Why conservatives want Obama to say ‘Islamic’ terrorism (COMMENTARY)

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President Obama speaks to Christian leaders on April 7, 2015 at the Easter Prayer Breakfast at the White House. Religion News Service photo by Adelle M. Banks

President Obama speaks to Christian leaders on April 7, 2015 at the Easter Prayer Breakfast at the White House. Religion News Service photo by Adelle M. Banks

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(RNS) Many fear that our political correctness has run amok, to the point we look foolish.

  • Larry

    How about more honest reasons why conservatives want the entire religion of 1.4 billion people of Islam linked with terrorism:

    1. Equating the actions of extremists and fundamentalists with an entire faith fits in well with the agenda of Christian Fundamentalists who want to pretend to speak for their entire faith (despite being no more than a vocal minority)

    2. Playing up to hysteria and bigotry HAS ALWAYS been a winning plan for conservatives. Demonizing the poor, racial minorities, gays, atheists, organized labor, progressive politicians, religious minorities always played well with an uncritical, easily riled mob.

    3. What better way to grab power and browbeat others than to claim to be actively fighting terrorism in all forms.

    4. Attacking Islam as a whole makes it easier for Conservative Christians to attack any opposition once the discriminatory groundwork is laid.

    5. Its much easier to blame an entire religion than deal with messy international politics.

  • Baker

    Whether it’s called ‘terrorism’ or ‘barbarism’ or ‘beheadism’ or ‘extremism’ doesn’t matter. What matters is to understand what motivates these individuals to slaughter people and find the solution for it. When you understand where this ideology stems from, it’s easier to address the problem.

    If the book you call “holy” is inciting people to pursue violence, then there is a fundamental problem with your “holy” book.

  • Larry

    Claims its just because they are Muslim is a lazy sack of crap. What motivates these people is either personal or political issues.

    ISIS is motivated by a power vacuum, plethora of arms and money from Saudi Arabia, and an opportunity to grab power and rule like a modernized Khymer Rouge. The appeal of being an unrestrained brigand/warlord is fairly easy to figure out. Why behead people on Youtube? Because fear and atrocity has always been a useful tool of psychological warfare.

    Why appeal to Islam? It is the majority religion of the region, Islamicists abroad are paying for the mayhem, it appeals to old anti-colonial animosities.

    Why not call it “Islamic terror” instead of the more appropriate “Islamicist Terror”? It is inappropriate to demonize an entire faith when one can more honestly ascribe it to the responsible political group/ideology.

    All 3 Abrahamic religions have used the Bible to incite people to pursue violence. There is a fundamental problem with the…

  • Drew

    Do you know if koran has any verses of peace included in it?

  • The Great God Pan

    I’m not conservative and I wouldn’t mind if Obama said “Islamic terrorism.” He could also use the more generic term “religious terrorism” if he doesn’t want to single anyone out.

    ISIS are actually quite culturally conservative. They’re certainly no liberals. More like the Duck Dynasty crowd on PCP.

  • Larry

    Plenty. Just like the new testament has many passages about treating unbelievers harshly and without mercy. AtheistMax rattles those off on a regular basis.

    Maybe try reading it yourself instead of snippets from people seeking to demonize the faith.

    Fact is, ISIS is chiefly combatting and victimizing fellow Muslims in greater numbers than other groups. As with all of these terrorists. We just don’t pay attention to them.

    In fact this entire article by Mr. Wax is a lame attempt to hand wave some truly ignorant brain dead approaches to international troubles.

    Sorry, demonizing Islam is counterproductive and useless. It just makes the terrorists’ job easier.

  • Larry

    Islamicist is really the most appropriate. It denotes a political stance and a specific ideology within the religious group rather than overgeneralizes.

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  • Diogenes

    More to the original point, the issue of political correctness running amok: News Flash; that ship has sailed.

