Josh Earnest: Let’s stop using “radical Islam” to describe terrorists

posted at 4:41 pm on January 13, 2015 by Allahpundit

So here’s where we are now.

White House press secretary Josh Earnest said the administration doesn’t want to legitimize those terrorists or the “warped” view of Islam they hold. Also, Mr. Earnest said, the phrase “radical Islam” simply is not an accurate way to describe the enemies of the U.S., France and other nations across the globe.

“I certainly wouldn’t want to be in a position where I’m repeating the justification they have cited that I think is illegitimate. They had invoked Islam to justify their attacks,” he told reporters. “I think what I’m trying to do is to describe to you what happened and what they did. These individuals are terrorists. … We have chosen not to use that label [of radical Islam] because it doesn’t seem to accurately describe what happened.”

This isn’t a case of Earnest winging it in response to an uncomfortable question. On Sunday, Chuck Todd reminded Eric Holder that France’s prime minister had recently said his nation is at war with radical Islam. Ours too, asked Todd? Holder’s reply:

Holder answered, “I would say that we are at war with terrorists who commit these heinous acts and who use Islam. They use a corrupted version of Islam to justify their actions. We are bound and determined to hold them accountable, to find them wherever they are, and then to try, as you indicated, to come up with ways in which we prevent young people who become attracted to this radical ideology from becoming members of these groups and perpetrating these heinous acts.”

Two days later, the White House appears to have excised the word “Islam” from this topic entirely, even when qualified by the word “radical.” That’s been a long time coming. It used to be that “radical Islam” was sufficient to distinguish jihadis from nonviolent Muslims; every now and then you’d catch a U.S. official tossing another qualifier or two into the phrase (“radical Islamic jihadism,” “radical extremist Islam”) just to drive the point home that whatever this is, it’s not Islam, okay? But lately it seems a decision was made somewhere towards the top of the Democratic food chain requiring total conceptual severance between jihadis and “Islam.” You saw it last week in Howard Dean’s aside that the Charlie Hebdo attackers were about as authentically Islamic as he is. Today you’re seeing it in Earnest insisting that the phrase “radical Islam” is still a touch too close to “Islam” for comfort.

What the White House thinks it’s achieving by taking this extra rhetorical step, I don’t know. The fact that the French, land of the so-called cheese-eating surrender monkeys, have no qualms about using the phrase while our own leadership hems and haws makes Earnest look that much more pathetic. More than that, it’s a reminder that the strongest impulse among America’s ruling class in response to the Charlie Hebdo massacre has been to self-censor. The media, with rare exceptions like Fox News, won’t show the cover of the new issue; the White House suddenly is uncomfortable mentioning Islam at all in connection with terrorism. Ironically, I think this cycle of radical Muslims murdering people followed by ever greater official sensitivity to mainstream Muslims reinforces public perceptions that there’s a link between two rather than undermines them. Never did Americans hear the phrase “Islam means peace” as much as they did after radical Muslims knocked over the World Trade Center. Same with media self-censorship: Not until jihadis started burning embassies and machine-gunning cartoonists did American media collectively decide that “sensitivity” to the beliefs of mainstream Muslims was very important indeed. It’s one long, absurd good-cop, bad-cop routine made possible by America’s political and media elites, all of whom seem to think the real threat comes from non-Muslims who are angry at Muslim communities, not vice versa.

You would think, at a moment when Muslim political leaders are making noise about the radicals in their midst, America would want to lend its voice to the effort, not retreat into Orwellian doublespeak. Oh well. Tomorrow maybe Earnest will tell us whether the Egyptian clerics and Iranian propagandists who are already trying to paint a new bullseye on Charlie Hebdo’s back should be thought of as “radical Muslims” or not. Exit quotation:


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In many muslim dominated countries, the support for capital punishment for individuals who leave islam, or who “slander” islam or mohammed, approaches 80%, and in many more countries, above 30%.
It is clear that Obozo does not take seriously his oath to protect and defend the Consitution, and the US. In the face of a clearly growing threat, he demands Americans become dhimmis in order to preserve the peace.

bobthm3 on January 14, 2015 at 5:49 AM

You’re saying, seemingy, that the OT and violence within it don’t count for anything vis-a-vis modern Christianity…that it’s not relevant post-Christ. So any violent passages don’t matter in scripture.

