Obama: This "Medieval Interpretation Of Islam" Is Rejected By "99.9%" Of Muslims, Not A "Religious War"

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FAREED ZAKARIA, CNN: Lindsey Graham says that he's bothered by the fact that you won't admit that we're in a religious war. There are others who say that the White House takes pains to avoid using the term "Islamic terrorists."

So my question to you is, are we in -- are we in a war with radical Islam?

PRESIDENT OBAMA: You know, I think that the way to understand this is there is an element growing out of Muslim communities in certain parts of the world that have perverted the religion, have embraced a nihilistic, violent, almost medieval interpretation of Islam. And they are doing damage in a lot of countries around the world.

But it is absolutely true that I reject a notion that somehow that creates a religious war because the overwhelming majority of Muslims reject that interpretation of Islam. They don't even recognize it as being Islam. And I think that for us to be successful in fighting this scourge, it's very important for us to align ourselves with the 99.9 percent of Muslims who are looking for the same thing we're looking for. Order, peace, prosperity.

And so I don't -- I don't quibble with labels. I think we all recognize that this is a particular problem that has roots in Muslim communities. And that the Middle East and South Asia are -- it's very ground zero for us needing to win back hearts and minds particularly when it comes to young people. But I think we do ourselves a disservice in this fight if we are not taking into account the fact that the overwhelming majority of Muslims reject this ideology.

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