Obama excuses jihadists in India townhall

November 8, 2010 13:24

At a townhall in India a student asked Obama his opinion of jihad or jihadis. His answer reveals the danger in having him as Commander-in-Chief in the war on terror.

Transcript from the Whit House web site:

Q    Hi, good day, sir.  Hi, my name is Anna and I’m from St. Davis College.  My question to you is, what is your take on opinion about jihad, or jihadi?  Whatever is your opinion, what do you think of them?

THE PRESIDENT:  Well, the phrase jihad has a lot of meanings within Islam and is subject to a lot of different interpretations.  But I will say that, first, Islam is one of the world’s great religions.  And more than a billion people who practice Islam, the overwhelming majority view their obligations to their religion as ones that reaffirm peace and justice and fairness and tolerance.  I think all of us recognize that this great religion in the hands of a few extremists has been distorted to justify violence towards innocent people that is never justified.

And so I think one of the challenges that we face is how do we isolate those who have these distorted notions of religious war and reaffirm those who see faiths of all sorts — whether you are a Hindu or a Muslim or a Christian or a Jew or any other religion, or your don’t practice a religion — that we can all treat each other with respect and mutual dignity, and that some of the universal principles that Gandhi referred to — that those are what we’re living up to, as we live in a nation or nations that have very diverse religious beliefs.

And that’s a major challenge.  It’s a major here in India, but it’s a challenge obviously around the world.  And young people like yourselves can make a huge impact in reaffirming that you can be a stronger observer of your faith without putting somebody else down or visiting violence on somebody else.

I think a lot of these ideas form very early.  And how you respond to each other is going to be probably as important as any speech that a President makes in encouraging the kinds of religious tolerance that I think is so necessary in a world that’s getting smaller and smaller, where more and more people of different backgrounds, different races, different ethnicities are interacting and working and learning from each other.

And those circumstances — I think all of us have to fundamentally reject the notion that violence is a way to mediate our differences.

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