The White House has slammed those calling for identifying threat coming from terror groups as “radical Islam” arguing that such a move would advance dreaded outfit Islamic State’s narratives.
“It certainly would advance ISIL’s narrative that somehow they were acting on behalf of Islam, when in fact, the ideology that they are seeking to advance is a gross perversion of that religion,” White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest told reporters at his daily news conference yesterday.
At the same time, he asserted that it is the responsibility of the leaders of the Muslim community, both inside the US and globally, to come out strongly and openly against terrorist groups like the ISIL.
Earnest was responding to reporter’s questions on the remarks made by the US President Barack Obama in this regard during his address to the nation on Sunday night.
“The President made clear, as his predecessor did, that it would only serve ISIL’s interest to leave people with the impression that, somehow, the West or the United States or the entire world is at war with Islam,” he argued.
“That’s a fantasy. That is not true. There are millions of patriotic Muslims in America right now that are upstanding members of their community, that are serving in the United States military, that are teachers, that are co-workers, that are neighbours, that are friends,” he said.
“I think the President was quite direct about the role that those Muslim Americans can play in defeating ISIL, both in terms of the responsibility that the Muslim community has to stand up and speak out against those extremist voices inside their community,” he said.
“At the same time, the broader American community has a responsibility to make clear that we’re gonna work with Muslim Americans to protect our country and to protect those in their community that are at risk of being radicalised,” the presidential spokesman said.
Noting that the role and the place that those Muslims have in American society is critical to America’s success, he said because ultimately it will be Muslims in this country that will have to stand up and speak out against the extremist, radicalising forces inside their own community.
“They will be more effective if they are working in close
partnership with the federal government, and with law enforcement, and with our counter-terrorism professionals, and with our neighbours, to fight those kinds of forces,” he said.
“But there are some additional steps that the federal government has taken to pursue this effort to counter violent extremism, and there are some efforts that are underway overseas,” he said.
In his address to the nation in the aftermath of the act of terrorism by a radicalised couple killing 14 people in California last week, Obama refused to describe the incident that the US is in war against radical Islam.
“We cannot turn against one another by letting this fight be defined as a war between America and Islam.That, too, is what groups like ISIL want.ISIL does not speak for Islam,” he said.
“They are thugs and killers, part of a cult of death, and they account for a tiny fraction of more than a billion Muslims around the world — including millions of patriotic Muslim Americans who reject their hateful ideology. Moreover, the vast majority of terrorist victims around the world are Muslim,” Obama had said.
“If we’re to succeed in defeating terrorism we must enlist Muslim communities as some of our strongest allies, rather than push them away through suspicion and hate,” he said, adding that it is also the responsibility of Muslims around the world to root out misguided ideas that lead to radicalisation, and it is the responsibility of all Americans — of every faith — to reject discrimination.
“This is a real problem that Muslims must confront, without excuse.Muslim leaders here and around the globe have to continue working with us to decisively and unequivocally reject the hateful ideology that groups like ISIL and al Qaeda promote; to speak out against not just acts of violence, but also those interpretations of Islam that are incompatible with the values of religious tolerance, mutual respect, and human dignity,” Obama said.