While decrying the death and violence the Islamic State has brought across Syria and Iraq, President Obama said Friday that there is actually a “silver lining” to the militant group’s rise.

Speaking at a Democratic party fundraiser in Baltimore, the president said the Islamic State’s sheer brutality — evidenced by the beheadings of two American journalists, the murders of religious minorities and other horrific acts — should convince the rest of the Arab world that Islamist extremism must be confronted and defeated.

“What gives me confidence is that we’re on the right side of history here. What also is a silver lining in the terrible mayhem that ISIL has brought throughout the region is it has focused attention, I think for the first time in a long time in the Muslim world, on … the need to distance from and ultimately snuff out this brand of Islamic extremism,” he said, referring to the Islamic State by one of its alternate names.

Mr. Obama spoke at the Baltimore home of Howard Friedman, former president of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, commonly known as AIPAC. Mr. Friedman praised the president for “standing by Israel” and fighting terrorism.

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