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US not at War with Islam but 'at war with those perverting Islam'

US President Barack Obama made a clarified statement as to the stand and target of the US towards Islam Extremist saying  US is "not at war with Islam - we are at war with the people who have perverted Islam".

He was speaking to representatives from 60 nations attending a three-day event on extremism that follows attacks in Denmark and France.

Mr Obama said the world had to confront the ideologies that radicalise people.

He said those heading groups like Islamic State and al-Qaeda were not religious leaders but terrorists.

Mr Obama said associating Islamic State or al-Qaeda with Islam would be buying into the propaganda of those groups, challenging critics who have questioned him for not describing recent attacks as the work of "Islamic radicals".

Mr Obama has asked Congress formally to authorise military force against Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. The US and its partners have carried out air strikes against the group since last year.

Mr Obama said the fight against violent extremism could not be won by military power alone.

Communities, he said, must do their part. "These terrorists are a threat first and foremost to the communities they target," he said.

He added that there were Muslims around the world who did not necessarily subscribe to the violent tactics of IS, but who "buy into" the notion that Islam had been "polluted" by Western values.

"It makes individuals… more ripe for radicalisation," he said.

"Muslim leaders need to do more to discredit the notion that our nations are determined to suppress Islam."

UK Home Secretary Theresa May and Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo are among those attending the conference in Washington.

The US and its allies are also concerned about growing extremist involvement in Libya and West Africa, as well as Americans and Europeans who have joined IS.

The summit comes at a time of heightened tension on both sides of the Atlantic. Canada has faced a growing threat from Islamist radicals, with two soldiers dying in separate "lone wolf" attacks in October last year.

Meanwhile Europe has been on heightened alert since the Charlie Hebdo shootings in Paris in January. Those attacks were followed by last weekend's killings in Copenhagen.
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