Politics

President Obama delivers address after California shootings

U.S. President Barack Obama delivers a statement to the news media after receiving a briefing from his national security team.
U.S. President Barack Obama delivers a statement to the news media after receiving a briefing from his national security team.
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

In a rare Oval Office address, President Barack Obama on Sunday night urged Americans to not give into fear following attacks in Paris and California.

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"Let's make sure we never forget what makes us exceptional. Let's not forget that freedom is more powerful than fear," he said in the short speech, which lasted less than 15 minutes.

Obama said that Muslims must speak out against the perversion of their faith but he also rejected calls for Muslims to be a treated differently: "It is the responsibility of Americans of every faith to reject discrimination."

He went on to say, "We cannot turn against one another, letting this fight be defined as a war between America and Islam. ... ISIL does not speak for Islam. ... The vast majority of terrorist victims around the world are Muslim. ... Muslim Americans are our friends and neighbors…our sports heroes…our men and women in uniform. We have to remember that."

On the practical side, Obama did not announce any major policy changes for targeting the Islamic State group. 

He vowed to defeat the Islamic State but said, "We should not be drawn into a long and costly ground war in Iraq or Syria. That's what ISIL wants."

This story has been updated.