That’s absolutely false.

And the Koran may not have an OT and a NT, but if you’re going to accuse the Koran of being violent, and endorsing terrorism (I’m not saying you are saying that…I’m speaking figuratively) and giving the bible, which as far as I’m aware, all Christian denominations include the OT as an inerrant and infallible part of scripture.

JetBoy on January 13, 2015 at 9:35 PM

This is bullcrap spoken by a wishful thinker who is not very educated about either Christianity or Islam. Christians follow Jesus and the NT, not the OT, because Christians believe Jesus fulfilled the OT Law.

There’s a good reason Gentile believers were told that they shouldn’t get circumsized as a religious practice. Paul preached, “all is lawful.” Jesus told us not only to love our neighbors, but our enemies as well. Christians are taught to control & overcome their anger, to refrain from violence. There are no similar teachings in Islam. In fact, it teaches the opposite, that Allah will punish disbelievers, who are considered lower than Muslims, in both this life and the next. Anyone who says differently about Islam is either lying or painfully ignorant – there is no good/positive alternative.

Of course many Muslims act very decently, but they do so despite the whole of the Koran, the Hadith, and Mohammed’s life, not because of them. Civil Muslims are representative of true Islam as much as the Westboro Baptist Church is of true Christianity.

Anti-ControI on January 14, 2015 at 6:02 AM

Anyone here still think he’s NOT a Muslim? Beuller? Bueller?

Sandbear on January 14, 2015 at 6:32 AM

I won’t go so far as to say Obama is a Muslim but he certainly has some questionable sympathies for radical Islam.

Charlemagne on January 13, 2015 at 5:22 PM

I believe Choomie isn’t exactly a Muslim, because when does he ever believe any rules apply to him? And his sympathies for “radical” Islam are more than questionable…

I will go so far to say that Choomie believes he is Allah himself – he’s certainly got the ego for it! :)

Anti-ControI on January 14, 2015 at 6:37 AM

Josh Earnest: Let’s stop using “radical Islam” to describe terrorists

By all means…let’s call them work place violence offenders. Then, let’s start “national hug a Muslim day”.

cajunpatriot on January 14, 2015 at 8:36 AM

Mr. Earnest said, the phrase “radical Islam” simply is not an accurate way to describe the enemies of the U.S., France and other nations across the globe.

He’s right! “Muslim” would be most accurate.

GWB on January 14, 2015 at 8:52 AM

Pffft! izlam is religion of peace eh, for whom — the wannabe conquerors? If people in this world are ready to be _submitted_ to the alleged will of a throwback moon-god, we are indeed in a sorry state of affairs, and I proclaim, with mezuzzahs firmly attached, “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord”.

I find the killer mindset highly offensive, singularly stupid, and frankly doomed to failure, largely because human nature demands one protect oneself and loved ones. Muzzlems’ so-called holy book is nasty garbage, full of jealousies and attendant retaliations (10Cs, anyone?), anathema to free will granted by the One True G-d’s forethought — or what puny humans may cognitively process as such — in contrast to the arrogance promulgated by an angry sicko twisted and abandoned waif who may have had levels of awareness of the organizing effects of then-established theocracy…

I would guess, feeling left out of G-d’s graces Bites.

KissMyAmericanFlag on January 14, 2015 at 9:30 AM

This is bullcrap spoken by a wishful thinker who is not very educated about either Christianity or Islam. Christians follow Jesus and the NT, not the OT, because Christians believe Jesus fulfilled the OT Law.

I’ve been saying exactly that…Jesus fulfilled the OT Laws. From Jesus Himself:

Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets: I have come not to abolish but to fulfill. For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth pass away, not one letter, not one stroke of a letter, will pass from the law, until all is accomplished. Therefore, whoever breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches others to do the same, will be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. (Matt 5:17-19)

From the CCC:

Jesus did not abolish the Law of Sinai, but rather fulfilled it (cf. Mt 5:17-19) with such perfection (cf. Jn 8:46) that he revealed its ultimate meaning (cf.: Mt 5:33) and redeemed the transgressions against it (cf. Heb 9:15).

