Speaking to the United Nations President Barack Obama made an urgent appeal to Muslim youth to reject the “cancer of violent extremism” infecting the Muslim world.
Claiming the U.S. will “dismantle” the “network of death” that is the Islamic State, Obama said it’s clear the world is determined to root out the “cancer of violent extremism;” noting:
“The only language understood by killers like this is the language of force. So the United States of America will work with a broad coalition to dismantle this network of death.”
Obama spoke at length directly to the Muslim world and, in particular, Muslim youth:
“Those who have joined ISIL should leave the battlefield while they can. Those who continue to fight for a hateful cause will find they are increasingly alone. … The future belongs to those who build – not those who destroy.”
The following is an excerpt from Obama’s speech to the UN:
Collectively, we must take concrete steps to address the danger posed by religiously motivated fanatics, and the trends that fuel their recruitment.
… it is time for the world – especially Muslim communities – to explicitly, forcefully, and consistently reject the ideology of al Qaeda and ISIL.
It is the task of all great religions to accommodate devout faith with a modern, multicultural world. No children – anywhere – should be educated to hate other people. There should be no more tolerance of so-called clerics who call upon people to harm innocents because they are Jewish, Christian or Muslim. It is time for a new compact among the civilized peoples of this world to eradicate war at its most fundamental source: the corruption of young minds by violent ideology.
That means cutting off the funding that fuels this hate. It’s time to end the hypocrisy of those who accumulate wealth through the global economy, and then siphon funds to those who teach children to tear it down.… we must address the cycle of conflict – especially sectarian conflict – that creates the conditions that terrorists prey upon.
There is nothing new about wars within religions. Christianity endured centuries of vicious sectarian conflict. Today, it is violence within Muslim communities that has become the source of so much human misery. It is time to acknowledge the destruction wrought by proxy wars and terror campaigns between Sunni and Shia across the Middle East. And it is time that political, civic and religious leaders reject sectarian strife. Let’s be clear: this is a fight that no one is winning. A brutal civil war in Syria has already killed nearly 200,000 people and displaced millions. Iraq has come perilously close to plunging back into the abyss. The conflict has created a fertile recruiting ground for terrorists who inevitably export this violence.
Ultimately, the task of rejecting sectarianism and extremism is a generational task – a task for the people of the Middle East themselves. No external power can bring about a transformation of hearts and minds.
Obama’s 40-minute speech came as a second day of U.S.-led airstrikes in Syria—a mission joined by five Arab states—hit Islamic State targets near the Iraq border. The president is seeking to use the annual U.N. gathering to press his counterparts for additional commitments to combat the Islamic extremist group.