See No Radical Islam, Hear No Radical Islam

Ryan Mauro is a fellow with the Clarionproject.org, the founder of WorldThreats.com and a frequent national security analyst for Fox News Channel. He can be contacted at ryanmauro1986@gmail.com.


On May 13, Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX) confronted Attorney General Eric Holder about whether radical Islam was the motivating factor in the terrorist plots against the United States over the past year. Rather than acknowledge the religious-ideological threat posed to us, Holder continued the Obama Administration’s pattern of trying to avoid using terms like “radical Islam” and “Islamic terrorism.”

Rep. Smith repeatedly prodded at Holder, who tried to fend off the attack by saying, “There are a variety of reasons why people do things. Some of them are potentially religious.”

Unsatisfied with the lack of clarity, Rep. Smith continued to ask him, “Are you uncomfortable attributing any other actions to radical Islam?” Holder replied by saying, “No, I don’t want to say anything negative about a religion…”

Finally, Holder conceded, saying “I certainly think that it’s possible that people who espouse a radical version of Islam have had an ability to make an impact on people like Mr. Shahzad,” referring to the American who tried to detonate a car bomb in Times Square as part of a plot by the Pakistani Taliban.

The Secretary of Homeland Security, Janet Napolitano, made her language more realistic in February when she flatly stated to the Senate, “Violent Islamic terrorism…was part and parcel of the Ft. Hood killings.” She obviously went the extra mile after she was criticized for saying her agency was preparing for “man-made disasters” instead of “terrorism,” telling a German newspaper that she was trying to “move away from the politics of fear toward a policy of being prepared for all risks that can occur.”

The Obama Administration as a whole, however, is trying to avoid using such terms as much as possible. Neither the Quadrennial Defense Review nor the Quadrennial Homeland Security Review even mention “Muslim” or “Islam,” instead focusing on “non-state actors” and “Al Qaeda and global violent extremism.” The National Security Strategy document likewise will no longer mention “Islamic extremism,” removing the portion that says that “The struggle against militant Islamic radicalism is the great ideological conflict of the early years of the 21st century.”

This removes the religious-ideological component from the assessment. Al-Qaeda is pinpointed as the main enemy, but the driving force behind the terrorist group is not. Instead, Al-Qaeda is one among many violent extremists, rather than a symptom of a specific disease. Furthermore, it narrows the war down to Al-Qaeda, apparently drawing a distinction between them and groups like Hamas, Hezbollah, or the Taliban, the latter of which was once said by the Administration to contain “moderate” elements that could be included in a political process.

On April 6, Director of National Intelligence Dennis Blair spoke about intelligence reform. He did not mention “the War on Terror” once, instead referring to “countering violent extremism.” The State Department’s top terrorism official, Daniel Benjamin used the same term but did a better job in defining the threat by referring to “counter-ideology initiatives.” However, he talked about “delegitimiz[ing] the Al Qaeda narrative and, where possible, provide positive alternatives.” This again pinpoints Al-Qaeda as the enemy when the problem encompasses many more jihadists, many of whom disagree with Al-Qaeda’s narrative on some levels but still promote Sharia Law.

President Obama has dropped the term “War on Terror” from the vocabulary, believing it has negative connotations in the Islamic world, and uses the term “justice” instead of “democracy” for the same reason when promoting reform overseas. Phrases like “overseas contingency operation,” “a campaign against extremists who wish to do us harm,” and “countering violent extremism” are used to today to vaguely define the conflict.

The thinking behind these changes is that U.S. foreign policy is what creates terrorists and jihadists. The violence these groups take part in occurs out of frustration over political disagreements, and if the U.S. can successfully convince the Islamic world that the West is not waging war on their religion, such groups will be defeated.

A few statements by President Obama provide a window into what he feels creates terrorists. On January 5, President Obama said that Guantanamo Bay was “an explicit rationale for the formation of al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula,” a statement that is incorrect on its own terms and is incorrect in its inference that U.S. policy is the decisive factor in a decision to carry out terrorism on innocent civilians.

During the presidential campaign in May 2008, President Obama told The New York Times that “There are rarely purely ideological movements out there. We can encourage actors to think in practical and not ideological terms. We can strengthen those elements that are making practical calculations.”

