Politics is about branding. If you can properly brand something, you can sell it to anyone. If we accurately described the procedures of abortion—such as using sharp instruments to tear off the limbs of children in the womb—rather than calling it “women’s reproductive rights,” it might not be so favorably viewed. And so it goes with radical Islamic terrorism.
The Obama administration has gone to great lengths to avoid calling radical Islamic terrorism what it is. On Wednesday, during a speech regarding extremism, the President remarked:
“…ISIL presumes to declare itself the ‘Islamic State.’ And they propagate the notion that America – and the West, generally – is at war with Islam…We must never accept the premise that they put forward, because it is a lie…They are not religious leaders – they’re terrorists. And we are not at war with Islam. We are at war with people who have perverted Islam.”
The above quote is just a small portion of a predictably long-winded speech, but it gives insight into what the President is trying to do: rebrand radical Islam. As ISIS has, with great force, pushed radical Islamic terrorism further into the public eye with graphic video executions, and brutal campaigns, Obama has been trying with equal might to disconnect this evil from Islam.
This drives me to ask why. First, why does Obama feel the desperate need to draw a line between radical Muslims and peaceful Muslims? The line is already wildly obvious, and thus further definition is unnecessary. Americans know the difference between ISIS, and their neighbor John Hussein down the street.
Second, why does he feel the need to rebrand ISIS as non-Islamic? He has even used terms like “nihilistic,” and “death cult” in his descriptions. Why is it so difficult to say that there are those whose interpretations of the Koran give them license to murder? Well, the Reverend Franklin Graham has an idea. During an interview with Greta Van Susteren, Graham said:
“His mother was married to a Muslim. His father was a Muslim…Then she married a man from Indonesia. He was raised in Indonesia. Went to Islamic schools…So his whole life, his experiences have been surrounded by Islam. He only knows Islam. And he has given a pass to Islam.”
Obama is sympathetic to Islam. No, I’m not suggesting that Obama is a Muslim—even though every liberal wishes conservatives believed that–but I’m suggesting that his upbringing is blinding him. In an effort to protect the faith he grew up with, he is doing what every politician does: he’s rebranding.
So, he wants to protect Islam, but why does he need to protect radical Islam? Because radical Islam is directly linked to peaceful Islam. Obama said something during his speech on Wednesday that brings me to this conclusion:
“…religious leaders and scholars preach that Islam calls for peace and for justice, and tolerance toward others; that terrorism is prohibited; that the Koran says whoever kills an innocent, it is as if he has killed all mankind.”
The Islam Obama grew up with was one that practiced peaceful coexistence–like those obnoxious bumper stickers you see on the backs of every Prius.That faith takes from the Koran what it wants, just as ISIS takes from the Koran what it wants. To condemn radical Islam is to also tarnish peaceful Islam. The verses of peace come from the same book as the verses of violence, and are thus inextricably linked.
ISIS is just as Islamic as peaceful Islam; ISIS is simply Islamic in a different way, one which has a negative influence on the world—because they have chosen to adhere to the verses which condone, and command violence against infidels, and apostates. But if Obama wants to protect the faith he grew up surrounded by, the faith he respects, he must also protect radical Islam. It’s just a byproduct. The ideologies come from the same texts. So, he is cutting all ties between ISIS, and Islam—instead calling them nihilists who just need economic stability.
But this has dangerous repercussions. As Democratic Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard told Neil Cavuto on Wednesday:
“The danger here is, again, that you’re not identifying the threat, and you’re not identifying the fact that they are not fueled by a materialistic motivation, it’s actually a theological, this radical Islamic ideology that is allowing them to continue to recruit, that is allowing them to continue to grow in strength…”
Failing to properly identify the motivation of ISIS makes it difficult, if not impossible, to ever defeat them, and places lives around the world in danger.
Zaid Nabulsi, a Jordanian Attorney, put it perfectly in a recent letter to The Jordan Times:
“So enough of this burial of our heads in the sand. It has become tiresome to keep hearing the unproductive cliché that Islam is innocent after each atrocity committed by devout fanatics who did nothing except execute the exact letter of their textbooks, which order them to slaughter the infidels.”