- The Washington Times - Thursday, February 19, 2015

President Obama said Thursday that too many people in the U.S. and other countries view Muslims unfairly as terrorists because they don’t socialize with ordinary Muslims.

“Many people in our countries don’t always know personally somebody who is Muslim,” Mr. Obama told foreign ministers at a White House conference on violent extremism. “The image they get of Muslims or Islam is in the news. That can give a very distorted impression.”

He said people in the U.S. and elsewhere are exposed to “a lot of the bad, like terrorists who claim to speak for Islam that’s absorbed by the general population, [and] not enough of the good — the more than 1 billion people around the world who do represent Islam.”

The president spoke at the State Department on the third day of a summit aimed at combating the root causes of terrorism. He said it’s “an ugly lie” for terrorist groups to claim that the U.S. is at war with Islam, and he called on Muslim clerics around the globe to “push back” against the rhetoric of hate.

Mr. Obama also suggested that U.S. policy has contributed to the problem over the decades.

“Obviously there is a complicate history between the Middle East and the West,” he said. “None of us should be immune from criticism of specific policies.”

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