I have friends from all walks of life. I don’t pick friends based on race, color, religion or lifestyle. I pick my friends based on common interests and how they are as human beings. That’s assuming they even want to be my friend. I’ve always maintained, and when you look around you’ll see it to be generally true, that the person who is not a racist or bigot is more comfortable criticizing someone regardless of what they are. To put it in more basic terms, it’s never shocking to find out that a white man who never says anything bad about black people is actually a racist. I’m not saying criticizing someone of a specific race is a prerequisite to treating people equally, but I am saying that overcompensation in one direction is often a red flag that something is not right about someone’s thinking.
When you speak of the President of the United States, the general rules of behavior don’t apply. Therefore when President Obama shows his consistent discomfort and reluctance to call out Islamic extremists by name, he may not be revealing a bigotry towards Muslims, but he is doing exactly what he claims he does not want to do, and that is marginalize the Muslim population. No matter how often the President refuses to say the constant barrage of terror is being committed by Muslim extremists, the facts are the facts and the whole world knows it to be true. Paris, Brussels, Lahore, San Bernadino, various cities all over Israel, are all places where there are examples of recent acts of terror all committed by Muslim extremists. There, I said it. Muslim extremists. But I did not say all Muslims are terrorists did I? If anything, by calling the terrorists Muslims Extremists I am separating them from the rest of the Muslim population. To prove my point, I could easily forward this piece to the likes of M. Zuhdi Jasser, a great Muslim American, without being concerned that I would offend him. Why? Because I am comfortable in making the distinction between him and the terrorists that happen to be the same religion as he and many more millions of Muslims who are not terrorists. When a President leaves a philosophical vacuum he leaves the door open for the less intelligent and thoughtful to make very broad, bigoted, and very often dangerous generalizations. To be blunt, it is better to make the statement ‘all Muslim are not terrorists, but most terrorists these days are Muslim’, than it is to pretend none of the terrorists are Muslim.
When the President says the terrorists do not represent Islam, he may be making what he perceives as an ideologically positive statement, but the truth is that the IS in ISIS or ISIL still stands for Islamic State, and the followers of the terrorist organization identify themselves as Muslims. To not distinguish members of ISIS from decent Muslims does not make that go away. If anything it helps create the reaction some people will have when they read this, which will be to say, “there are no good Muslims”.
Yes Mr. President, there are many people who feel and speak that way. Why? Partially because they are extremists or radicals themselves, partially because some are just racist, but very importantly and not to a small part because of the vacuum created by your reluctance to call it by name. If you look around the world, specifically the western world, other than the Pope, no one individual can impact people’s thinking with words more than the President of the United States of America. By avoiding the terms Islamic extremism or Muslim terrorists, this President may just be doing the exact opposite of what he claims he wants to be doing, and the anger and hatred it may cause may do all of us more harm than good.
LIKE THIS POST? SHARE IT ON FACEBOOK OR TWITTER
READ MORE OF WHAT I HAVE TO SAY IN THE DAILY COLUMN
JOIN “THE GLOBAL COALITION FOR ISRAEL” ON FACEBOOK
GLOBAL COALITION FOR ISRAEL IS NOW ON TWITTER @gcimovement
IN CONJUNCTION WITH GLOBAL COALITION FOR ISRAEL