Of course many Muslims act very decently, but they do so despite the whole of the Koran, the Hadith, and Mohammed’s life, not because of them. Civil Muslims are representative of true Islam as much as the Westboro Baptist Church is of true Christianity.

Anti-ControI on January 14, 2015 at 6:02 AM

It seems very disingenuous to pick out quotes from the bible and the Koran (and Hadith) and claim one doesn’t matter, but the other one does.

JetBoy on January 14, 2015 at 10:48 AM

I’ve been saying exactly that…Jesus fulfilled the OT Laws.

Yeah, you did say that, and then you’ve undermined it by also saying,

OT and violence within it don’t count for anything vis-a-vis modern Christianity…that it’s not relevant post-Christ. So any violent passages don’t matter in scripture.

That’s absolutely false.

Violence in the OT is as relevant to modern Christianity as OT dietary laws, sacrifical practices, and circumcision are.

It seems very disingenuous to pick out quotes from the bible and the Koran (and Hadith) and claim one doesn’t matter, but the other one does.

JetBoy on January 14, 2015 at 10:48 AM

It’s “disingenious” only if you are illterate about the Koran and the NT, and don’t know how logic functions.

Sharia law is an integral part of Islam, it’s violent, and it’s antithetical to Christianity. You are at best a fool if you deny this.

Anti-ControI on January 14, 2015 at 11:00 AM

at least half say they support penalties such as whippings or cutting off the hands of thieves and robbers…
 
at least half of Muslims who favor making sharia the law of the land also favor stoning unfaithful spouses…
 
at least half of those who favor making Islamic law the official law also support executing apostates…
 
http://www.pewforum.org/2013/04/30/the-worlds-muslims-religion-politics-society-beliefs-about-sharia/

 
Commitment =/= “extremism”, unless 50% of a group can be considered extremist.
 
There’s no easy way around it.
 
If you’re a practicing Muslim, the odds are pretty good that you support some pretty bad stuff.
 
rogerb on January 13, 2015 at 9:04 PM

 
At least half, meaning it’s often more, of all practicing Muslims believe in stoning women, cutting hands off of thieves, and killing non-believers.
 
Any insight on how more than half of a population can be the extreme ones, JetBoy?

rogerb on January 14, 2015 at 11:53 AM

Many people “project” how they view their own religion on the religions of others. “Their religion is pretty much like ours, just their church has different spires and their holy men wear different attire. All religions promote peace of mind, and peace and harmony.”

No true, at least with Islam which means “submission.” The purpose of Islam as its followers are taught it to get the whole world to submit to the dictates of Allah as they understand them. No room for argument, no ambiguity in interpretations.”

Conversion by the sword is not something akin to Christian conversion by the sword in the Middle Ages. It is part and parcel of Islamic scripture.

Mohammed was the original Middle Eastern strongman. A good deal of what he was taught was how to get others “to submit” to his way. You may hear from time to time that there’s nothing about terrorism in the Koran or Qur’an.
ell, here’s just a few passages that indicate otherwise should you need to quote chapter and verse:

Qur’an (3:151) – “Soon shall We cast terror into the hearts of the Unbelievers, for that they joined companions with Allah, for which He had sent no authority”.

Qur’an (8:12) – “I will cast terror into the hearts of those who disbelieve. Therefore strike off their heads and strike off every fingertip of them”

Bukhari (52:220) – Allah’s Apostle said… ‘I have been made victorious with terror’

Qur’an (2:244) – “Then fight in the cause of Allah, and know that Allah Heareth and knoweth all things.”

Qur’an (2:216) – “Fighting is prescribed for you, and ye dislike it. But it is possible that ye dislike a thing which is good for you, and that ye love a thing which is bad for you. But Allah knoweth, and ye know not.”

Qur’an (8:39) – “And fight with them until there is no more persecution and religion should be only for Allah”

Qur’an (9:5) – “So when the sacred months have passed away, then slay the idolaters wherever you find them, and take them captives and besiege them and lie in wait for them in every ambush, then if they repent and keep up prayer and pay the poor-rate, leave their way free to them.”

Qur’an (9:29) – “Fight those who believe not in Allah nor the Last Day, nor hold that forbidden which hath been forbidden by Allah and His Messenger, nor acknowledge the religion of Truth, (even if they are) of the People of the Book, until they pay the Jizya with willing submission, and f.eel themselves subdued.”

