WASHINGTON - The United States stands side by side with the victims of terror around the world, President Barack Obama said Tuesday, as he also deplored a rise in anti-Semitism.
"We stand united with people around the world who've been targeted by terrorists - from a school in Pakistan to the streets of Paris," Obama said in his State of the Union address, just days after Islamist attacks in the French capital left 17 dead.
As he asked US lawmakers to give him updated war powers to use American military might to go after the Islamic State group, Obama vowed: "We will continue to hunt down terrorists and dismantle their networks."
But he stressed US officials "reserve the right to act unilaterally, as we've done relentlessly since I took office, to take out terrorists who pose a direct threat to us and our allies."
He also denounced that "deplorable anti-Semitism" was again being seen in places around the world.
But the US president also stressed "we continue to reject offensive stereotypes of Muslims - the vast majority of whom share our commitment to peace."
Promising to stand up for and respect human dignity, Obama added: "That's why we defend free speech, and advocate for political prisoners, and condemn the persecution of women, or religious minorities, or people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender."
"We do these things not only because they're right, but because they make us safer."