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ISIS Terror: Obama Says Fight Against Extremists a Battle for 'Hearts and Minds'

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Image: Obama Meets With New Defense Secretary Ashton Carter At White House
U.S. President Barack Obama talks to reporters at the end of a meeting with newly sworn-in Defense Secretary Ashton Carter in the Oval Office at the White House February 17, 2015 in Washington, DC. Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images

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President Barack Obama says the fight against “violent extremism” is ultimately a battle for hearts and minds and can’t be won with force alone. In an editorial for Wednesday editions of the Los Angeles Times, the president wrote that al Qaeda and ISIS “promote a twisted interpretation of religion that is rejected by the overwhelming majority of the world’s Muslims.”

The White House is hosting a summit on world extremism this week.

Obama wrote that the world must promote the voices of Muslim clerics and scholars who “teach the true peaceful nature” of the religion. He also called for expanded human rights protections and economic and educational development.

“Groups like al Qaeda and ISIL exploit the anger that festers when people feel that injustice and corruption leave them with no chance of improving their lives,” he wrote. “The world has to offer today’s youth something better.”

“Our campaign to prevent people around the world from being radicalized to violence is ultimately a battle for hearts and minds,” he wrote.

On the killing of three young Muslim adults near the University of North Carolina last week, Obama wrote that Americans of all religions must “insist that no one should ever be targeted because of who they are, what they look like, or how they worship.”

Police have said that the primary motive for the killing was a fight about a parking space. The father of two of the victims has called it a “hate crime." The FBI has opened an inquiry.

IN-DEPTH

— Erin McClam

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