In an op-ed for The Los Angeles Times on Wednesday, President Barack Obama wrote that the U.S. must win the “hearts and minds” of young Muslims in order to prevent them from being indoctrinated by terrorist groups like ISIS.
In his piece, Obama made clear his views that our country should engage with local Muslim communities in order to prevent the spread of radicalism.
“The world must continue to lift up the voices of Muslim clerics and scholars who teach the true peaceful nature of Islam,” Obama wrote. “We can echo the testimonies of former extremists who know how terrorists betray Islam. We can help Muslim entrepreneurs and youths work with the private sector to develop social media tools to counter extremist narratives on the Internet.”
Obama went on to note that he doesn’t believe the U.S. military alone could solve the problem of terrorism around the world, but he did speak to the power that he feels could still be found in communication.
“Nor can we simply take out terrorists who kill innocent civilians,” Obama wrote. “We also have to confront the violent extremists — the propagandists, recruiters and enablers — who may not directly engage in terrorist acts themselves, but who radicalize, recruit and incite others to do so.”
Ahead of the upcoming U.S.-hosted summit on fighting back against violent extremism, Obama expressed his hope that free nations can come together to provide opportunities for the young and innocent in nations ravaged by terrorism.
“Our campaign to prevent people around the world from being radicalized to violence is ultimately a battle for hearts and minds,” Obama said in the closing of his op-ed piece. “With this week's summit, we'll show once more that — unlike terrorists who only offer misery and death — it is our free societies and diverse communities that offer the true path to opportunity, justice and dignity.”