President Barack Obama sought to soothe public fears during a televised address Sunday evening, in which he declared last week's shooting in San Bernardino, Calif., an act of terrorism and assured viewers that the United States will overcome these types of threats. He also urged the public not to give in to fear-based reactions.
"The terrorist threat has evolved into a new phase," Obama said, speaking from a lectern in the Oval office, CNN reports. "I know that after so much war, many Americans are asking whether we are confronted by a cancer that has no immediate cure."
He added: "The threat from terrorism is real, but we will overcome it."
The president said that Tashfeen Malik and her husband, Syed Rizwan Farook, the couple responsible for the California attack that left 14 people dead, had gone down a "dark path of radicalization" and embraced a "perverted version of Islam." He added that Americans should not discriminate against all Muslims just because terrorists have embraced a skewed and twisted version of Islam.
"Muslim Americans are our friends and our neighbors, our co-workers, our sports heroes," he said, CNN notes. "And, yes, they are our men and women in uniform who are willing to die in defense of our country. We have to remember that."
The president added that members of the Islamic State group, often known by the acronyms ISIL or ISIS, are nothing but "thugs and killers, part of a cult of death," and noted that defeating them involves a "relentless, strong and smart campaign consistent with the nation's values," CNN reports.
"We will destroy ISIL and any other organization that tries to harm us," the president said. Obama added that one of the ways to defeat domestic terrorism is to "make sure no one on a no-fly list is able to buy a gun."
"What could possibly be the argument for allowing a terrorist suspect to buy a semi-automatic weapon? This is a matter of national security. What we can do, and must do, is make it harder for them to kill," Obama continued.
Read more at CNN.