  • And yet, have conservatives considered why Obama will not call ISIS an Islamic group? Those who are more familiar with the religion and the different cultures have stated a simple principle in battling terrorism. That principle is to isolate terrorist groups from any supposed base. When this is done in a coordinated way, the resulting division can decrease the number recruits.

    But more importantly is the matter of consistency and fairness. Would we appreciate it if the violence practiced by the KKK was called ‘Christian Terrorism’? Or would we call David Koresh’s Waco group a Christian group? Since Christianity is strongly associated with America, especially when George Bush was President, would it be fair to have people call the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq ‘Christian’ Invasions?

    Perhaps one of the real reasons why some of us Christians want the terrorism practiced by groups like ISIS and Al-Qaeda to be ‘Islamic terrorism’ is for the marketing side of Christian…

  • Rufus

    “Do you know if koran has any verses of peace included in it?”

    Yes, hearing crickets.

  • opheliart

    Curt Day, hello, how are you feeling today? Regarding your comment …

    Obama: “remember that during the Crusades and the Inquisition, people committed terrible deeds in the name of Christ.”

    In the name of Christ? misleading … In the name of the institutionalized establishments such as ______. Let’s be specific. You can’t hold to one and not to another, despite what some militants might try to push. State facts, please! There are too many Christian views, and many apart from the RC Institution and those like it, and that’s not even including the gnostics … who were what during this devilry?

  • Opheliart,
    There is a difference between saying things were done in the name of a religion from saying that what was a religious practice. Plenty of terrorism was practiced by the KKK in the name of Christ, could what they did be called ‘Christian’ terrorism? So ISIS, Boko Haram, and Al-Qaeda do horrible things in the name of Islam. Does that mean that the terrorism they practice is Islamic terrorism?

  • opheliart

    You missed my point, Curt …

    reread my comment.

  • opheliart

    Should Obama say that the attacks, mutilations, kidnapping, sexual abuse, torture and murder is “done in the name of [prophet]” … [god]?

  • James Carr

    Obama is simply a coward. Calling Islamic Terrorists Islamic would upset the rest of Islam….which it should, perhaps they would flush out the fanatics.
    Black Power, Gay Activists, Christian Fundamentalists, Communist China, Irish Rebels, Papists, etc., are names that people have no problem using to describe a specific group within a group. Why not Islamic terrorist? It is the source of their criminal rationality for genocide.
    The West should drop all pretense of not blaming Islam, and should aggressively attack the terrorists with all of our superior power.
    Obama is just a loser, THE worst President in all of our history.

  • opheliart

    Obama is either lacking in knowledge, pushing agenda or both. I will let you decide. History has enough facts available for the president of the United States of America to be specific on the Crusades and the Inquisition, just as it is fair to those of Islam for him to be specific.

    Peace

  • Opheliart,
    What you are missing is the historical context of the Crusades. For most, if not the whole period of the Crusades, you only had 2 branches of Christianity: the Roman Church and the Orthodox Church. And the beginning of the Crusades saw one was coming to the rescue of the other.

    Now compare that with today’s groups like ISIS, Boko Haram, and Al-Qaeda. They are not really comparable.

    So whether my previous note or even this one addresses the your point, there is again a difference between doing things in the name of a religion and practicing that religion. In addition, would you call what the KKK practiced ‘Christian Terrorism’?

  • Walter

    Good points by the author of this article. Aside from that,
    Jihad is not a new concept, it’s been around for centuries and long before crusades came into the scene.
    In fact, Crusades were a response to the Muslim conquest.
    There is a good video that compares Jihad Vs. Crusades on youtube.

  • Walter
  • opheliart

    Curts says:
    What you are missing is the historical context of the Crusades. For most, if not the whole period of the Crusades, you only had 2 branches of Christianity: the Roman Church and the Orthodox Church. And the beginning of the Crusades saw one was coming to the rescue of the other.

    Now compare that with today’s groups like ISIS, Boko Haram, and Al-Qaeda. They are not really comparable.

