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Obama: the fight against violent extremism does not equate fight against Islam

US President Barack Obama said Wednesday that the fight against violent extremism did not mean it was a fight against Islam and the world should resist granting religious legitimacy to terrorist groups.

"We are not at war with Islam," Obama said during a keynote speech at the second day of the White House Summit on Countering Violent Extremism. "We are at war with people who have perverted Islam."

Obama stressed that it was vital not to stigmatize any community just because of their faith, calling on Muslim leaders to speak up in the fight against violent extremism. "No religion is responsible for terrorism, people are responsible for violence and terrorism," Obama said.

As the three-day event entered its second day, both Obama and Vice President Joe Biden went to great length to not to say that it is a summit about Islamic extremism.

During the half-hour speech, Obama noted other challenges in countering violent extremism, including addressing the economic and political grievances that terrorists exploited, adding that community also plays an important role in the fight against violent extremism.

The White House spokesman Josh Earnest said earlier Wednesday that though the White House acknowledged that a particularly virulent strain of extremist ideology has tried to insert itself in the Muslim community, other forms of extremism have also prompted others to carry out acts of violence.

"Extremism has taken a variety of forms in this country in a way that has had violent results," Earnest said.


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