- The Washington Times - Tuesday, March 3, 2015

King Abdullah of Jordan said he agrees with President Obama’s decision not to label Islamic State terrorists “Islamic extremists” because to do so would legitimize their perversion of Islam.

Speaking Sunday with CNN’s Fareed Zakaria at al-Husseiniya Palace in Amman, Jordan, King Adbullah was asked his thoughts about the president’s stance, which has been criticized by conservatives as being too soft on radical Islam, Mediaite first reported.

“I think he is right and I think this is something that has to be understood on a much larger platform, because they’re looking for legitimacy that they don’t have inside of Islam,” he said of the terrorist organization, also known as ISIS and ISIL. “What these people want is to be called extremist. I mean, they take that as a badge of honor.

“These are in a way outlaws that are on the fringe of Islam,” King Abdullah said. “So to label Islam under the term of extremists and moderates is actually completely wrong… When Baghdadi, the leader of ISIS, came out with his manifesto, even extremist organizations completely backed away from what he said. So he has nothing to do with the tenets of Islam, which is a religion of tolerance that reaches out to other people.”

The king also said the fight against the Islamic State group must be a unified one.

“I’ve said this to leaders both in the Islamic and Arab world and to the world in general, this is a third World War by other means,” he said. “This brings Muslims, Christians, other religions together in this generational fight that all of us have to be in this together.

“So it’s not a Western fight,” he added. “This is a fight inside of Islam where everybody comes together against these outlaws, so to speak, together. And there’s a short term part of this, which is the military part of the issue, there is the medium part, which is the security element of it, and then there’s a long term element of this, which is obviously the ideological one.”

• Jessica Chasmar can be reached at jchasmar@washingtontimes.com.

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