Let’s assume, for the sake of argument, that Barack Obama is right when he says that terrorists claiming to be waging jihad in the name of Islam aren’t REAL Muslims.
The first question that pops into my head when I hear this is: then why do we go so far out of our way to treat them in accordance with Islamic principles/traditions/customs? For example, at Gitmo, we provide them with prayer rugs and Korans, rule in favor of their demand not to be touched by female guards, and even paint arrows on the floor pointing toward Mecca.
If they’re not REAL Muslims, why do we treat them as if they are?
Secondly – and more importantly – Obama’s comments about terrorism being incompatible with Islam remind me of his somewhat infamous speech to the UN General Assembly back in September 2012. Remember that this speech occurred just a few short weeks after four Americans were murdered by terrorists in Benghazi, including the U.S. Ambassador to Libya, during an attack that Obama’s administration falsely claimed was caused by a protest to a YouTube video critical of Islam.
In that speech, Obama discussed what he viewed as “a crude and disgusting video [that] sparked outrage throughout the Muslim world”, which then led him to declare that “The future must not belong to those who slander the prophet of Islam.”
It was assumed at the time (and ever since) that Obama was referring to the video’s maker and others like him who also engage in similar “hateful speech” which “must be rejected by all who respect our common humanity.”
However, if Islam really is, as Obama recently claimed, a religion with a “true peaceful nature” which “terrorists betray” with their violence, then aren’t they really the ones who are slandering the prophet of Islam?
If “Groups like al Qaeda and ISIL promote a twisted interpretation of religion that is rejected by the overwhelming majority of the world’s Muslims”, then wouldn’t those terrorists really be the ones who “must be rejected by all who respect our common humanity”?
If Islam really is a religion of peace, then what is the big deal about insulting or denigrating it? Why would it matter if someone made a video criticizing Islam, or a cartoon depicting the prophet Mohammad? What would there be to worry about from the truly peaceful followers of a truly peaceful religion?
Obama himself mentioned in that speech to the UN “images of Jesus Christ that are desecrated, or churches that are destroyed, or the Holocaust that is denied” – but when is the last time we saw a global movement of Christians or Jews killing the people denigrating their religions? If the centuries-old Inquisition – or the even more distant Crusades – are the most recent examples of that, then I think we are experiencing some sort of disconnect here. Or does even mentioning that put me on a “high horse”?
So, I suggest that we give Obama the benefit of the doubt here, and just assume that when he talks about those who denigrate Islam, he is really referring to those who clearly are not REAL Muslims: the terrorists.
For, just as Obama said before the UN: “There is no speech that justifies mindless violence. There are no words that excuse the killing of innocents. There’s no video that justifies an attack on an embassy. There’s no slander that provides an excuse for people to burn a restaurant in Lebanon, or destroy a school in Tunis, or cause death and destruction in Pakistan.”
Thus, by logical extension, any TRUE followers of Islam – a religion with a “true peaceful nature” that “terrorists betray”– would never engage in acts of violence just because they take offense to their peaceful religion being insulted. Right?