Biden says religious freedom is key to fighting extremism

Updated at: 10/19/2015 8:52 PM

(AP) NEW YORK - NEW YORK (AP) — Vice President Joe Biden says protecting religious liberty is a moral imperative that defends society against violent extremists.

Biden received the Athenagoras Human Rights Award at a ceremony Saturday night in New York. It's the highest award bestowed by the Greek Orthodox Church.

Biden says terrorist groups like al-Qaida and the Islamic State pervert Islam to justify horrific acts. He says America will be strong as long as it's a beacon for human rights.

The vice president says religious values are entirely consistent with civic values in the U.S. He's crediting his Catholic faith for giving him "refuge and reassurance."

Biden didn't make any reference to his deliberations about running for president. One of his top advisers says he'll make a decision in the near future.

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