Secretary of State John Kerry told an audience of opinion leaders Friday at the World Economic Forum that violent extremists waging war on the world and citing Islam as justification should not be called “Islamic radicals” saying it would be a mistake for the West to link Islam to such criminal conduct – mirroring U.S. President Barack Obama’s insistence that the term “radical Islam” is inaccurate:
“Today we are witnessing more than a form of criminal anarchy. A nihilism which illegitimately claims an idealogical and religious foundation,” said Kerry.
“Against this enemy we are increasingly organizing and fighting back. But in doing so, we have to also keep our heads. Obviously the biggest error that we could make would be to blame Muslims collectively for crimes not committed by Muslims alone. Crimes that the overwhelming majority of Muslims oppose. Crimes that their faith utterly rejects. And that Muslim leaders themselves have the greatest ability to address.
“Religions don’t require adherence to raze villages and blow up people. It’s individuals, with a distorted and an even ignorant interpretation of religion who do that.”
Obama and Kerry’s positions on the matter differ greatly from many of America’s closest allies. Speaking before Kerry, French President Francois Hollande said Islāmic extremism is a problem that must be opposed. On Thursday, British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond stood next to Kerry and urged the defeat of what he called “the scourge of violent Islamist extremism.”
Earlier this week, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, a Democrat from Hawaii and Iraq war veteran, said it was a “bipartisan concern” that Obama and his top aides don’t use the term “Islāmic extremism.”
Since the beginning of his presidency Obama, using Political Language and linguistic techniques , has attempted to soften or rewrite terms he views as derogatory to his agenda(s). The evidence can be seen in other topics such as gun control(gun safety laws), illegal aliens(residents without legal permission) as well as the retooling of ISIS to ISIL and ultimately IS. If a “bailout” for the banking industry sounds like a giveaway, call it a “rescue” and it might attract more support. If a “pullout” from Iraq sounds like a retreat, just call it a “drawdown.” Some terms, such as “the war on terror,” were so abhorrent to Obama he has refused to utter them since becoming president.
There are several instances where Vice President Joe Biden has talked about “radical extremism” or “radical fundamentalism” and the need to aggressively confront “violent extremism and radical ideologies,” but he never attaches the word “Islāmic” to those phrases.
In his book Courage to Stand, former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty said Obama “needs to do a more forceful job of reminding people about the threat of global terrorism,” and that needs to start with calling it by its real name:
“Sadly, President Obama will not call this effort what it is,” Pawlenty wrote. “He has stopped using the phrase ‘war on terror.’ His administration never makes pointed references — or any references — to the real problem: radical Islamic terrorism. Apparently that isn’t politically correct. The fact is, radical Islamic terrorism exists. Pointing that out doesn’t condemn all Muslims. But there is an element of Islam that is radical and that has terrorist intentions. We need to call it what it is. We need to confront it, and we need to defeat it.”