Explain why religious fundamentalism is irrelevant to a discussion of religious terrorism. Why won’t Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, and other liberals
Explain why religious fundamentalism is irrelevant to a discussion of religious terrorism.
Why won’t Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, and other liberals refer to the motivations of Omar Mateen or the self-proclaimed Islamic State as “radical Islam,” or the terrorists themselves as “radical Muslim terrorists?”
More so, the question has grown into a major Republican attack against Democrats. Donald Trump described President Obama’s remarks after the Orlando shooting, stating:
People cannot, they cannot believe that President Obama is
acting the way he acts and can’t even mention the words “radical Islamic terrorism.”
There’s something going on.
Obama has insisted that groups like the Islamic State and lone wolf attackers are not truly Islamic.
He has referred to the group as “thugs and killers, part of a cult of death.”
Secretary of State John Kerry has said the Islamic State is full of apostates.
Hillary Clinton mentioned “radical Islamism” in the aftermath of the Orlando shooting, but also criticized Trump for thinking these were “magic words.”
Obama also dismissed the phrase as “a talking point,” remarking in an interview that his choice not to say “radical Islam” was simply tactical to avoid surrendering “the mantle of Islam” to extremist groups.
Also, this back-and-forth over terminology can appear exceedingly banal, but understanding
what fuels religious extremism and violence can also have major policy implications.
Whether they are cognizant of it or not, politicians on both sides reflect a longstanding
American disagreement over the nature of religious extremism.
Lastly, since the term “fundamentalism” first emerged in the 1920s, both academics and
policymakers have cast about far and wide to explain its origins and underlying motivations.