WASHINGTON (AFP) – US President Barack Obama on Friday urged European governments to try to better assimilate their Muslim minority populations as they respond to extremist attacks like last week’s shootings in Paris.
At a White House news conference with British Prime Minister David Cameron, his first foreign guest since last week’s Charlie Hebdo massacre, Obama said the allies would stand by France.
But he also warned that the answer to the recent violence must not simply be a security crackdown.
“I know David joins me when I say that we will continue to do everything in our power to help France seek the justice that is needed, and that all our countries are working together seamlessly to prevent attacks and to defeat these terrorist networks,” Obama said.
Obama said the Paris attacks “underscored how terrorist groups like Al-Qaeda and ISIL (ISIS) are actively trying to inspire and support people within our own countries to engage in terrorism.”
The US leader said the 2013 Boston marathon bombing showed that the United States was not entirely safe from Islamic militant cells, but suggested that it had had more success than others in integrating minorities.
“Our biggest advantage, major, is that our Muslim populations feel themselves to be Americans and there is this incredible process of immigration and assimilation that is part of our tradition,” he said.
“There are parts of Europe in which that’s not the case… it’s important for Europe not to simply respond with a hammer and law enforcement and military approaches to these problems.”