    So whether my previous note or even this one addresses the your point, there is again a difference between doing things in the name of a religion and practicing that religion. In addition, would you call what the KKK practiced ‘Christian Terrorism’?
    ***************
    I don’t care which branch he claims were responsible, Curt dear, YOU CAN INFORM OBAMA ON THE DETAILS … but I see how you are trying to sidestep the issue.
    SHOULD OBAMA HAVE SAID MURDER AND TORTURE IN THE NAME OF [ISLAMIC PROPHET?GOD]? wonder what would have happened had he 🙁

  • Blue Moon

    We like to blame it on those crusaders, don’t we? 😉

  • Larry

    Never heard of google?

    How lazy are you?

    Don’t answer that question. If you are blaming the entire religion of Islam for violence, you are very lazy indeed.

    Try this site
    http://www.themuslimtimes.org/2013/…verses-about-compassionate…the-quran

    There is also some tidbits elsewhere:
    “”Repel (evil) with what is better. Then will he, between whom and thee was hatred, become as it were thy friend and intimate. And no one will be granted such goodness except those who exercise patience and self-restraint.” Chapter 41, Verse 34 and 35″

    “And among His signs is this that He created for you mates from among yourselves, that ye may dwell in tranquility with them, and He has put love and mercy between your (hearts); verily in that are signs for those who reflect.” Chapter 30, Verse 21

  • Larry

    “Political correctness” being a catchphrase for “saying things we don’t like to hear”.

    How about political realities here. Islamicism is far more extensive as Muslim on Muslim violence than against the west. Demonizing the entire faith attacks victims and perpetrators alike and does nothing to help the situation. [Which in reality is a very political cold war between Saudi Arabia and Iran]. Those fighting the Islamicists are Muslim as well. (Egypt, Jordan, Hezbollah, Syrian Army, Kurds, Iraqi Army, Turkey, Tunisians).

    So what fools like Mr. Wax wants is to alienate these people as well. The only people who are actually doing the majority of the fighting and dying against the Islamicists. That is not political correctness, that is political reality.

  • Opheliart,
    The details indicate that Obama distinguishes the difference between doing something in the name of a religion and practicing that religion. And the part you seem to be sidestepping is the example of the KKK. According to you, did the KKK practice Christian Terrorism or did they merely do terrorism in the name of Christ?

    See, the issues here are double standard and legitimacy. When do we acknowledge that the KKK practiced their heinous in the name of Christ? When? We know that they did. But we are quiet about that while trying to associate Islam and terrorism. We are eager to make that association but get so offended when the tables are turned.

    Second, again, the issue is legitimacy. Just because the KKK practiced terrorism in the name of Christ did not mean that they practicing Christian Terrorism or Christian Bigotry. So the same applies here with ISIS et. al. and Islam. To disassociate Islam from the terrorism practiced in its name delegitimizes the terrorism.

  • Larry

    “Obama is simply a coward. Calling Islamic Terrorists Islamic would upset the rest of Islam….which it should, perhaps they would flush out the fanatics.”

    You may pick up your check from Islamic State at your earliest convenience. You are doing their job in recruiting and propagandizing.

    Demonizing Islam for the actions of Islamic State, Boko Haram and terrorists (technically they are 3 separate things) will not flush out fanatics. It will recruit more of them! Their whole spiel is that the West is out to destroy their religion so you must fight back through terrorism and acts of mayhem. You merely confirm such fictions.

    “Islamicist” is really the most appropriate term to use here.

  • opheliart

    You can’t be that obtuse, Curt … so, I will say that you want people to believe that the Crusades and the Inquisition (those terrible deeds as stated by Obama) were done in Christ’s name. IOW, you are saying that [Christ] told the RCC and those like it to binge murder? Hmm … no. Don’t think that will pass through the straight and narrow.

