I thought the President gave one of his best speeches (9/10/2014, the eve of 9/11); at least from the perspective of why America need to be involved in world conflicts regardless of the source of aggression (although he really stuck his chest out at the Soviets!). His emphasis came at a time when Americans are more concerned about terrorism than at any other time dating to 2007 (perhaps prior year’s as well). According to the Pew Research Center’s most recent survey (9/10/2014), 62% of American’s are very concerned about the rise of Islamic extremism around the world (53%, very concerned about the rise of Islamic extremism in America). In case you are wondering how that compares to prior years, in 2011 the figure was 37%, and in 2013, 49%. I can only imagine how the 62% reacted when they heard the president make this statement in his speech:
Now let’s make two things clear: ISIL is not “Islamic.” No religion condones the killing of innocents, and the vast majority of ISIL’s victims have been Muslim. And ISIL is certainly not a state. It was formerly al Qaeda’s affiliate in Iraq, and has taken advantage of sectarian strife and Syria’s civil war to gain territory on both sides of the Iraq-Syrian border. It is recognized by no government, nor the people it subjugates. ISIL is a terrorist organization, pure and simple. And it has no vision other than the slaughter of all who stand in its way. In a region that has known so much bloodshed, these terrorists are unique in their brutality. They execute captured prisoners. They kill children. They enslave, rape, and force women into marriage. They threatened a religious minority with genocide. . . Right click to read transcript here.
When I heard the president make this remark, I almost turned the TV off. How could Obama be so naive or uninformed (or politically correct) to state that the Islamic State was not “Islamic”? First, the reason why its victims were killed is because ISIS was following the Qur’an, the holy book of Muslims. Second, the fellow Muslims were killed because ISIS saw them as infidels, non-Muslims, who were not following the Qur’an. Third, why did the president imply that “State” has the same meaning most Americans understand it to have, i.e., geographic with boundaries recognized by governments and citizens? The Islamic State is not about boundary lines. It is about adherents, followers of the Qur’an, the revelation of Allah through his messenger, Muhammad. In fact, what Islam defines as “salafi,” or purist Islam, not Islam as defined by modern day culture or moderate Muslims, but the literal words of the Qur’an. Purity as defined by the actions of the companions of Muhammad in the generation of his followers after his death in 632 a.d. Lastly, the Islamic State has little concern over whether it is recognized by other governments — its only interest is whether fellow Islamists will come under the dominion of Caliph Ibrahim and join in the expansion of the Islamic State according to the command of Muhammad.
As I thought about what Obama said, a friend sent me a YouTube video that sums up very clearly a response to the “not Islamic” remark of the president. Brother Rasheed is a former Muslim who grew up in Morocco but came to Christ because He believed God loved him. He responds to the president far better than I could ever do (you really need to listen to this): Brother Rasheed – A Message to the President.
Although 90% of the world’s Muslims are not Islamists, and perhaps Obama wanted them to hear that he was not condemning them when he condemned ISIS, I cant help but wonder if the 10% who are Islamist are that much more determined to take down the Great Satan of America after the president’s speech. I also wonder if the Russians agreed with him? Only time will tell on both counts but this only going to get worse.
Jesus come quickly