Islam is all about force, intimidation, and bullying. There is no area for discussion because the only writing comes from one man, the Prophet and so there can be no arguments about what was meant like there is is with Judaism and Christianity whose books were written at different times by different holy men

Limpet6 on January 14, 2015 at 12:09 PM

“This is bad so this can’t be true Islam” is a pretty convenient definition.

No True Scotsman.
http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/No_True_Scotsman

That’s what it is… an absurd logical fallacy.
“Circular reasoning” isn’t reasoning.

gekkobear on January 14, 2015 at 2:09 PM

It’s “disingenious” only if you are illterate about the Koran and the NT, and don’t know how logic functions.

Sharia law is an integral part of Islam, it’s violent, and it’s antithetical to Christianity. You are at best a fool if you deny this.

Anti-ControI on January 14, 2015 at 11:00 AM

I’m no religious scholar, and certainly never claimed to be, but I’m far from “illiterate” about the Koran or the bible. I’ve read both from cover to cover. My first real, in-depth study of the Koran…besides s religion class in college…was through Robert Spencer’s Blogging the Qur’an weekly series some years ago, beginning here at HotAir, and continuing at Spencer’s site. And as you might know, Spencer isn’t exactly a Muslim apologist.

(As a side note, I’m not quite sure why Michelle Malkin pulled the plug on it roughly halfway through…they weren’t the most popular posts, comment-wise at least, but Spencer answered nearly all questions posed by commenters, very concisely, and did a detailed breakdown of each passage/Sura explaining what it meant)

I’m certainly not saying there aren’t violent passages in the Koran…many are cherry-picked out of context tho, to be fair, in the same way bible references to violence are normally quoted out of context. In a way, I feel like I’m in some bizarro-world arguing the relevance of the OT, when for years quite a few peeps here perpetually claim the OT Mosaic Law is still valid concerning homosexual sex…and then claiming all the other “abominations” in the same book Leviticus like shaving and eating pork and shellfish, et al, don’t matter anymore.

I am correct tho in saying the violent passages in the OT are in the Christian holy book, the same way violent passages in the Koran (or more accurately, mostly in the Hadith) are in Islam’s holy books. It’s really in the Hadith where Sharia is declared proper and right, and tradition is explained. Note: Sunni and Shi’ah Hadiths are composed of different texts.

As time progresses, more and more Muslims discount the Hadith, many citing verses in the Koran as the reason, for example. In the same way, the OT Laws in scripture are discounted today. So why do the verses in bible get excused, but those in the Hadith/Koran don’t? Especially given that growing numbers of Muslims are rejecting the Hadith?

That’s the crux of my argument here.

JetBoy on January 14, 2015 at 4:13 PM

JetBoy on January 14, 2015 at 4:13 PM

Pardon me for butting in but the crux of your argument seems to me to be that there is some kind of intellectual or philosophical equivalency between those who adhere to the Quran and those who adhere to the Bible’s interpretation of reality.

That’s understandable given that you have a Western mindset. We tend to think that everyone thinks like we do but with a different set of values, and just as our way of thinking has evolved that theirs will too and along the same path.

But the fact of the matter is that a middle eastern mindset and a Western mindset are two entirely different animals, as it were. And you cannot superimpose a Western tolerant mindset whose primary directive is the rights of the individual unto a middle eastern mind whose imperative is the tribe.

If you’ve ever known a member of a cult you will understand the impossibility of them seeing things as you see them until they come to see that they are a member of a cult and disavow the tenets of that cult.

While you present the argument for including them in the melting pot that once was Western society, you ignore the fact that none of them are arguing the same.

Cleombrotus on January 14, 2015 at 4:39 PM

I’m certainly not saying there aren’t violent passages in the Koran…many are cherry-picked out of context tho, to be fair, in the same way bible references to violence are normally quoted out of context.

“to be fair,” according to whom? This is where you are getting off track, badly.

When Jesus says, “love your neighbor as yourself,” or, “love your enemies,” or, “be perfect, like your Father in Heaven,” those commands are not something a true believer can ignore. Likewise, when the Koran tells Muslims that fighting is “ordained” for them, or that Islamic apostates should & will be punished, this kind of passage is not negotiable to true Muslims.

