The US president has said the United States are at war with “people who have perverted Islam”. He was very precise that the US is not at war with Islam in general, only with those who “pervert” the religion.


He said that the world must confront ideologies that radicalise people. He said that groups like the Islamic State and al-Qaeda are organised not by religious leaders, but by terrorists. It is these terrorists who must be defeated, not the religion of Islam.

The United States have been carrying out air strikes on Islamic State since last year, but Obama believes that military actions will not be enough to defeat violent extremism; communities must do something too.

In particular he believes that we must encourage the idea that Islam and Western values can live together peacefully. He said  “Muslim leaders need to do more to discredit the idea that our nations are determined to suppress Islam”.

Story and Photo: BBC

Vocabulary: to pervert (v), precise (adj), to confront (v), to carry out (phrasal verb), an air strike (n), to encourage (v), to discredit (v), determined (adj).

Discussion Questions

1) What do you think it means to “pervert” a religion? Can you give an example?

2) Barack Obama says that communities also need to do something to help fight extremism. Do you agree? What could communities do?

3) The article talks about “Western values”. What do you think “Western values” are?

4) What does Obama want Muslim leaders to do? Why do you think he wants them to do this?