Obama differentiates DAESH from Muslims in national address

US President Obama says ‘ISIL [DAESH] does not speak for Islam’ in his Oval Office address in wake of San Bernardino shooting

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

US President Barack Obama speaks about counter-terrorism and the United States fight against Islamic State during an address to the nation from the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, December 6, 2015

US President Barack Obama delivered a national address on Sunday to ask people to differentiate between DAESH and Muslim communities in the wake of a shooting in San Bernardino, California that the terrorist group claimed was carried out by its followers.

Speaking from the Oval Office, Obama described the San Bernardino shooting as “an act of terrorism, designed to kill innocent people.”

Obama devoted a great part of his speech to realise the difference between Muslim communities and DAESH as his address came just four days after Syed Rizwan Farook, a 28-year old US citizen and his Pakistani wife, Tashfeen Malik killed 14 people at a holiday party for civil servants in San Bernardino, California.

“ISIL [DAESH] does not speak for Islam,” Obama said, “The vast majority of terrorist victims around the world are Muslim.”

Obama also detailed the US strategy to destroy DAESH.

“We will destroy ISIL [DAESH],” Obama said basing his strategy on four main pillars: military action against the terrorist group, training and equipping of local forces fighting DAESH, stronger cooperation with allies, and US leadership to seek a political resolution to the Syrian conflict.

The Muslim community fears a backlash after the attacks as many individuals and organisations reported threats and insults against Muslims.

A mosque in VIrginia received a threat via phone where the caller claiming to represent the “Jewish Defense League” said they “will do to your people what you did to them.''

New York Post, a tabloid owned by Rupert Murdoch, have reported the attack with a headline saying “MUSLIM KILLERS.”

“Muslim Americans are our friends and our neighbours, our co-workers, our sports heroes - and, yes, they are our men and women in uniform who are willing to die in defense of our country,” Obama said in his speech warning of discrimination against Muslims.

Obama called for stricter gun laws to prevent other mass shootings like San Bernardino.

“We also need to make it harder for people to buy powerful assault weapons like the ones that were used in San Bernardino,” Obama said.

Police said the weapons that the two suspects used in the shooting were legally purchased in the US.

The couple had 12 pipe bombs, weapons and thousands of rounds of ammunition at their home, a police raid on the premises revealed.

Obama’s speech drew criticism from Republicans including the presidential candidates.

Frontrunning Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, who previously said he would consider closing mosques and suggested a database in where Muslims would be registered, continued his harsh rhetoric and criticised Obama in a tweet for refusing to say “RADICAL ISLAMIC TERRORISTS.”

Another Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush described Obama’s stance as “weak” and responded with his own statement on Twitter.

TRTWorld and agencies