Don’t allow terrorists to divide us, says Obama
US President Barack Obama urged Americans on the 15th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks to embrace the nation’s diversity and not to allow “terrorists” to divide the country.
Extremist organisations like alQaeda and the Islamic State group “know that they will never be able to defeat a nation as great and as strong as America”, Mr Obama said at a memorial service at the Pentagon, one of the sites attacked on September 11, 2001.
“So instead they try to terrorise, in the hopes that they can stoke enough fear that we turn on each other,” said Mr Obama, who observed a moment of silence at the Oval Office in honour of the nearly 3000 people killed that day.
“And that’s why it is so important today that we reaffirm our character as a nation ... Our diversity, our patchwork heritage, is not a weakness. It is still and always will be one of our greatest strengths,” he added.
“This is the America that was attacked that September morning. This is the America that we must remain true to.”
In an indirect reference to the controversial anti-Muslim, antiimmigrant campaign rhetoric of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, Mr Obama recalled that Americans were “a people drawn from every corner of the world, every colour, every religion, every background”.
Mr Obama, who is a Democrat, has repeatedly criticised Mr Trump’s statements, including the billionaire’s proposal in the wake of last December’s mass shooting in San Bernardino, California, to ban Muslims from entering the United States.
“In the 15 years since the al-Qaeda suicide plane strikes on the Pentagon,
New York’s World Trade Center and in Pennsylvania, the threat has evolved.
“Terrorists often attempt attacks on a smaller but still deadly scale,” Mr Obama added, recalling the Boston marathon bombings, the nightclub massacre in Orlando in June and the carnage in San Bernardino. –
US President Barack Obama, accompanied by Defence Secretary Ash Carter (centre) and chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Joseph Dunford, observes a moment of silence during a ceremony to mark the15th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks at the Pentagon Memorial in Washington DC on September 11.