At the White House, Press Secretary Josh Earnest praised moderate Muslims around the world, telling Americans that the United States is not at war with Islam.
“The president has been disturbed by a lot of the political rhetoric that we’ve seen,” Earnest said, although he added that Obama was confident that the majority of Americans would not target Muslims as a result of acts of terror.
Earnest made his remarks after he was questioned by White House reporters asking why the president refused to use the term “radical Islamic terrorism.”
“It has been instrumental to our efforts against groups like al-Qaeda and ISIS and other terrorist organizations to make clear that the United States is at war with those organizations but we’re not at war with Islam,” he said. “We’re not at war with Muslims around the world.”
He called the actions of moderate Muslims around the world “instrumental” to the fight against violent extremist terror organizations and praised “patriotic American Muslims” who served in the military.
He reminded reporters that the White House would continue to share that message in order to undercut the effectiveness of groups like ISIS from suggesting that the United States was at war with Islam.
“That’s a fantasy, it is not true, and any effort to marginalize Muslims in this country only advances that narrative,” he said.
Earnest praised former President George W. Bush and President Obama for repeatedly reminding Americans that the West was not at war with the religion of Islam.
“It’s good for our country it’s good for our national security and it is entirely consistent with the basic founding principals and values of the United States of America,” he said.