Wednesday, June 15, 2016

President Obama, gays, and "radical Islam"

President Obama should have made this clarifying speech a long time ago. It's his own fault that conservatives were hammering him for failing to mention "Islam" when he talks about the brand of terrorism the US is fighting in the Middle East---and in the US, with the "lone wolf" attacks like the one in Orlando. 

It just makes him and other Democrats---here, here, and here---seem evasive when they refuse to even mention the politicized religious ideology held by terrorists, whether it's a distortion of Islam or not. It also gives demagogues like Donald Trump an opening to raise doubts about the president's loyalty and agenda. 

Nor is it relevant that the domestic terrorists he mentions are American citizens with no international connections. Obviously the internet has made the Islamic terrorism problem international, since those susceptible can easily access the poison online.

Of course if you're president or secretary of state, you have to be careful about your choice of words, since careless talk can crash markets and get people killed. All the more reason to be clear about who we're fighting and why. 

From Tablet:

Yesterday’s deadly shooting at the Pulse gay nightclub in Orlando—in which at least 50 people were killed—is but the latest, and most horrific, episode in the long-running Islamist war on the global LGBT community. 

Ever since it came to power in parts of Syria and Iraq two years ago, the Islamic State (to which Orlando killer Omar Mateen swore fealty) has lent a cinematographic edge to its murderous hatred of homosexuality, giddily distributing worldwide images of its frequent propulsions of gay men from the rooftops of high buildings. Around the world, homosexuality is punishable by death in 10 countries, nine of which are dominated by Islamists (the exception, Nigeria, has a strong Islamist current)...

Yet while the Islamist war on homosexuality may be unambiguous, many of my gay brothers and sisters have difficulty acknowledging the nature of the threat. Like Jews, we have a natural impulse to sympathize with other minority groups. That’s a laudable instinct. But divorced from reality and an appreciation for nuance, it can become remarkably pigheaded, not to mention suicidal...

In the aftermath of yesterday’s shooting, many gays, following the lead from liberal commentators and political leaders from the president of the United States on down, are trying to diminish Islam as a factor in the killing...

See also this and this.

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