  • Larry

    The Crusaders ultimately had their posteriors handed to them by the Saracens. After the failed siege of Vienna in the 15th century, the Muslim world was more the attacked than the attackers. (Most notably Russia vs. Turkey). The West even came to the rescue of the Muslim world in the 19th Century [The Crimean War] Crusaders are far less to blame than imperialists of the 19th to early 20th Century.

    To those ignorant of the history of those regions, they fail to recognize that terrorism was largely by secular nationalistic/radical groups (PLO, FLN, Ba’athists), up until the rise of Iran and Islamicist terror being exported. This is not an ancient problem but a modern one pretending to be far older.

  • Larry

    Islamic State and Boko Haram have more in common with modern groups like the Khmer Rouge and Hutu extremists than Saracens. They are a group of armed thugs using political/religious ideology to justify what amounts to a naked grab for power, theft, and unchecked mayhem. Considering their victims are also largely Muslim, blaming the religion is at best lazy, at worst just nasty unhelpful pernicious rhetoric.

    If you want a Christian example, try how the Bosnian Serbian militias behaved in the Yugoslav Civil War of the 90’s. Murdering people who were Muslim or Catholic in order to expand Orthodox Christian populations.

  • “Religious Terrorism” is the best name for all this destructive uncivilized nonsense.

    Religion is the cause of most terrorism.
    Almost all terrorism is faith-based.

    The first Christian Terrorist was Jesus himself:

    “So Jesus made a whip out of cords, and drove all from the temple area… he scattered the coins of the moneychangers and overturned their tables…..”Get these out of here!…”
    (John 2: 15-16)

    He whipped the people violently. They left because they were terrified of him.

  • Religion spreads through Terrorism.
    Civilization and progress spreads through BLASPHEMY.

    “Question with boldness the existence of God..” – THOMAS JEFFERSON

  • Paolo Romano

    “The first Christian Terrorist was Jesus himself”

    That’s absurd. Try again, Max.

  • Paolo Romano

    You sure are on the defensive (and offensive) here, Larry.

    How about you go to Syria and bring us back some first-hand reporting on how Islamic ISIS really is?

    Mr. Wax summarizes many conservatives viewpoints on this nicely but misses one major point…that is, Mr. Obama has been an absolute foreign policy failure making rookie mistake after fumbling faux pas, and conservatives do not trust him to keep the peace in the Middle East.

  • Larry

    Sorry if I am tired of the brain dead, historically ignorant ranting that goes on in place of informed discussion on the subject. When someone starts in on demonizing Islam as the focus of Middle East troubles, they don’t deserve to be taken seriously.

    Try watching news sources other than CNN or Fox. They don’t report jack in the region. The BBC and NHK World have been far more comprehensive on the subject.

    Mr. Wax summarizes viewpoints which are entirely lacking in basic sense and support an agenda which is entirely pernicious. Making religious fundamentalism of both Islam and Christianity far more acceptable than they have any business being.

    Conservatives aren’t offering alternatives to Obama’s actions in foreign policy. Like most things they simply have been sitting back and criticizing. They talk a good game, but don’t want to do squat.

  • I would urge the author of this post to read Mark Sageman’s Leaderless Jihad, an excellent and meticulously researched work on what he calls the “al-Qaeda social movement” which encompasses all of what we refer to as “radical Islam” or “Islamic terrorism.” It is not empirically correct that there is any coherent theology driving groups like al-Qaeda, Boko Haram, or ISIS. What drives these groups is an anti-Western ideology that perceives a “war on Islam” by the West. It stems from a belief that the West has persecuted and killed Muslims around the world. The supposed devout “Islamic” beliefs only come after those aspects. All respectable research on the particular Muslim form of terrorism shows this. It is not that different than other forms of terrorism. This can be backed up by evidence, look at all the jihadis that bought books like “Islam for Dummies.” Most terrorists are un-mosqued and untrained in Islamic theology.

  • Paolo Romano,

    I would have pointed out that Yahweh was the first Christian Terrorist – but he wasn’t Christian.