He went on to say that Hamas and Hezbollah need to be convinced that their violence is hurting their “legitimate claims,” but did say that Hezbollah was “not a legitimate political party” and recognized the influence Iran and Syria has over them. He did not explain what “legitimate claims” Hamas and Hezbollah have, but the quote shows that he attributes their existence to political causes.

The Obama Administration has been using John Brennan, the special assistant to the President for counterterrorism, to discuss its efforts to fight terrorism. In some cases, his words sound positive. He said that the term “War on Terrorism” was dropped because “by focusing on the tactic, we risk floundering among the terrorist trees while missing the growth of the extremist forest.” This sounded like a recognition that some radical jihadists use other methods to reach their objectives. However, in that same speech, he placed emphasis on Al-Qaeda, saying the Administration will fight them “aggressively wherever it exists” but will not define the campaign as a “global war” because it “only plays into the warped narrative that Al-Qaeda propagates.”

In defending the language of the Administration, he said “what we have to do is make sure that we’re not pouring fuel on the flames by the things we do.” Even the media coverage of his statements showed the change in perception from the previous administration. The New York Times described Brennan as “helping Obama redirect the war against Al-Qaeda.” In other words, the war is specifically against Al-Qaeda and their collaborators, and their strength comes from a negative perception of U.S. foreign policy.

It is true that the war for the hearts and minds is critical, but it must be understood that radical Islamic terrorists view all the political conflicts through religious-ideological lenses. They are pursuing the establishment of their version of Sharia Law, as evidenced by their brutal attacks and oppression upon other Muslims. There is no “Al-Qaeda narrative,” as if they are the author of the ideology they espouse. Al-Qaeda and the other jihadists subscribe to an overall narrative provided by radical Islam and have some deviations based on interpretation.

The words of the very forces we face debunk the Administration’s analysis of what is the root cause of terrorism. The Muslim Brotherhood’s own documents have described its covert campaign in the United States as “a kind of grand jihad in eliminating and destroying Western civilization from within.” The head of the Hezbollah in Iran has called for a “Greater Iran” that extends from Palestine to Afghanistan. Osama Bin Laden says that “The matter is summer up for every person alive: either submit, or live under the suzerainty of Islam, or die.”

These are not the words of people simply opposed to U.S. policy. These are the words of Islamic extremists on an ideological crusade to dominate the West.

  • Frank(ly) M'Dear

    Eric Holder is very convincingly idiotic. Under the circumstances, that is not good. One can always hope that an errant bus strikes him down. But the Jesus of HopeyChange will name another convincing idiot to replace Holder. Maybe there's an even bigger errant bus – maybe driven by an Islamic terrorist – that could swerve past at heartwrenching speed and…

  • Andres de Alamaya

    The naivete of Obama in this farce of semantics pegs the Administration as worthy of a comic opera. (Holder is but a puppet) Obama's refusal to call a spade a spade only degrades his image in America and provides laughter in the Muslim world who tend to judge actions more than words and as long as drones knock off terrorist leaders (which can be applauded) and we have soldiers in Muslim lands (a stupidity Obama inherited but continues) America remains the number one enemy and it's leader a target. Obama even beats Bill Clinton in the b.s. department where it is natural to say, "Define the word definition." It's all quite emetic.

  • Vishant

    Hasn't anyone asked Obama, if Guantanamo Bay created Al Qaeda, why did 9/11 occur? If US foriegn policy is to blame why did Al Qaeda attack the embassies in Africa in 1998? I'm sorry I know it's great you guys have your first African-American president, but why are his ideas not being challenged?

    • trickyblain

      But he didn't say that. He said G-Bay was used as a "rationale" for the formation of "Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula." This is entirely true. AQAP was formed in January 2009 when Al Qaeda in Saudi Arabia and Al Qaeda in Yemen merged.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/temarch temarch

    This is all so obvious it is mind blowing. So many people don't pay any attention at all. So many people think they are staying up on events by watching the MSM. The fact that these clowns can come out and play word games with our lives like this and not cause a huge uproar with rioting people yelling impeach him is beyond belief. The MSM is the giant wall between us and what is going on. Surely, someday, the MSM will wake up to the idea that they are in danger also and start yelling for somebody to do something.

