President Obama defended his administration’s approach to the terror threat at a White House summit Wednesday, standing by claims that groups like the Islamic State do not represent Islam — as well as assertions that job creation could help combat extremism.
Obama, addressing the Washington audience on the second day of the summit, said the international community needs to address “grievances” that terrorists exploit, including economic and political issues.
He stressed that poverty alone doesn’t cause terrorism, but “resentments fester” and extremism grows when millions of people are impoverished.
“We do have to address the grievances that terrorists exploit including economic grievances,” he said.
He also said no single religion was responsible for violence and terrorism, adding he wants to lift up the voice of tolerance in the United States and beyond.
Obama’s address came as Republican lawmakers and others criticized the administration for declining to describe the threat as Islamic terrorism.
State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf has also come under fire for suggesting several times this past week that more jobs could help address the terrorism crisis.