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.
“That’s what the United States will do with our virtual exchange program — named after Ambassador Chris Stevens — to connect 1 million young people from America and the Middle East and North Africa for dialogue,” he added.
Since October 2014, tens of thousands of German citizens and families have been marching quietly and peacefully to protest the local government’s plan to settle many Muslims in their city.
The peaceful “PEGIDA” protests have expanded to other cities and countries since the jihad attacks in France, Belgium and Denmark, but have been met with opposition by an alliance of progressives and Islamists.
“PEGIDA” stands for “Patriotic Europeans against the Islamization of the West.”
Those protests have been angrily criticized by establishment leaders. “In the name of the government and the chancellor I can say quite clearly that there is no place in Germany for religious hatred, no matter which religion people belong to,” the spokesman for Germany’s prime minister said in December. “There is no place for Islamophobia, anti-Semitism or any form of xenophobia or racism,” said Angela Merkel’s spokeswoman Christiane Wirtz.
The elite support for immigration of Muslims comes as polls show rising American and European opposition to immigrant Muslims’ mixture of religion and culture, which endorses polygamy, hostility to free speech, anti-Semitism, and which doesn’t value free enterprise, equality for non-Muslims, personal freedom or sexual equality.