(2015-12-04) — Minutes after learning that one of the shooters in this week’s San Bernardino attacks, that left 14 dead and injured 21, had pledged allegiance to the Islamic State on Facebook, the White House urged Americans to remain tolerant of “differences”, in an apparent effort to head off an anti-ISIS backlash.
“Many devotees of ISIL are patriotic Americans like you and I,” President Obama said in a written statement. “They’re just peacefully reading the Koran and the Hadith and exercising their First Amendment freedom of religion, hoping and praying for the return of the Mahdi to reign over a global caliphate under Allah’s Sharia. In other words, they’re good people.”
A White House spokesman said the president knows that many Americans are prone to react harshly, even violently, against “people who aren’t the same as them,” adding “who can forget the atrocities committed by Christians during the Crusades, etcetera.”
Obama ordered the Homeland Security secretary to step up surveillance of anti-ISIL hate groups, and assured the Council on American-Islamic Relations that his administration will do everything it can to keep our “all too common bigotry and hate” from harming the peaceful people he called “Caliphate-Americans.”