You yourself don’t deny that the Koran preaches violence, so what is your real motive for equivocating about this, considering that Christians are completely free of the OT Law?

In a way, I feel like I’m in some bizarro-world arguing the relevance of the OT, when for years quite a few peeps here perpetually claim the OT Mosaic Law is still valid concerning homosexual sex…and then claiming all the other “abominations” in the same book Leviticus like shaving and eating pork and shellfish, et al, don’t matter anymore.

You may be arguing for the relevance of the OT, but I am not! And we agree that Jesus already fulfilled the OT Law, which makes your continuance even more head-scratching. So, again, why do you persist?

I am correct tho in saying the violent passages in the OT are in the Christian holy book, the same way violent passages in the Koran (or more accurately, mostly in the Hadith) are in Islam’s holy books. It’s really in the Hadith where Sharia is declared proper and right, and tradition is explained. Note: Sunni and Shi’ah Hadiths are composed of different texts.

The points you are making here are blatantly false. Why are you sugarcoating the Koran?

OT violence is not relevant to the life of any Christian, as it doesn’t apply. The Koran is unalterable according to Muslims, and violence is proscribed for them within it – they can’t escape this truth while remaining honest with the text, which is a lot more violent than you are acknowledging.

Your comparison isn’t apt, not even close…

As time progresses, more and more Muslims discount the Hadith, many citing verses in the Koran as the reason, for example. In the same way, the OT Laws in scripture are discounted today. So why do the verses in bible get excused, but those in the Hadith/Koran don’t? Especially given that growing numbers of Muslims are rejecting the Hadith?

That’s the crux of my argument here.

JetBoy on January 14, 2015 at 4:13 PM

Because the OT passages you refer to were specific to a certain time; you’d be better off having a discussion about the evolution of Judaism than to bring Christianity into it.

You can’t read the Koran itself and come to the same conclusion, unless you’re biased. Those Muslims who aren’t supportive of violence are MINOs, guilty of ignoring ugly passages while pretending that the Mohammed and the Koran are somehow honorable.

Do you dispute that Islam is considered by the NT to be a satanic lie?

Anti-ControI on January 14, 2015 at 5:24 PM

I know Canada is only a tenth of your size but here is how a real leader responds,

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SOwM9UT5_5E

Cheers from the North.

dalehh on January 14, 2015 at 6:25 PM

Pardon me for butting in but the crux of your argument seems to me to be that there is some kind of intellectual or philosophical equivalency between those who adhere to the Quran and those who adhere to the Bible’s interpretation of reality.

Cleombrotus on January 14, 2015 at 4:39 PM

You’ve repeatedly made it clear that you are the only arbiter of reality according to the Bible. We cherish your insights and no apology is necessary.

Younggod on January 14, 2015 at 9:29 PM

In a nation of grubers, you can’t fix stupid.

earlgrey on January 14, 2015 at 9:43 PM

Can we get a list of imams and kooks spouting this hate, cross them off the master list, so we can find out who is left to actually make up this alleged religion of peace? And media folk, stop saying ISIS and start using its full name when asking questions about them of the administration.

red villain on January 15, 2015 at 12:40 AM

We don’t need lessons on Islam from Josh Ernest. When did he become an expert in comparative religion?

He’s protecting Islam because he knows that his boss has been promoting it throughout the administration. It’s a protected class, like homosexuals and blacks – guaranteed votes that have to be paid off. They are latterly trying to add latinos with the great immigration giveaway.

Repeat after me: Islam=war. Islam=war. Islam=war.

virgo on January 15, 2015 at 1:02 AM

So why do the verses in bible get excused, but those in the Hadith/Koran don’t? Especially given that growing numbers of Muslims are rejecting the Hadith?

That’s the crux of my argument here.

JetBoy on January 14, 2015 at 4:13 PM

To understand how to respond to a text we must first understand the text and its origins and the intentions of whoever wrote it. Key questions we might ask are:

(*) Is it diatribe, satire, poetry, straight reportage, propaganda, riddle?
(*) Was it intended to give plain instruction, encourage critical thinking, to challenge prejudice, to entertain, … ?
(*) Was it even intended to be read or, like some diaries, was it only intended for the writer’s own emotional purging?
(*) Is it descriptive or prescriptive?