  • Sadiiq

    Not only is Eric Holder a charter member of the PC crowd but he is a living, breathing real life example of the "Emperor's New Cloths" mindset. He does not like the label radical-Muslim but refuses to admit that acts of terror by Muslims are born of institutionally taught hatred of the West and of Israel. His PC posture makes him part of the problem because if you do not recognize evil, you are perpetuating it.
    Eric, do everyone a favor and go 'hold' some other office where you can do no more harm.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/Vienna1683 Vienna1683

    Stop letting Muslims immigrate to the "Great Satan" then we can live in peace.

    It cost American taxpayers over $100,000 a year for every Muslim living in United States. Just about all the security required at our airports, train terminals, ports and so on would no longer be needed if they weren't here.

    Our biggest threat from Islam is our insane, suicidal LEGAL immigration policy.

    Can anybody give just one reason why it is in our best interest to let them come here (invade us)? You can't. Then where are our politicians, our pundits, our talk show hosts? I'll tell you where. They are still dreaming of some new mythical Islam (the "true" Islam") to come forth. An Islam that is led by mythical moderates that ignore the teachings and commands of Muhammad. Their "true Islam" is an Islam that excludes Muhammad.

    Well dream on.

    • Turbeaux

      "Can anybody give just one reason why it is in our best interest to let them come here (invade us)?"

      With respect to Muslim immigration, what exactly do Muslims have to contribute to America that makes doubling the size of our federal government and federal spending, not to mention the lost of privacy and the many security inconveniences we must all now endure just to accommodate Muslim immigration worth it, other than honor killings, genital mutilation, oppression of gays, institutionalized oppression of women and non-Muslim dhimmis, institutionalized prejudice against all non-Muslim kafir infidels, extreme bigotry against Jews and other non-Muslim kafir infidels, riots against Israel, rampant anti-Semitism, worldwide riots against Muhammad cartoons, violence, riots, and condemnations against any and all criticism of Islam, legitimate or otherwise, Islamic supremacism, refusal to assimilate and integrate, backwardness, barbarianism, intimidation, constant demands for Islamic Sharia Law, subversion to remove all obstacles to the eventual imposition of Islamic Sharia Law, Muslim no go zones, incessant claims of victimhood, false, fake, and non-existent claims of discrimination and persecution, exploitation of our freedoms and laws for the purpose of subverting us and using those laws against us to eventually make Islam supreme, incessant threats of terrorism, and more Islamic terrorist attacks?

      Moreover, can anyone point to just one place where mass Muslim immigration has occurred anywhere in the world where the majority of the Muslim immigrants successfully assimilated and integrated then matriculated into becoming contributing and productive members of their newly adopted societies?

      • http://intensedebate.com/people/WilliamJWard WilliamJamesWard

        Nope,

        Regards, William

    • http://www.google.com/ Jodie

      Your story was really infroaimtve, thanks!

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/Vienna1683 Vienna1683

    Think about what I posted the next time you here some PC "conservative" talk about "radical Islam". What the hell is "radical Islam"? If they don't have the guts to call it what the founder Muhammad would have called it – ISLAM – we are lost.

    The Islamic texts can not be changed or reformed. We must stop ALL Muslim immigration.

    • MullahAssassin

      If you're asking what "radical islam" is, I would certainly like to know what the hell "moderate" islam is!

      • raelene

        I like to say this any chance I get. I think there is a quick test for a moderate Muslim: Do you believe everybody in the world has the right to worship any way they want?

        If a person answers that, yes, even in Mecca a person should be free to convert to Hinduism, that person is moderate. Any other answer and you have the opposite of a moderate.

        Are ANY of the spokespeople for Islam moderates by any reasonable test?

        Raelene

  • Cuban Refugee

    The day Eric Holder was appointed to the Attorney General post in the Justice Department, I knew from his previous rulings, including the Elian Gonzalez nightmare, that it was the beginning of the end of "justice." He has proved it time and again, most recently with this semantic gaffe, but through other missteps like the whitewashing of the Black Panther intimidation at the polls, and the travesty of holding the Khalid Sheikh Mohammed trial within walking distance from the site of the 9/11 holocaust. It has become clear, even to my husband whose brainwashing goes deep, and still does not see the light of truth about Obama and his minions, that Eric Holder has to go.

