President Barack Obama is well known for his aversion to linking terrorism and Islam. He infamously insisted that military and intelligence training materials be purged of references to Islamic terrorism and jihadists, favoring more neutral terminology such as “violent extremists.” Now British Prime Minister David Cameron is calling out Obama for his refusal to face facts—and insisting that our future security depends upon recognizing our enemies.
The Washington Times reports that at a U.N. summit devoted to defeating ISIS on Tuesday, Cameron rejected vociferously when Obama urged world leaders not to focus only on Muslims because “violent extremism is not unique to any one faith.”
Barack, you said it and you’re right — every religion has its extremists. But we have to be frank that the biggest problem we have today is the Islamist extremist violence that has given birth to ISIL, to al-Shabab, to al-Nusra, al Qaeda and so many other groups.
Cameron added that Western nations must act to “root out the extremist preachers that are poisoning the minds of young Muslims in our countries.”
We need to make sure we don’t allow the incubation of an extremist worldview even before it gets to justifying violence. We’ve got to get it out of our schools, get it out of our prisons, get it out of our universities. I believe in freedom of speech, but freedom to hate is not the same thing….
The boy who straps a bomb to his chest and blows up an Iraqi town, the guy that stands in the desert with a knife, having just beheaded a British hostage or whoever, they don’t get there from a standing start. They have extremist views and an extremist mindset before they make that final decision to be an extremist terrorist.
Obama responded to Cameron’s statements:
I thought David Cameron’s point [on radicalization] was excellent, that we are focused on violent extremism, but violent extremism is emerging out of an extremist worldview that has to be counteracted.
In spite of his pretense of agreeing with Cameron, Obama went on to emphasize that any effort to counteract this “extremism” must focus on “good governance and political settlements … so that we don’t have incubators for expressions of violent extremism”—ignoring, as usual, the key role Islamic ideology plays in radicalizing Muslims, even those living comfortably in the West.