa program under which the Pakistani female terrorist in San Bernardino, Tashfeen Malik, originally came to the US, and he urged high-tech and law enforcement leaders to make it harder for terrorists to use technology to escape from justice.
However, the US President urged Americans not to let fight be defined as a war between America and Islam because that is what groups like ISIL want.
“ISIL does not speak for Islam. They are thugs and killers, part of a cult of death, and they account for a tiny fraction of more than a billion Muslims around the world — including millions of patriotic Muslim Americans who reject their hateful ideology,” Obama said.
But “that does not mean denying the fact that an extremist ideology has spread within some Muslim communities,” Obama added, saying, “This is a real problem that Muslims must confront, without excuse.”
“Muslim leaders here and around the globe have to continue working with us to decisively and unequivocally reject the hateful ideology that groups like ISIL and al-Qaida promote; to speak out against not just acts of violence, but also those interpretations of Islam that are incompatible with the values of religious tolerance, mutual respect, and human dignity,” Obama said. He made no mention though of nation-states promoting such ideologies.
Source:The Times of India