President Barack Obama says the United States is not at war with Islam, it is at war with terrorists.
Obama made the remarks in his a speech on Wednesday at a Washington conference on countering radicalism that drew delegates from 60 countries.
He said ISIL or al-Qaeda terrorists “do not speak” for one billion Muslims who reject their hateful ideology. "They no more represent Islam…No religion is responsible for terrorism. People are responsible for violence and terrorism."
"Al Qaeda and ISIL and groups like it are desperate for legitimacy. They try to portray themselves as religious leaders...They propagate the notion that America, and the West generally, is at war with Islam. That's how they recruit. That's how they try to radicalize young people," he said.
"We must never accept the premise that they put forward, because it is a lie, nor should we grant these terrorists the religious legitimacy that they seek," Obama stated.
"They are not religious leaders, they are terrorists. And we are not at war with Islam. We are at war with people who have perverted Islam," he added.
According to a new report, the United States has acknowledged that the ISIL terrorist group has been very effective in attracting new recruits, financing and international notoriety and vowed to boost efforts to counter its well-oiled propaganda machine.
The US State Department said its Center for Strategic Counterterrorism Communications will bring together all the existing programs at other federal departments and agencies that attempt to counter ISIL’s messages, The New York Times reported on Tuesday.
The agency would also harness and intensify similar countermessaging efforts by foreign countries and nongovernment agencies, as well as by important Muslim academics, community leaders and religious scholars who oppose the ideology of the Takfiri group, according to the report.
The newspaper said that young Muslims might listen to these credible people more than US government officials.