In his weekly address to the nation, President Obama spoke of the U.S.’s continued efforts to defeat the Islamic State in the wake of the Brussels attacks, but added that in doing so, we must also be an example of freedom and tolerance.
"As we move forward, we have to wield another weapon alongside our airstrikes, our military, our counterterrorism work, and our diplomacy—and that’s the power of our example,” he said.
The president then made it clear that he has no plans to back off his pledge to allow 100,000 Iraqi and Syrian refugees to come to America, despite the fact that a majority of Americans oppose accepting refugees from the war-torn countries.
“Our openness to refugees fleeing ISIL's violence; our determination to win the battle against ISIL's hateful and violent propaganda — a distorted view of Islam that aims to radicalize young Muslims to their cause,” are integral to the fight, he said.
The nation’s most important partners in this effort are American Muslims, he added. Thus, he said, we have to “reject any attempt to stigmatize Muslim Americans.”
The president was likely taking a shot at a proposal by GOP frontrunner Donald Trump to temporarily ban Muslims from entering the U.S., and recent calls by Sen. Ted Cruz to increase surveillance of Muslim neighborhoods.
Such efforts, Obama implied, are “contrary to our character, our values, and to our history as a nation built around the idea of religious freedom.”