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Obama in Paris Says He Would Urge Young Jihadis to Choose a 'Good Life'

"The essence of a good life is not what you can destroy but what you can build, it's not who you can harm, but who you can help," Obama said Tuesday.
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President Barack Obama has advice for disillusioned youth on the verge of joining a radical, violent organization: Choose a peaceful path instead.

"I would say to a young man or woman is that regardless of your religious faith the essence of a good life is not what you can destroy but what you can build, it's not who you can harm, but who you can help," Obama told French television channel Canal Plus on Tuesday when asked what he would say to a young jihadi.

"Every religion, whether it’s Christianity, Islam, Judaism, defines a good person and a good life based on what they do for others," he added.

Obama — in Paris to attend the United Nations' climate change summit — said ISIS militants are able to lure new followers by taking advantage of their feelings of isolation and loneliness.

"This gives them something to attach themself to despite that fact that (ISIS is) a cult of death," he said.

Obama showed his support for the French people after arriving to Paris early Monday. He placed a single white flower at a massive memorial outside the Bataclan concert hall, where most of the 130 people were slaughtered during the Nov. 13 terrorist attacks in the city.

Obama had hosted French President Francois Hollande at the White House last week, saying the U.S. stands in "total solidarity" with its European ally following the ISIS-claimed siege.

Related: Obama Places Single White Flower at Bataclan Memorial in Paris

The U.S. has strengthened its relations with France during Obama's presidency after France was a vocal opponent of starting a war in Iraq following 9/11.

When asked whether he prefers working with Hollande, who belongs to the country's Socialist Party, or his conservative predecessor, Nicolas Sarkozy, Obama offered that they're "so different."

"Francois wears glasses, and Nicolas doesn't," he joked, attempting to sidestep the question.

"The wonderful thing about both of them is that they both, I think, have a great appreciation for the relationship with the United States," Obama continued.

He was also asked if he would consider moving to Paris after his final year in the White House. However, he told Canal Plus, that a big barrier remains in the way.

"I probably will not move to Paris, only because my French is very bad — it's bad I won't even pretend," Obama said. "But I assure you, I will be visiting Paris on a regular basis."