President Barack Obama this afternoon addressed a growing debate over the words used to describe ISIS.
Obama said that groups like ISIS and al Qaeda are desperate for legitimacy.
“They try to portray themselves as religious leaders, holy warriors in defense of Islam. That’s why ISIL presumes to declare itself the Islamic State, and they propagate the notion that America and the West generally is at war with Islam,” he said. “We must never accept the premise that they put forward because it is a lie.”
Obama said that Americans should not grant these terrorists religious legitimacy.
“We are not at war with Islam,” he said. “We are at war with people who have perverted Islam.”
Still, the president said that Muslim communities have a responsibility as well, since these terror groups draw selectively from Islamic texts.
Obama said that the U.S. must address grievances that terrorists exploit, including economic ones. He called for new ways to "amplify the voices of peace and tolerance and inclusion," particularly online.
The president said that this fight will be a generational challenge, but added America has overcome much bigger problems.