Secretary of State John Kerry tells Americans not to blame religion for the Orlando terrorist attack that killed 50 people and injured dozens more over the weekend.
“The worst thing you can do is engage in trying to point fingers at one group or one form of sectarianism or another or one division or another. Those are not the values of our country,” Kerry told reporters Monday in advance of a meeting with Cypriot Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides.
“What we need to do is to bring people together and work to forever prevent this kind of hate and terror from playing out as it has so horribly in the last day,” he added.
While Kerry warned against blaming religion and encouraging divisions, he said that the State Department will continue to fight against ISIL (the Obama administration’s preferred acronym for the Islamic State).
“So we here at the Department are going to continue in every way that we already are to fight against ISIL and any other terrorist group in the world that seeks to impose its will or carry out its hateful ideology against other people,” he added.
Kasoulides, who appeared with Kerry, offered condolences for and condemnation of the attack on behalf of Cyprus.
Over the weekend, Omar Mateen, a Muslim who pledged his allegiance to the Islamic State, attacked a gay nightclub in Orlando, killing 49 people and injuring some 53 more. The shooting has been termed the worst terrorist attack on U.S. soil since September 11, 2001.