President Barack Obama says the United States would overcome a terror threat presented by the Daesh (ISIL) terrorist group following the California mass shooting.
“The terrorist threat has evolved into a new phase,” Obama said on Sunday night in a rare televised address from the Oval Office.
“I know that after so much war, many Americans are asking whether we are confronted by a cancer that has no immediate cure,” he stated. “The threat from terrorism is real, but we will overcome it.”
The US president said “ISIL does not speak for Islam. They are thugs and killers, part of a cult of death. And they account for a tiny fraction of a more than a billion Muslims around the world, including millions of patriotic Muslim-Americans who reject their hateful ideology.”
He stated that the United States would not be pulled into a protracted ground war in Syria or Iraq while fighting against ISIL.
“We should not be drawn once more into a long and costly ground war in Iraq and Syria. That’s what groups like ISIL want,” Obama said.
He called on Muslims to confront the “extremist ideology” and ally with the West in combating Daesh.
“We cannot turn against one another by letting this fight be defined as a war between America and Islam,” Obama said.
“That does not mean denying the fact that an extremist ideology has spread within some Muslim communities. It’s a real problem that Muslims must confront without excuse,” he argued.
On Wednesday, Syed Rizwan Farook, 28, and Tashfeen Malik, 29, stormed a holiday party in San Bernardino, California, killing at least 14 people and injuring 21 in the deadliest mass shooting in the US in three years. Hours later, the couple died in a fire exchange with police.
Malik had allegedly pledged allegiance to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader of the Daesh (ISIL) terrorist group, three US officials familiar with the investigation told CNN on Friday. On Saturday, the Takfiri group also claimed the couple as its followers.
‘This was an act of terrorism’
Obama called the California shooting an “act of terrorism” and said the couple who launched the attack “had gone down the dark path of radicalization.”
“They had stockpiled assault weapons, ammunition and pipe bombs. So this was an act of terrorism,” he claimed.
Obama also called for tougher gun controls, starting with a ban on gun purchases for anyone on a US government no-fly list. “To begin with, Congress should act to make sure no one on a no-fly list is able to buy a gun.”
“What could possibly be the argument for allowing a terrorist suspect to buy a semiautomatic weapon? This is a matter of national security,” he stated.
Every year, more than 30,000 people are shot and killed in the United States. The US averages 87 gun deaths each day as a function of gun violence, with an average of 183 injured, according to the University of Chicago Crime Lab and the Centers for Disease Control.
About 4.5 million firearms are sold annually in the United States at a cost of 2 to 3 billion dollars.
On December 14, 2012, twenty children and six adults were fatally shot by a gunman — who later killed himself — at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in the town of Newtown in the US state of Connecticut.
Following the Sandy Hook shooting, President Obama pushed for gun reform, including expanded background checks and a ban on high-capacity magazines, but the powerful gun rights lobby and its people in Congress fiercely opposed the measure.
Obama has said the “biggest frustration” of his time in the office has been the inability to reduce unparalleled levels of gun violence in the country.
By Press TV