In UN speech, Obama praised Muslim cleric who backed killing American soldiers

Ed Morrissey did a comprehensive job of noting the many statements President Barack Obama made in his speech to the United Nations General Assembly which struck all the right notes, including his calling out of Islamic actors who have not done enough to condemn the behavior of groups like ISIS and his condemnation of Russian aggression.


Morrissey also made note of the areas of the speech which were completely atonal and out of place; Obama’s decision to condemn Israeli actions which created in his opinion a sentiment unconducive to peace in the region, and his decision to obliquely condemn the actions of law enforcement in Ferguson, Missouri as evidence of racial inequality despite the fact that an investigation into events there is ongoing, to name just two.

There were also some portions of Obama’s speech which did not seem to be thoroughly vetted by his staff. Take, for example, his decision to praise an Islamic cleric who had previously issued a fatwa urging fellow Muslims to kill American soldiers.

… ‘what?’ you ask. Yes, that’s right.

Via the Washington Free Beacon’s Adam Kredo, who made a great catch today, Obama’s decision to praise the cleric Sheikh Abdallah Bin Bayyah is one he will likely come to regret.

“Bin Bayyah himself has long been engulfed in controversy for many of his views, including the reported backing of a 2004 fatwa that advocated violent resistance against Americans fighting in Iraq,” Kredo wrote.

“Look at the new Forum for Promoting Peace in Muslim Societies—Sheikh bin Bayyah described its purpose: ‘We must declare war on war, so the outcome will be peace upon peace,’” Obama told the assembled delegates at the United Nations.

Kredo noted why this was a particularly undiplomatic move from the President of the United States:

While Bin Bayyah has condemned the actions of groups such as Boko Haram and ISIL, he also has taken controversial positions against Israel.

He issued in 2009 a fatwa “barring ‘all forms of normalization’ with Israel,” according to a Fox report on the White House meeting.

Additionally, the notorious 2004 fatwa permitting armed resistance against U.S. military personnel in Iraq reportedly stated that “resisting occupation troops” is a “duty” for all Muslims, according to reports about the edict.


Moreover, the Free Beacon reported, Obama’s White House should have known better. In May, the State Department’s Counterterrorism Bureau tweeted out a remark in praise of the controversial cleric and was later compelled to take the tweet down and issue an apology.

All of Kredo’s report, and the reactions he got from the counterterrorism community to Obama’s remarks, are worth reading. Few in the mainstream press, however, are likely to make note of this careless and offensive choice of words from the President of the United States.

There was a time not long ago that the president insisted he thought he was “a better speechwriter than my speechwriters.” Maybe he should give crafting his own remarks a try. He sure couldn’t do any worse.

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