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.
But Obama insisted that Americans and Europeans citizens submit to the effort to increase Muslim populations living in the West, and he urged Western media to produce pro-Muslim videos and articles, regardless of the many attacks and crimes committed by immigrant Muslims.
“I’d like to close by speaking very directly to a painful truth that’s part of the challenge that brings us here today,” Obama said.
“In some of our countries, including the United States, Muslim communities are still small, relative to the entire population, and as a result, many people in our countries don’t always know personally of somebody who is Muslim,” he said.
“So the image they get of Muslims or Islam is in the news … [and] that can give a very distorted impression,” he said.
“Not enough of the good — the more than 1 billion people around the world who do represent Islam, and are doctors and lawyers and teachers, and neighbors and friends. So we have to remember these Muslim men and women,” he said.
The examples of good Muslims he cited included “the young Palestinian working to build understanding and trust with Israelis, but also trying to give voice to her people’s aspirations … [and] the Muslim clerics working for peace with Christian pastors and priests in Nigeria and the Central African Republic to put an end to the cycle of hate,” he said.
“The world hears a lot about the terrorists who attacked Charlie Hebdo in Paris, but the world has to also remember the Paris police officer, a Muslim, who died trying to stop them,” Obama said.
“The world knows about the attack on the Jews at the kosher supermarket in Paris; we need to recall the worker at that market, a Muslim, who hid Jewish customers and saved their lives,” he said. And when he was asked why he did it, he said, ‘We are brothers. It’s not a question of Jews or Christians or Muslims. We’re all in the same boat, and we have to help each other to get out of this crisis,'” Obama said.
“We can’t allow cycles of suspicions to tear at the fabric of our countries,” he warned.
Obama’s call for government pro-Muslim advocacy was echoed by Jeh Johnson, the secretary of the Department of Homeland Security. “The administration and the government should give voice to the plight of Muslims living in this country and the discrimination that they face,” he said Feb. 18. “I personally have committed to speak out about the situation that very often people in the Muslim community in this country face… [because] there are 1.6 billion Muslims in the world and the Islamic faith is one about peace and brotherhood,” he insisted.
Since 2009, Obama has sharply increased vibrant diversity in the United States by boosting the inflow of Muslims immigrants, via several immigration programs, including the United Nations’ transfer of refugees from Somalia and Syria into the United States.
The U.S. immigrant Muslim population has grown by roughly 1 million since 2000, up to almost 2.7 million in 2013.
The inflow has coincided with a dramatic increase in jihadi attacks and jihadi plots. There were aimed at Americans in New York’s Twin Towers in 1993 and 2001, at the Pentagon, at Fort Hood in Texas, and Fort Detrick in New York, Times Square in New York, the 2013 Boston marathon and many other sites.
Since his inauguration in 2009, Obama has strenuously defended Islam from criticism, and justified his concessions to Muslim advocacy groups in the United States as vital to persuade immigrant Muslims from implementing the Koran’s repeated calls for warfare against non-Muslims.