Today, President Obama had these words to say about the recent attacks in New York and New Jersey and commented also on “fear.”
You know, at moments like this, I think it’s important to remember what terrorists and violent extremists are trying to do. They are trying to hurt innocent people but they also wanna inspire fear in all of us and disrupt the way we live to undermine our values. And so even as we have to be vigilant and aggressive both in preventing senseless acts of violence but also making sure that we find those who carry out such acts and bring them to justice, we all have a role to play as citizens in making sure that we don’t succumb to that fear…
By showing those who want to do us harm that they will never beat us, by showing the entire world that as Americans we do not and never will give in to fear, that’s going to be the MOST IMPORTANT ingredient in us defeating those who would carry out terrorist acts against us, Obama said.
Of course, our nation should bravely stand up to this enemy and not cower in fear… but is that what the President means when he speaks of not giving in to “fear”? It seems not. Judging from previous statements both he and his spokespeople have made, when the Administration speaks of “fear”in regard to Islamic terrorism they are talking about “fear of Muslims” (Islamophobia). We should not give in to irrational fear of Muslims, he argues, because it is not all Muslims who commit these heinous acts, only the radical few. But virtually everyone on the left and the right already acknowledges this point. Everyone agrees that not all Muslims do these things. This is a non-issue.
But they claim, this is about winning the battle for the “narrative.” White House spokesman Josh Earnest said in an interview with Fox News, “ISIL is trying to assert a narrative, that they represent the religion of Islam in a war against the west and in a war against the United States. That is mythology. That is falsehood. That is not true. That is bankrupt ideology they are trying to wrap in the cloak of Islam. And to suggest that somehow we should treat Muslims differently or suspect them as terrorists just because of their religion.”
But Martha McCallum countered this well:
This is the ISIS narrative. This is what they said in their recent publication. ISIS states that disbelievers should be slain wherever they may be. This includes the businessman riding to work in the taxi cab, young adults in engaged in sports activities in park, the old men waiting in line and buying a sandwich, striking terror into the hearts of all non-believers, Muslims and non-Muslims is the Muslim duty. So what people have a hard time with you know—you have to take them at their word they mean to do what they say because we see it happening here in the United States. So, it feels sometimes like the White House doesn’t like to make the connection between those two things. Is that wrong?
McCallum is exactly correct. The White House fails to draw the plain connection between ISIS’s ideology and its reprehensible acts of violence and terrorism across the globe. No one cares if this represents true Islam or not. We only don’t want to see more people die at their hands.
Further, it is nothing but slander to claim Republicans and others who point to the obvious Islamic element in the attacks do so out of a some vendetta against the religion of Islam. It is not “fear” that motivates so many to view ISIS as a serious, growing threat (not “on the run”, not “failed”, but spreading), and to see it as a movement inspired by a particular Muslim ideology (not just people who lack jobs, or people paying back America for its supposed imperialism). It is is simply to open one’s eyes and see the obvious. We recognize the specific Islamic-element in the ISIS terrorist threat. Thus it isn’t “Islamophobia” which drives proposals to adjust American border policy accordingly to prevent people with an evil ideology and murderous intentions from doing us harm. No, the border proposals of Donald Trump and others are not Islamophobic, but common sense realism.
The President claims the MOST important ingredient in defeating these terrorist attacks is that Americans don’t succumb to “fear” (i.e., xenophobia or Islamophobia). But is that our most urgent priority in order to stop terrorism? Of course not. The priority is not to look inward and decide whether or not we feel an “inappropriate” fear towards Muslims. Rather, we must stop these attacks by gathering intelligence that strategically takes into account the plainly Islamic element in most of these incidents, not downplaying this element virtually every time such an attack takes place. Of course there are some bigoted, Islamophobic Americans. But growing alarm over the widespread terrorism that originates from an ideological view overflowing with hatred towards Westerners, Americans and the “infidel” is not Islamophobic. It is to understand the existential threat to our lives and to our way of life. This is simply about self-preservation.
This evidence-based approach to our priorities on terrorism and the border is followed by only one of the two chief candidates for President. Hillary Clinton sides with the President’s ideologically-based, making-fear-of-Muslims-the-priority approach. Accordingly, she thinks it no big deal to welcome into America thousands of refugees from Muslim populations, not taking into consideration that top security forces warn all these refugees cannot be properly vetted and that ISIS has pledged to infiltrate by this means. Donald Trump, on the other hand, acknowledges facts– the radical Islamic element in these ongoing attacks– and proposes “extreme vetting”and other measures to prevent ISIS infiltration– a strategy which of course is not racist, xenophobic or lacking in compassion, but practical and life-saving. His compassion for Americans is expressed in the fact that he wants to enact policies to ensure Americans are kept safe.