President Obama denounced the violent activities of Islamic State terrorists, asserting that they had distorted the teachings of Islam to promote their hatred around the world.
“They are vicious killers and murderers who have perverted one of the world’s great religions,” Obama said, “And their primary power in addition to killing innocent lives is to strike fear in our societies, to disrupt our societies.”
Obama made his remarks during a press conference today in Argentina with President Mauricio Macri, defending his decision to continue his foreign policy trip Latin America, in spite of the recent terrorist attack in Brussels that killed over 30 people.
He urged Americans not to just focus on the terrorist activity in Western countries, but against peaceful Muslims as well.
“We see high profile attacks in Europe, but they are also killing Muslims throughout the Middle East,” Obama said.
Obama argued that it was important for Americans not to respond to the Islamic state, which did not present an “existential threat” to the United States.
He defended his strategy to destroy ISIS, arguing that he was “systematic and ruthless and focused” on the effort which was his “top priority.”
“We are approaching this in a way that has a chance of working, and it will work and we’re not going to do things that are counterproductive, simply because it’s political season,” he said. “We’re going to be steady. we’re going to be resolute. and ultimately, we’re going to be successful.”
He encouraged more Americans to reject the fear and the hatred spread by terrorists.
“We defeat them in part by saying ‘You are not strong, you are weak,’” Obama said.
He insisted they his ideas were “working” in spite of continued terror attacks across the globe, referring to his air strikes against ISIS leadership and infrastructure and working to share intelligence with other countries.
Obama criticized the idea that he should step up military action against ISIS targets.
“We don’t just go ahead and blow something up, just so that we can go back home and say we blew something up,” he said. “We don’t just throw some military action at it without having thought it through and making sure that it’s effective.”