American and European citizens and journalists are spurring jihadi violence by protesting the arrival of Muslim populations into their societies, President Barack Obama declared Thursday.
“We've also seen, most recently in Europe, a rise in inexcusable acts of anti-Semitism, or in some cases, anti-Muslim sentiment or anti-immigrant sentiment,” Obama told a Feb. 19 audience of U.S. and foreign officials and advocates, who met to discuss ways to minimize jihadi violence.
Peaceful criticism of Islamic culture is bad, he suggested. ”When people spew hatred toward others — because of their faith or because they’re immigrants — it feeds into terrorist narratives. … It feeds a cycle of fear and resentment and a sense of injustice upon which extremists prey,” he said.
So “we have to ensure that our diverse societies truly welcome and respect people of all faiths and backgrounds,” said Obama.
He insisted the conflict between Muslim and Western cultures is not caused by fundamentally different attitudes about freedom and religious solidarity.
The violence is caused by tit-for-tat “cycles of conflict,” and lack of dialogue. he said.
In the Arab region, “the terror campaigns between Sunnis and Shia will only end when major powers address their differences through dialogue … [when] political, civic and religious leaders [begin] rejecting sectarian strife.”
In Europe and America, governments should guide public debate over Muslim culture, Obama insisted. “We all recognize the need for more dialogues across countries and cultures. … So let’s bring our youth together to promote understanding and cooperation,” he said.