When texts are educational they are not necessarily educational by merely giving instructions. The “boy who cried wolf” story is educational but it gives no instructions, some of the parables are similar.

Where we decide a text is prescriptive, we must also decide to whom the prescription applies. Medicine bottle labels are prescriptive “take one tablet after meals” but only for the person to whom the medicine was given and only for the duration of the illness.

The O.T. contains various references to violent acts. Some of those references are only descriptive, some are purely prescriptive, some are both (i.e. giving an example to be followed). None of the prescriptions apply to us today, because they were all given specific situations that no longer exist, at least not for Christians. Those texts have an educational value (history, exegesis, theology etc) but not as prescriptions for daily living.

The Koran contains prescriptions of violence that apply to all Muslims for all time, the reason being that the Barbarian Mohammed claimed that the Koran was “revealed”, not “inspired” (as is the claim for the O.T. and N.T.). Moreover the reason (allegedly) for the Koran to be revealed was because of the alleged corruption of the texts given to Jews and Christians. The only human person able to set-aside any part of the Koran was the Barbarian Mohammed because he (allegedly) was God’s final messanger, but he is long dead, so the text is (supposedly) now fixed for all time.

Furthermore, to properly understand any text collection we must understand how the parts relate to one another. In the case of the Koran we must grasp the concept of abrogation, whereby peaceful verses are effectively anulled by verses that Mohammed invented later.

In summary, the violent prescriptions in the O.T. don’t apply to anybody who is not a Jew, and mostly not to them either any more. By contrast the Koranic prescriptions for violence do still apply to Muslims today — hence the actions we see whenever Muslim communities are permitted to exercise Islam as they see fit. Getting rid of the Hadith isn’t going to change this.

YiZhangZhe on January 15, 2015 at 4:35 AM

Josh Earnest: Let’s stop using “radical Islam” to describe terrorists.

No

Nradude on January 15, 2015 at 9:17 AM

To understand how to respond to a text we must first understand the text and its origins and the intentions of whoever wrote it.

Absolutely. That’s one important reason I’m Catholic, because scripture can be, and is, translated and understood differently…to varying degrees…by the numerous Christian denominations. That happens in Islam as well, with differing groups interpreting different meanings of the Koran. As you pointed out, some passages are parables, some are literal, some is advice, some is law. A good example of this re: the bible, are those who take all of it in the literal sense, such as the creation story in Genesis and the belief that the Earth is only 6,000 or so years old, and each “day” mentioned is a literal 24 hour time period. Most Evangelicals take that position, whereas Catholics do not.

Factors that determine how to properly understand different books of scripture, and the Koran, to take into consideration would include the time period it was written, the style of writing, how one book/sura relates to others, etc. I understand the difference between a historical account of violence in, for example, the OT…and a timeless belief that violence be a part of one’s faith.

Bottom line, it’s too easy…and intellectually dishonest…to yank out passages of either the bible or the Koran, and state their intent blindly. Differing subgroups within Christianity, Islam, even Judaism, translate their holy books differently from some others. Jesus foresaw this problem, which is why He instituted one church, appointing Peter it’s first head, to be the infallible body of an infallible Christ and scripture.

JetBoy on January 15, 2015 at 9:23 AM

Bottom line, it’s too easy…and intellectually dishonest…to yank out passages of either the bible or the Koran, and state their intent blindly. Differing subgroups within Christianity, Islam, even Judaism, translate their holy books differently from some others.

JetBoy on January 15, 2015 at 9:23 AM

Like there’s a positive spin to be had about the penalty for apostasy mentioned in the Koran, or the statement that those who mock Allah and Mohammed will be punished in this life and the next.

Why you feel the need to defend Islam so greatly, to the point of denial about its anti-Judeo/Christian roots & its rampant violence, makes it obvious that you’re afraid to be an honest judge.

Anti-ControI on January 15, 2015 at 10:28 AM

Does this mean we no longer have to provide any of these guys we capture with prayer rugs, korans, and special Muslim blessed food?

Nomas on January 16, 2015 at 7:52 PM