  • colin

    The enemy nobody will name is not Radical Islam, it is Fundamental Islam. It is muslims being good muslims.

  • SFLBIB

    Re: "I don’t want to say anything negative about a religion…”

    I'll bet he wouldn't have any problem filling in the blank in "child sex abuse by __________ priests."

    Re: "The thinking behind these changes is that U.S. foreign policy is what creates terrorists and jihadists."

    Jihad and jihadists existed for 1,200 years before there was a United States.

    • MullahAssassin

      "Jihad and jihadists existed for 1,200 years before there was a United States"

      I like that. Puts things in perspective.

  • MullahAssassin

    Ok so Georgy had balls and confronted the Islamic threat directly. He even talked more to Iran than Obama ever will. Out goes Bush, because people wanted to give diplomacy (Obama) a chance with the Hydra called Islam. Good luck. People will realize the need to stand up to this monster, and as stupid as Georgy was as a person, I think history will judge him as the guy that stood up against the threat. Not as the one to try and appease it, whilst alienating our friends (Israel) at the same time. Does anybody talk much of Neville Chamberlain these days?

  • jac

    If the definition of an immoderate Muslim is one who supports the attacks on the WTC and the Pentagon, perhaps a moderate Muslim may be one who only supports the attack on the Pentagon because it was a military target. Unless a moderate believes that American foreign policy, for example , is not the enemy of Islam, and Islam inculcates that it should defend itself, then 'moderates' are pious bound to support attacks on miitary and political targets but not support the targeted loss of 'civilians lives.
    And since cultural war doesn't involve loss of innocent lives, then that ought to be perfectly consciousable offensive action for moderate Muslims.
    It is a matter of degrees of 'enemyhood'(sic).

  • gracie

    The problem with almost everyone is failing to do the research about Islam. In reality it is the moderates that are the exception. The radical Islamists are actually those who are most true to the faith. All mentions of peace are before the 9th sura. the 9th sura essentially said 'never mind'. That was the point at which Isalm gained enough momentum to start its bloody swath through Europe. There is no doubt their intent is to impose Sharia law on the world. There is no "their version" there is one version only. Any time they say they are open to negotiations is just buying time for them. Lying is codified in their religion if it will buy them time until the next onslaught. Never trust them. Even the moderates. they will all turn under the right circumstances. Failure to understand this concept will be a disastrous mistake for our country. The truth is Islam itself must be stopped. It is not a religion, it is a socio-political movement that is facist in its nature. Read the life of their prophet, he was a theif, murderer, liar, and pedophile. this is all a matter of historical record. And this is the perfect human being they all look up to.

    • Turbeaux

      Hey Gracie, I didn’t want to rain on your parade but I feel I have to. In reality there aren’t any so-called moderate Muslims, as in Islam the freedom of conscience is forbidden due to the dual offenses of apostasy and blasphemy, which hangs over the head of every devout Muslims.

      I think where the confusion arises is you are labeling terrorists because of the violence they commit as radicals and those that don’t participate in terrorism and violence are inadvertently being labeled so-called moderates. However, that is because you don’t quite understand the institution of jihad.

      Jihad in reality consists of both violent means and non-violent means. While terrorism is the only violent means of jihad, it is in actuality the least ubiquitous form of jihad being employed by the Dar al Islam in pursuit of world domination. Non-violent means of jihad, on the other hand, takes place mostly through stealth and deception and is far more prevalently employed, and those Muslims that facilitate it, the ones you label as so-moderates, can hardly be considered to be so-called moderate Muslims since they are also working and doing their individual parts to remove all obstacles for the eventual imposition of Sharia.

    • http://DEMOCRACYNOW.COM Dean

      Interesting…….I will check out the information in your post.

  • RRWest

    I strongly suspect that the current administration in the US is prejudiced towards Islam, which is a known enemy of the Constitution, democracy, the western world and the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Each and every Muslim government today wishes that the US and the west were destroyed under jihad.

