Praising the good work by Muslims around the world in countries like India that has the world’s second largest Muslim population, US President Barack Obama admitted that many in the US have a “distorted” impression of the community.
The US President said the image people in the West get of Islam is how they are represented by the media as due to the relatively small population of Muslims in countries like the US, many people do not get a clear idea of how a Muslim personally is.
In his closing remarks at a White House summit to counter violent extremism at the State Department yesterday, Obama chose to speak “very directly to a painful truth that’s part of the challenge that brings us here today”.
“The image they get of Muslims or Islam is in the news”.
“And given the existing news cycle, that can give a very distorted impression. A lot of the bad, like terrorists who claim to speak for Islam, that’s absorbed by the general population.
“Not enough of the good — the more than 1 billion people around the world who do represent Islam, and are doctors and lawyers and teachers, and neighbours and friends,” he said yesterday, the final day of the summit.
Obama, who has touched upon issues of religious intolerance and extremism in a series of remarks recently, made the latest comment while addressing the three-day conference, being attended by leaders from more than 60 countries, including India.
The Indian delegation is represented by R N Ravi, Chairman of the Joint Intelligence Committee.
Obama then went on to list the Muslims who have been involved in good work around the world.
“So we have to remember these Muslim men and women — the young Palestinian working to build understanding and trust with Israelis, but also trying to give voice to her people’s aspirations.
“Business leaders in India, with one of the world’s largest Muslim populations,” he continued.
“Entrepreneurs unleashing new innovations in places like Malaysia. Health workers fighting to save lives from polio and from Ebola in West Africa. And volunteers who go to disaster zones after a tsunami or after an earthquake to ease suffering and help families rebuild,” he said.
Obama also gave the example of the recent terror attack on French satirical newspaper, saying: “The world hears a lot about the terrorists who attacked Charlie Hebdo in Paris, but the world has to also remember the Paris police officer, a Muslim, who died trying to stop them.”