LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — In the wake of the San Bernardino massacre that left 14 dead and 21 injured, President Obama addressed the nation Sunday evening from the Oval Office to clarify steps being taken to keep the country safe.
On Saturday, the president used his weekly address to urge Americans to work together to help prevent people from falling into “violent extremist ideologies.
FBI officials have said Syed Rizwan Farook, 28, and Tashfeen Malik, 27, the married couple that carried out Wednesday’s massacre at San Bernardino’s Inland Regional Center, appeared to have become supporters or advocates of terrorist groups in the Middle East.
“It is entirely possible that these two attackers were radicalized to commit this act of terror,” Obama said Saturday. “And if so, it would underscore a threat we’ve been focused on for years — the danger of people succumbing to violent extremist ideologies.
“We know that ISIL and other terrorist groups are actively encouraging people — around the world and in our country — to commit terrible acts of violence, oftentimes as lone wolf actors. And even as we work to prevent attacks, all of us — government, law enforcement, communities, faith leaders –need to work together to prevent people from falling victim to these hateful ideologies.”
During his speech Sunday, the present asked for calm, asked for Congress to change some laws, and asked for his fellow Americans to not turn on their neighbors.
“The threat from terrorism is real,” the president said, “but we will overcome it. We will prevail by being strong and smart, resilient and relentless.”
Among the highlights of his speech, President Obama said, “We should not be drawn into a long and costly ground war in Syria. That’s what ISIL wants.” He mentioned the coalition of 65 countries the administration has put together to fight jointly. The fight has mostly included airstrikes on Syrian targets.
“ISIL does not speak for Islam,” the president said, “The vast majority of terrorist victims around the world are Muslim.” He called ISIS “thugs and killers.”
He also slammed Congress for the vote this week that would still allow people on the no-fly list to buy a gun. He also asked them to restrict access to assault weapons.
President Obama said that the San Bernardino attack was an act of terrorism “designed to kill innocent people.”
But he also said the two killers did not represent the vast majority of the billion Muslims on Earth and reminded Americans that Muslim-Americans are our neighbors, co-workers and “even our sports heroes.”
In a clear response to republican rhetoric about closing mosques, the president said, “We must “…reject proposals that Muslim Americans should be treated differently, “when we travel down that road, we lose.”
Channeling FDR, the president also said, “Let’s not forget that freedom is more powerful than fear.”
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