(CNSNews.com) - Disrupting terrorist sleeper cell networks in the United States is "something we have to focus on," President Obama told a news conference on Thursday.
"This is also why we work with the Muslim-American community -- the values we affirm about their patriotism and their sacrifice, and our fellow feeling with them is so important.
"One of the reasons that we don't have networks cells that are as active here as they are in certain parts of Europe is because the Muslim-American community in this country is extraordinarily patriotic and largely successful, fights in our military, and serves as our doctors and nurses.
"There are communities in which they are raising their kids with a love of country and a rejection of violence. That has to be affirmed consistently. If we screw that up, then we are going to have bigger problems."
At the beginning of his remarks, Obama said it's not enough to "crush" the Islamic State on the battlefield. The group's "twisted ideology" and "phony claims" must also be defeated.
He made the point that Muslims are both victims of those who embrace "violent extremism" as well as "partners" in fighting it.
"[W]e're going to keep working with partners, including Muslim countries and communities, especially online, to expose ISIL for what they are -- murderers who kill innocent people, including Muslim families and children as they break the Ramadan fast, and who set off bombs in Medina near the Prophet's Mosque, one of the holiest sites in Islam.
"Moreover, we refuse to let terrorists and voices of division undermine the unity and the values of diversity and pluralism that keep our nation strong.
"One of the reasons that America's armed forces are the best in the world is because we draw on the skills and the talents of all of our citizens, from all backgrounds and faiths, including patriotic Muslim Americans who risk and give their lives for our freedom.
"And I think the entire world was inspired this past Sunday when Muslims across France joined their Catholic neighbors at Mass, and in a moving display of solidarity, prayed together. The greeting they extended to each other has to be the message we echo in all of our countries in all of our communities -- peace be with you, and also with you."
Toward the end of his news conference, Obama talked about the ideology embraced by "a very small fraction of the Muslim world."
"A perversion of Islam that has taken root," he said, "and has been turbo charged over the Internet, and that is appealing to even folks who don't necessarily know anything about Islam, and aren't even practicing Islam in any serious way. But, they have all kinds of psychosis and latch onto this as some way of being important and magnifying themselves."