Obama: "Islam Is A Religion That Preaches Peace"

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STEVE KROFT: Two years ago, in the White House, in this building, you talked about al Qaeda being decimated. You talked about al Qaeda being back on its heels. Two years later, you've got al Qaeda affiliates and al Qaeda offshoots controlling huge chunks of both Iraq and Syria. And you have militias, Islamic radical militias in control of Libya.

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: If you'll recall, Steve, you had an international network in al Qaeda between Afghanistan and Pakistan, headed by Bin Laden. And that structure we have rendered ineffective. But what I also said, and this was two years ago and a year ago, is that you have regional groups with regional ambitions and territorial ambitions. And what also has not changed is the kind of violent, ideologically driven extremism that has taken root in too much of the Muslim world.

And this week, in my speech to the United Nations General Assembly, I made very clear we are not at war against Islam. Islam is a religion that preaches peace and the overwhelming majority of Muslims are peaceful. But in the Muslim world right now, there is a cancer that has grown for too long that suggests that it is acceptable to kill innocent people who worship a different God. And that kind of extremism, unfortunately, means that we're going to see for some time the possibility that in a whole bunch of different countries, radical groups may spring up, particularly in countries that are still relatively fragile, where you had sectarian tensions, where you don't have a strong state security apparatus. That's why what we have to do is rather than play whack-a-mole and send U.S. troops wherever this occurs, we have to build strong partnerships. We have to get the international community to recognize this is a problem. We've got to get Arab and Muslim leaders to say very clearly, "These folks do not represent us. They do not represent Islam," and to speak out forcefully against them.

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