He asserted that attempts that were being made to stigmatise the community should be rejected.
“Our determination to win the battle against ISIL’s hateful and violent propaganda – a distorted view of Islam that aims to radicalise young Muslims to their cause,” Obama said in his weekly web and radio address to the nation.
“In that effort, our most important partners are American Muslims. That’s why we have to reject any attempt to stigmatise Muslim-Americans and their enormous contributions to our country and our way of life,” said the US President in an apparent reference to the recent anti-Muslim rhetoric of top Republican presidential candidates.
In the aftermath of the terrorist attack in Brussels, Cruz called for increased surveillance of Muslim neighbourhoods while Trump reiterated that Muslims be temporarily be prevented from entering the country.
“Such attempts are contrary to our character, to our values and to our history as a nation built around the idea of religious freedom. It’s also counterproductive. It plays right into the hands of terrorists who want to turn us against one another; who need a reason to recruit more people to their hateful cause,” Obama said.
“We will succeed. The terrorists will fail. They want us to abandon our values and our way of life. We will not. They want us to give in to their vision of the future. We will defeat them with ours. Because we know that the future belongs not to those who seek only to destroy, but to those who have the courage to build,” Obama said while referring to the recent terror attacks in Brussels that claimed 31 lives and injured 300 others.
“We’ve been taking out ISIL leadership, and this week, we removed one of their top leaders from the battlefield permanently. A relentless air campaign — and support for forces in Iraq and Syria who are fighting ISIL on the ground — has allowed us to take approximately forty per cent of the populated territory that ISIL once held in Iraq,” he announced.
(With inputs from agencies)