I didn’t watch President Obama’s remarks on “Islamic State” IS/ISIS/ISIL (do we have our bases covered?) until this morning so I know I’m Johnny-come-lately as far as talking heads are concerned. I wasn’t exactly pining to give up time last night to hear our President’s newly found strategy on this new threat. There is a lot of good commentary on his strategy that I’ll point you to.
What I find incredulous with his remarks is that President Obama almost immediately launched into a defense of Islam.
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 by 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.
ISIS/ISIL absolutely is Islamic. What authority does he have to say otherwise?
Really? Islam doesn’t condone the killing of innocents?
Then, when the sacred months have passed, slay the idolaters wherever ye find them, and take them (captive), and besiege them, and prepare for them each ambush. But if they repent and establish worship and pay the poor-due, then leave their way free. Lo! Allah is Forgiving, Merciful. (Quran 9:5)
This in the midst of narrative on treaties as Muslim apologists would state. Sure, because this passage isn’t open to interpretation and rather open-ended. Why would they need a treaty with “idolaters” in the first place? Are we supposed to ignore the early Muslim conquests that facilitated the spread of Islam and the first caliphate established by Muhammad himself?
Then we have the same chapter in the Quran say lay out the extortion of “unbelievers.” (Does this sound familiar?)
Fight against such of those who have been given the Scripture as believe not in Allah nor the Last Day, and forbid not that which Allah hath forbidden by His messenger, and follow not the Religion of Truth, until they pay the tribute readily, being brought low, (Quran 9:29).
My point isn’t to say every single Muslim is violent or that there are no moderate Muslims, but let’s not pretend that ISIS/ISIL’s actions don’t have any basis in the Quran. Perhaps they are misinterpreting it, I don’t claim to be an Islamic scholar, but I don’t think it is the President’s job to be an apologist either.
In President Obama’s defense, he’s not the first U.S. President to do this. President Bill Clinton once said that the Taliban’s abuse of women and children was a “perversion of Islam.” President George W. Bush after 9/11 said that Islamic terrorists “violate the fundamental tenets of the Islamic faith.”
What any reasonable person can see is that moderate Muslims have utterly failed to keep Islam’s extremists in check, and frankly I don’t know of any Islamic country where persecution of religious minorities does not exist whether that state is an official theocracy or not. Freedom of religion does not coexist with Sharia law and is strained in countries with a majority Muslim population.
So if there is a battle for the soul of Islam, so to speak, moderate Muslims are losing. We need our President to be the Commander-in-Chief, lead on foreign policy and to lose the role of being Islam’s apologist-in-chief.