Islamic State terrorists represent an “ideology of violence” but should not be classified as religious, the head of the CIA said Sunday.
Appearing on “Fox News Sunday,” CIA Director John O. Brennan stuck to the Obama administration’s refusal to use phrases such as “radical Islam” when discussing the Islamic State and other terrorist organizations across the world.
“It’s an ideology of violence, that’s what it is. It is not a religious ideology,” Mr. Brennan said. “They purport to be Muslims, but the overwhelming majority of Muslims throughout the world roundly denounce and condemn what they’re doing and that’s why we should not give them any religious legitimacy.”
Critics, including Republicans on Capitol Hill, have taken issue with the administration’s refusal to classify Islamic State fighters as radical Muslims or something similar.
But Mr. Brennan insisted it would be a mistake to link those terrorists to the Islamic faith.
“I’m prepared to say they’re extremists, they are violent terrorists, who misrepresent what the Islamic religion is about,” he said.