    Yahweh turned into Jesus and arranged for himself to be killed (lamb of god) as a sacrifice to himself to save humanity from his own laws so people wouldn’t go to the Hell he built for them.
    And if we reject this story we go to Hell anyway.

    Considering that God was the first one to demand his son had to spill blood in order for the magic to work, he is the first Terrorist of Christianity.
    But he is not the first Christian Terrorist – that title goes to Jesus.

  • liberal lucy

    “most terrorism is religious” HMMM!
    (1) What was Timothy McVey’s religion?
    (2) The “catholic” vs “protestant” conflict in Ireland was about politics – the right to vote and hold property? I’m not sure these were factors in the 20th century but it definitely were in the 18th & 19th centuries. It was basically between England and Ireland. Just so was the 20th century conflict between Northern Ireland ( English supported Protestant) and southern Ireland (predominately Catholic). Suppression and Freedom are two opposing ideologies neither of which are specifically religious and are exhibited in any number of ways – unequal pay, the glass ceiling. and prohibition of abortion – all just directed at one group, which our nation cannot survive without.
    Unfortunately, there are many who want to throw religion under the bus, but most charitable institutions and many higher education institutions were begun by enlightened religious.
    Don’t blame everything…

  • Larry

    Fundamentalist religion is taking the place that radicalism and nationalism had 2 generations ago. It is the latest excuse for people to grab weapons and run amok.

    One cannot deny that groups like Al Queda don’t really have a coherent political agenda or that Islamic State is using fundamentalist religion as both a recruiting tool and a way to gain respectability beyond their banditry.

  • @Liberal Lucy:

    If you don’t realize that Catholic Vs. Protestant is religious warfare – you don’t know understand what Religion is.

    Religion is Tribalism, Racism and Bigotry ALL rolled up in a BLESSED and VIRTUOUS PACKAGE

    Infidels are those who declare: “God is the Christ, the son of Mary.” – (Sura 5:17)
    Believers, take neither the Jews nor the Christians for your friends. – (Sura 5:51)
    “I am ONLY HERE FOR the lost sheep of the house of Israel” — Jesus, (Matthew 15:24)
    “If anyone does not love the Lord, let that person be cursed!” (1 Corinthians 16:22)
    “Kill the non-believers in daylight” – YAHWEH (Deuteronomy)

    These are nightmares against civilization.

  • Opheliart,
    Again, you are avoiding the question about the KKK.

    What was the purpose of Obama citing the Crusades and other atrocities done in the name of Christ? What was it? Wasn’t it so that we would take the position that the pharisee took in the parable of the two men praying?

    And considering that the most of the Crusades and some of the Inquisitions were done by one of the then two main branches of the Christian Church, yes, they were done in Christ’s name. Just as the KKK claimed to practice their form of terrorism in the name of Christ. How is it that when one of the then two or three main churches practices such a overall program that it was not done in the name of Christ? How?

    We are not arguing whether those actions represented Christ or were the result of following Him. We are discussing whether they were done in the name of Christ and one only needs to go to the historical documents to see that they were.

    Will continue in the next comment

  • Opheliart,
    Now note the parallel. If Obama is comparing the terrorism practiced in the Crusades and other actions done in the name of Christ to the terrorism practiced by ISIS, Boko Haram, and Al Qaeda, isn’t he implying that those acts practiced by those groups were done in the name of Islam? And if he doesn’t see that the terrorism practiced by ISIS, Boko Haram, and Al Qaeda do not represent Islam and yet he is comparing atrocities done in the name of Christ to them, isn’t he implying that the atrocities done in the name of Christ do not represent Christ?

    We need to distinguish between those acts done in the name of a religion from those acts that are representative of the same religion.

  • Diogenes

    mere semantics won’t change the facts or the discussion.

  • Larry

    Accurately calling a global political movement by its proper name is not semantics. Neither is criticizing lazy rhetoric and arguments which are completely counterproductive to anything useful.

