Obama calls for dismantling Islamic State `network of death`

President Barack Obama Wednesday vowed to dismantle the "network of death" perpetuated by the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria and said the US will use its military might to roll back the terror group as he asked the Muslims to "explicitly and forcefully" reject their ideology.

PTI| Updated: Sep 24, 2014, 22:31 PM IST

United Nations: President Barack Obama on Wednesday vowed to dismantle the "network of death" perpetuated by the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria and said the US will use its military might to roll back the terror group as he asked the Muslims to "explicitly and forcefully" reject their ideology.

Asserting that America will not succumb to threats, Obama told a gathering of world leaders at the UN General Assembly that the US would be a "respectful and constructive partner" in confronting the Islamic State militants through force.

His remarks came in the backdrop of the US and coalition partner nations launching airstrikes against the Islamic State targets, also known as ISIS or ISIL, in Syria.

"The brutality of terrorists in Syria and Iraq forces us to look into the heart of darkness...The terrorist group known as ISIL must be degraded, and ultimately destroyed," Obama said in his 6th address to the 193-member General Assembly.

He said ISIL has "terrorised all who they come across in Iraq and Syria", referring to the recent brutal beheading of two American journalists and a Briton by the terror group which had captured a large swathe of land in Iraq and Syria and declared an Islamic Caliphate.

"No God condones this terror. No grievance justifies these actions. There can be no reasoning ? no negotiation ? with this brand of evil. The only language understood by killers like this is the language of force. So the United States of America will work with a broad coalition to dismantle this network of death," he said.

In his over half-hour long speech, Obama said the ISIL has been perpetuating the "most horrific crimes imaginable" by beheading innocent human beings and distributing videos of the atrocity to "shock the conscience of the world."

Calling on the world leaders "to join in this effort", Obama said America will not act alone and does not intend to send US troops to occupy foreign lands. "Instead, we will support Iraqis and Syrians fighting to reclaim their communities. We will use our military might in a campaign of air strikes to roll back ISIL. We will train and equip forces fighting against these terrorists on the ground. We will work to cut off their financing, and to stop the flow of fighters into and out of the region," he said.

Obama stressed that it is time for the world, especially Muslim communities, "to explicitly, forcefully and consistently" reject the ideology of al-Qaeda and its splinter group ISIS.

"Those who continue to fight for a hateful cause will find they are increasingly alone. For we will not succumb to threats; and we will demonstrate that the future belongs to those who build ? not those who destroy," Obama added.

Obama stressed that the world should give up tolerance of "so-called clerics" who teach children to harm other on the basis of their religion. "It is the task of all great religions to accommodate devout faith with a modern, multicultural world. No children ? anywhere ? should be educated to hate other people. There should be no more tolerance of so-called clerics who call upon people to harm innocents because they are Jewish, Christian or Muslim," he said.

Obama said it is time to cut off funding that fuels "this hate.  "It's time to end the hypocrisy of those who accumulate wealth through the global economy, and then siphon funds to those who teach children to tear it down. That means contesting the space that terrorists occupy ? including the Internet and social media.

"Their propaganda has coerced young people to travel abroad to fight their wars, and turned students into suicide bombers. We must offer an alternative vision," he said.

Obama underlined that the ideology of ISIL, al-Qaeda and Boko Haram will "wilt and die" if it is consistently exposed, confronted, and refuted in the light of day. He announced that the UN Security Council will adopt a resolution that underscores the responsibility of states to counter violent extremism but called for tangible commitments to implement the resolutions.

Obama reiterated that America will not base its entire foreign policy on "reacting to terrorism" and that the US will never be at war with Islam. Elections 2014

"Rather, we have waged a focused campaign against al Qaeda and its associated forces ? taking out their leaders, and denying them the safe-havens they rely upon. At the same time, we have reaffirmed that the United States is not and never will be at war with Islam. Islam teaches peace.

"Muslims the world over aspire to live with dignity and a sense of justice. And when it comes to America and Islam, there is no us and them ? there is only us, because millions of Muslim Americans are part of the fabric of our country."

He also spoke about the need to address the cycle of conflict, particularly sectarian conflict, that creates the conditions that terrorists prey upon.

"There is nothing new about wars within religions. Christianity endured centuries of vicious sectarian conflict. Today, it is violence within Muslim communities that has become the source of so much human misery. It is time to acknowledge the destruction wrought by proxy wars and terror campaigns between Sunni and Shia across the Middle East," he said.

Obama pointed out that it is time that political, civic and religious leaders reject sectarian strife.

"Let?s be clear: this is a fight that no one is winning. A brutal civil war in Syria has already killed nearly 200,000 people and displaced millions. Iraq has come perilously close to plunging back into the abyss. The conflict has created a fertile recruiting ground for terrorists who inevitably export this violence," he added.