EDGARTOWN, Mass. (MCT) — President Barack Obama on Wednesday delivered an angry condemnation of the Islamic militant group believed to be behind the beheading of an American journalist, labeling the group a cancer and calling on Muslims around the world to reject its brand of “hateful terrorism.”
“No faith teaches people to massacre innocents,” Obama said. “No just god would stand for what they did.”
The president said he had spoken with the family of the journalist, James Foley, and expressed his support.
“Jim was taken in an act of violence that shocks the conscience of the entire world,” Obama said. “We are all heartbroken at their loss.”
Foley was freelancing for the website GlobalPost when he was kidnapped in Syria almost two years ago. A video depicting his execution-style murder was posted online Tuesday by the Islamic State, an al-Qaida offshoot that has seized a large swath of territory in Syria and Iraq. Its stated goal is to establish an Islamic caliphate in the heart of the Middle East.
The Obama administration said Wednesday that the video is authentic, though it’s not clear when or where it was made.
Obama pledged that the U.S. will be vigilant and relentless in protecting Americans. “We’ll do what’s necessary to see that justice is done,” he said.
The Islamic State recently has suffered setbacks in Iraq as the U.S. has given air support to the Iraqi military and Kurdish militias fighting the militants. In text displayed in English and Arabic, the group’s video accuses Obama of “placing America upon a slippery slope toward a new war front against Muslims.” Under evident duress, Foley calls the U.S. government his “real killers.”
The militant group “speaks for no religion,” Obama said Wednesday from a makeshift briefing room set up in an elementary school on Martha’s Vineyard, where he resumed his vacation a day earlier.
“Jim Foley’s life stands in stark contrast to his killers,” the president said. “They have rampaged across cities and villages, killing innocent civilians. ... They have murdered Muslims, both Sunni and Shia, by the thousands. They target Christians and religious minorities, driving them from their homes, murdering them when they can, for no other reason than that they practice another religion.”
“Their ideology is bankrupt,” he said.