(Front right to left) Jordan's King Abdullah II, Saudi Arabia's King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, U.S. President Donald Trump, and Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan pose for a photo during the Arab Islamic American Summit on May 21, 2017, in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Photo courtesy of Reuters/Jonathan Ernst

Mr. Trump reconceptualizes Islam

"Trump Softens Tone on Islam," declared the New York Times headline, but that understates what the President did in his speech in Saudi Arabia Sunday.

Rather than merely softening his tone, Trump did what amounted to an about-face. To see this, you need to compare Sunday's speech with the formal address on the same subject he gave in Youngstown last August.

Back then, Trump named the enemy as follows:

We will defeat Radical Islamic Terrorism, just as we have defeated every threat we have faced in every age before.

But we will not defeat it with closed eyes, or silenced voices.

Anyone who cannot name our enemy, is not fit to lead this country. Anyone who cannot condemn the hatred, oppression and violence of Radical Islam lacks the moral clarity to serve as our President.

"Radical Islamic Terrorism" and especially "Radical Islam" are terms that place Islam itself in the rhetorical cross-hairs. And Trump made no bones about the failure of Barack Obama to do so.

In winning the Cold War, President Ronald Reagan repeatedly touted the superiority of freedom over communism, and called the USSR the Evil Empire.

Yet, when President Obama delivered his address in Cairo, no such moral courage could be found. Instead of condemning the oppression of women and gays in many Muslim nations, and the systematic violations of human rights, or the financing of global terrorism, President Obama tried to draw an equivalency between our human rights record and theirs.

Implicit in the Youngstown speech was the idea that Islam is a religion in need of reform, regarding not only issues of gender and sexuality but also religious liberty.

Just as we won the Cold War, in part, by exposing the evils of communism and the virtues of free markets, so too must we take on the ideology of Radical Islam.

While my opponent accepted millions of dollars in Foundation donations from countries where being gay is an offense punishable by prison or death, my Administration will speak out against the oppression of women, gays and people of different faith.

Our Administration will be a friend to all moderate Muslim reformers in the Middle East, and will amplify their voices.

In the speech, Trump pledged that one of his first acts as President would be to establish a commission on radical Islam, "which will include reformist voices in the Muslim community who will hopefully work with us."

Let us note for the record that some of those millions of dollars that went to the Clinton Foundation came from Saudi Arabia, which punishes acts of homosexuality with execution, imprisonment, fines, corporal punishment, or flogging.

So that was then.

In Saudi Arabia, Trump made no mention of "Radical Islam." The written text of his remarks referred instead to "Islamist extremism and the Islamist terror groups it inspires" -- a phrase employing a term ("Islamist") recognized as differentiating the religion from a political ideology.

To be sure, at one point -- because "he was just an exhausted guy," an aide told the New York Times -- he slipped off script and referred to "Islamic extremism" and "Islamic terror." But "Islamist" or "Islamic," the message of the speech was that Islam per se was not the problem.

"Saudi Arabia," Trump said, "is home to the holiest sites in one of the world’s great faiths." And he named other worthy majority Muslim countries: Egypt, Jordan, the United Arab Emirates. "This is not a battle between different faiths, different sects, or different civilizations," he said.

So much for that favorite Islamophobic meme, the Clash of Civilizations.

"We are not here to lecture—we are not here to tell other people how to live, what to do, who to be, or how to worship," Trump said. "Instead, we are here to offer partnership—based on shared interests and values—to pursue a better future for us all."

Those shared values clearly did not include the human rights concerns he criticized Obama for failing to raise last August. They boiled down to: "This is a battle between barbaric criminals who seek to obliterate human life, and decent people of all religions who seek to protect it," he said. "This is a battle between Good and Evil."

Rather than seeing Islam as a religion in need of reform, Trump portrayed it as one infected by an enemy host:

A better future is only possible if your nations drive out the terrorists and extremists. Drive. Them. Out.

DRIVE THEM OUT of your places of worship.

DRIVE THEM OUT of your communities.

DRIVE THEM OUT of your holy land, and


Whatever the virtues of no longer regarding Islam itself as the problem, there's something terrifying about this call for extermination. And did I mention the billions of dollars that Saudi Arabia will be sending to the U.S. for infrastructure improvements?

Eat your heart out, Clinton Foundation.


  1. What Trump missed? A condemnation of the Koran that dictates death or horror to non-believers in the myths of Islam. Until this is addressed with changes in the Koran or a total ban of Islam, koranic-driven terror will not end.

    Some suggestions:

    From the studies of Armstrong, Rushdie, Hirsi Ali, Richardson and Bayhaqi————–

    The Five Steps To Deprogram 1400 Years of Islamic Myths:

    ( –The Steps take less than two minutes to finish- simply amazing, two minutes to bring peace and rationality to over one billion lost souls- Priceless!!!)

    Are you ready?

    Using “The 77 Branches of Islamic “faith” a collection compiled by Imam Bayhaqi as a starting point. In it, he explains the essential virtues that reflect true “faith” (iman) through related Qur’anic verses and Prophetic sayings.” i.e. a nice summary of the Koran and Islamic beliefs.

    The First Five of the 77 Branches:

    “1. Belief in Allah”

    aka as God, Yahweh, Zeus, Jehovah, Mother Nature, etc. should be added to your self-cleansing neurons.

    “2. To believe that everything other than Allah was non-existent. Thereafter, Allah Most High created these things and subsequently they came into existence.”

    Evolution and the Big Bang or the “Gib G-nab” (when the universe starts to recycle) are more plausible and the “akas” for Allah should be included if you continue to be a “creationist”.

    “3. To believe in the existence of angels.”

    A major item for neuron cleansing. Angels/devils are the mythical creations of ancient civilizations, e.g. Hittites, to explain/define natural events, contacts with their gods, big birds, sudden winds, protectors during the dark nights, etc. No “pretty/ugly wingy thingies” ever visited or talked to Mohammed, Jesus, Mary or Joseph or Joe Smith. Today we would classify angels as fairies and “tinker bells”. Modern devils are classified as the demons of the demented.

    “4. To believe that all the heavenly books that were sent to the different prophets are true. However, apart from the Quran, all other books are not valid anymore.”

    Another major item to delete. There are no books written in the spirit state of Heaven (if there is one) just as there are no angels to write/publish/distribute them. The Koran, OT, NT etc. are simply books written by humans for humans.

    Prophets were invented by ancient scribes typically to keep the uneducated masses in line. Today we call them for-tune tellers.

    Prophecies are also invaldated by the natural/God/Allah gifts of Free Will and Future.

    “5. To believe that all the prophets are true. However, we are commanded to follow the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings
    be upon him) alone.”

    Mohammed spent thirty days “fasting” (the Ramadan legend) in a hot cave before his first contact with Allah aka God etc. via a “pretty wingy thingy”. Common sense demands a neuron deletion of #5. #5 is also the major source of Islamic violence i.e. turning Mohammed’s “fast, hunger-driven” hallucinations into horrible reality for unbelievers

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