    And yet, the current administration is headed by a "former" Muslim, educated for part of his formative years in Indonesia, a country not known for its moderation in recent years. And he also claims that he is no longer Muslim.

    What's that about death to apostates? Yet this man is still alive?

    It makes me wonder if he isn't practising takkiya or kitman.

    Just saying…

  • guestspeaker

    I am convinced that the President, Eric Holder and the likes of Van Jones are Muslim.

    Otherwise, they would not be afraid to condemn, even the radicals, as Muslim radicals. With his hesitation, no, his refusal to speak clearly about this when asked several times by a member of Congress, Holders refusal proved that IF he condemned the Muslims responsible (radicals) he would be condemning himself!

    I have known that the Presidents Christianity was a lie almost from the beginning.
    Foreigners are controlling the white house and Foreign gods are ruling them!

  • Turbeaux

    Hey Ryan…if you and everyone else keep insisting that terrorists follow radical Islam that means there must be a moderate version of Islam out there somewhere. Okay, lets see this moderate version of Islam you guys keep insisting is there. Where is it? It must be there. Hence, I want to see that moderate version of Islam that teaches Muslims to live side by side with non-Muslims in mutual respect, peace, and harmony. Where is it?

  • USMCSniper

    All Muslims are terrorists, wither passive active.

    Active supporters.
    Active supporters are people who do not actually commit the violent acts of terrorism. However, they assist the terrorists by providing money, information, legal and medical services, "safe houses," and forged or stolen documents. Active supporters frequently agree ideologically with some or all of the group's goals, but are ambivalent about the use of violence. There are also some unstable thrill-seekers who join these groups simply to be a part of a forbidden organization. Most terrorist groups recruit cadre from the ranks of their active support element since these people have proven their loyalty and their skills.

    Passive supporters.
    Passive supporters are more difficult to define and identify. Most of them are sympathetic to the terrorist's cause, but either will not or cannot assume an active role. Some passive supporters are involved by intimidation or blackmail. Passive support may be unwitting; for example, contributions to "charitable" causes or other ruses. The terrorist relies on passive supporters for financial aid, public displays of support, and minor logistical support.

    • Turbeaux

      “All Muslims are terrorists, wither passive active.”

      Not quite right as not all Muslims perpetrate terrorism. However, on the other hand, all devout Muslims are jihadists, as terrorism as a form of jihad is the only violent form of jihad, while non-violent forms of jihad that takes place mainly through stealth and deception is far more prevalently employed by Muslims in pursuit of the global jihad. Nevertheless, because most people only perceive those Muslims pursuing the violent form of jihad as radicals, they unwittingly dismiss those Muslims pursuing non-violent forms of jihad through stealth and deception as moderates. However, in reality anyone who adheres to the radical and extremist totalitarian ideology that is Islam is a radical and extremist by definition. Thus, in reality all devout Muslims are radicals.

  • http://www.CompellingConversations.com Eric Roth

    Great article. The most generous interpretation is that these gentleman are very naive and distrust the American people to distinguish between Islamic jihadists and the patriotic Muslims next door. Chamberlain and other pacifists have been naive, and the consequences of such deep delusion are often quite severe. We can't afford this level of naivety and self-delusion during a time of war.
    After all, if you can't identify your enemy you will have a rather difficult time defeating him.

    When will the "impeach Holder" campaign begin?

  • Heather

    Do you think Eric Holder would have answered this question the same, if he were being asked about the Christian Militia members that were arrested? Or would be quickly say that their actions related to their religious views?

    I sm willing to bet he would not have bent himself into a pretzel, the way he did for Islam. The Obama administration is invested in "respecting" Islam.

  • Mirza

    I am sure that the Jews and the born again Christians and all the enemies of ISLAM are working overtime to bring Shame and Misery to the Muslims and the Muslim World, but I am also sure that The Almighty Allah is also working for His Slaves(Muslims) and His favourite religion {Islam} and to keep His Book The Noble Qur' an completely under HIS Safety and Protection. All those fellas who are bull-shitting around, need to view this once http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=roU_80YtmBE and get back to me. I hope you do it..