    You can either educate yourself about the region in question, try to understand its history and politics, or you can spout ignorant sectarian drivel.

  • liberal lucy

    Put simply religion is a system of beliefs. Your lack of belief is a system of belief like it or not. You believe there is no god, therefore, it’s your system of belief. Whether it is good or evil depends how it is expressed.
    You are trying to denigrate every belief but your own. As the saying goes “your rights end at my nose.” People change and grow whether by choice or by necessity.
    The real issue whether we, as a nation, will allow any one particular (small) segment of our great nation to undermine that which has made our nation great – a melding of many different systems of beliefs-religion. Insisting that our President demonize a particular segment, Islam, because of the power grab by a destructive subgroup of that segment is not an appropriate way for a aspiring politician to be. Vote for more rational candidates. Vote for defense not offense in international relations.

  • liberal lucy

    Put simply religion is a system of beliefs. Your lack of belief is a system of belief like it or not. You believe there is no god, therefore, it’s your system of belief. Whether it is good or evil depends how it is expressed.
    You are trying to denigrate every belief but your own. As the saying goes “your rights end at my nose.” People change and grow whether by choice or by necessity.
    The real issue whether we, as a nation, will allow any one particular (small) segment of our great nation to undermine that which has made our nation great – a melding of many different systems of beliefs-religion. Insisting that our President demonize a particular segment, Islam, because of the power grab by a destructive subgroup of that segment is not an appropriate way for an aspiring politician to be. Vote for more rational candidates. Vote for defense not offense in international relations.
    (corrected)

  • @Liberal lucy,

    “Your lack of belief is a system of belief like it or not…”

    Nonsense. And stop being ridiculous!

    Do you know if there is water on the planet Mercury?
    I don’t. And neither do you!
    I have no reason to believe water exists on Mercury. I claim nothing about it!

    So, without evidence, I have no reason to believe there is any water on Mercury. My NON-belief is NOT a belief – it is a question mark!

    Same with God. I don’t believe in God because I see no reason to believe. That is no different from water on Mercury.

    You are the one who claims the Magic Leprechaun exists – not me!
    Prove your magic leprechaun is real. He’s YOUR leprechaun – not mine!
    Where is it?

    Here is what I believe – YOU are not challenged enough!

  • Diogenes

    I’ve studied the region, it’s politics, and history to some degree. Perhaps more than the average American who seems to become more intellectually lazy with each passing day. Nor did I offer any ‘drivel,’ I merely posited that splitting hairs over nomenclature doesn’t move us toward a solution regarding the conflict between ‘Islamicists’ and the rest of the world. Personally, I think the world’s problems are unsolvable absent the 2nd Advent of Jesus Christ; but of course that doesn’t cut any ice with you.

  • Larry

    “I’ve studied the region, it’s politics, and history to some degree.”

    Well then, you should now better than to go with arguments like, “Its because their Muslim”. Shame on you.

    “I think the world’s problems are unsolvable absent the 2nd Advent of Jesus Christ; but of course that doesn’t cut any ice with you.”

    Then you will be forgoing any input as to how to address such problems? Since obviously it is unsolvable until the 2nd coming anyway why waste the effort fruitlessly. Can we be so lucky?

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  • Michael Hutton

    Don’t forget that politicians are also extremely pragmatic. Maybe it’s as simple as, “We really don’t want to fight all the Muslims all at once now.” If he were to say, “This is a war against Islam.” that could be a factor that helps increase the number of terrorists. Some between moderate and extreme could easily move toward extreme.

    Also, by making that distinction it allows the possibility to become true. Muslims in America can feel that moderate or secular Islam is a real alternative.

    My guess (and we’re all guessing here) is that Obama says things like this out of mix of pragmatism and wishful thinking.

    And while I think he’s wrong and in the long term it’s ultimately unhelpful, I must admit I can see sense in it also.

    Just my antipodean opinion.
    God bless,