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"They Lead No Religion": Obama Defends Islam, Muslim Fanatics At Commencement

PRESIDENT OBAMA: Our campaign to disrupt, dismantle, and to defeat al Qaeda is part of an international effort that is necessary and just. But this is a different kind of war. There will be no simple moment of surrender to mark the journey’s end – no armistice or banner headline. Though we have had more success in eliminating al Qaeda leaders in recent months than in recent years, they will continue to recruit, plot, and exploit our open society. We see that in bombs that go off in Kabul and Karachi. We see it in attempts to blow up an airliner over Detroit or a SUV in Times Square, even as these failed attacks show that pressure on networks like al Qaeda is forcing them to rely on terrorists with less time and space to train. We see it in al Qaeda’s gross distortion of Islam, their disrespect for human life, and their attempts to prey upon fear, and hatred, and prejudice. So the threat will not go away soon, but let’s be clear: al Qaeda and its affiliates are small men on the wrong side of history. They lead no nation. They lead no religion. We need not give in to fear every time a terrorist tries to scare us. We should not discard our freedoms because extremists try to exploit them. We cannot succumb to division because others try to drive us apart. We are the United States of America. We’ve repaired our union, faced down fascism, and outlasted communism. We have gone through turmoil and come out stronger, and we will do so once more. I know this to be true because I see the strength and resilience of the American people. Terrorists want to scare us, but New Yorkers go about their lives unafraid. Extremists want a war between America and Islam, but Muslims are a part of our national life, including those who serve in our Army. Adversaries want to divide us, but we are united by our support for you – soldiers who send a clear message that this country is both the land of the free and the home of the brave.

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