The White House tried to explain Tuesday why it has refused to use the term “radical Islam” in describing the Islamist terrorists responsible for last week’s Paris attacks and other acts of violence across the globe.
White House press secretary Josh Earnest said the administration doesn’t want to legitimize those terrorists or the “warped” view of Islam they hold. Also, Mr. Earnest said, the phrase “radical Islam” simply is not an accurate way to describe the enemies of the U.S., France and other nations across the globe.
“I certainly wouldn’t want to be in a position where I’m repeating the justification they have cited that I think is illegitimate. They had invoked Islam to justify their attacks,” he told reporters. “I think what I’m trying to do is to describe to you what happened and what they did. These individuals are terrorists. … We have chosen not to use that label [of radical Islam] because it doesn’t seem to accurately describe what happened.”
The administration seemingly has taken the position that terrorists are not following Islam at all, and calling their ideology “radical Islam” could lend their beliefs a sense of legitimacy it does not deserve.
Other world leaders, including French President Francois Hollande, have used the phrase to describe the beliefs of Islamist terrorists.
• Ben Wolfgang can be reached at email@example.com.
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