United States, California: The United States president Mr. Barack Obama said, the United States (US) wants to partner Southeast Asian countries like Malaysia, Indonesia and Brunei that represent the best of moderate Islam to combat the rise of extremist groups such as ISIS. Obama told Channel NewsAsia in an exclusive interview on the sidelines of the US-ASEAN Summit in Sunnylands, California recently, “Their voice, I think, is absolutely critical in us winning the larger ideological battle that ISIS has mounted to try to recruit young people in Muslim countries,” .
Obama reiterated that America is not at war with religious faith, but with a “small group that is using a perversion of religion to justify terrible crimes”. He also addressed concerns that there is growing Islamophobia in America. “There is no doubt that as a consequence of ISIS and their propaganda that they’ve been able to generate, that that’s evoked fear,” the President said. “And fear is a dangerous thing. When people become afraid, often times they start making generalizations.”
He noted that some politicians have tried to exploit this. Republican Presidential hopeful Donald Trump, for instance, has floated a controversial proposal for a temporary ban on Muslims entering the US. The US president dismissed the rhetoric as a publicity stunt. “Let’s be clear. I think every country has politicians who say things that are not representative of the country but can get them attention. What matters is what the president of the United States duly elected by the people – has to say and I’ve been very clear about my positions on these things”.