In the aftermath of this morning’s tragic terrorist attack in Brussels, each presidential candidate is jumping at the chance to say something profound and earth shattering in defense of all that is good and decent. For Ted Cruz, the word that will change everything is simply “Islam.”
We will name our enemy — radical Islamic terrorism. And we will defeat it. https://t.co/Z7YTgUg3AA
— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) March 22, 2016
In his mind, the Obama administration hasn’t described terrorism as Islamic enough. Instead, Obama has lectured us on Islamaphobia, and referred to ISIS as a “twisted ideology” and is therefore weak on terrorism, which is why they continue to attack our allies.
Actually, this is what Obama has said when it comes to Islam and ISIS:
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.
And here’s Ted Cruz’s brilliant take on the topic:
Radical Islam is at war with us. For over 7 years we have had a president who refuses to acknowledge this reality
Now, technically, he’s right. Obama does not see this as a war between the U.S. and radical Islam. Rather, its a war between an increasingly unstable faction of extremists who are mostly waging their own war within Islam. Further, even though the attacks in Paris and Brussels are frightening and dangerous, they could actually be a sign that ISIS’s power is in serious decline. Cruz’s insistence that winning the war boils down to simply labeling them properly is obviously just sloppy demagoguery, while Obama’s struggle to stop the spread of anti-Islam violence is more of a careful effort to protect Americans left vulnerable by ISIS’s actions. You see, whenever there is an attack like the one in Brussels today, anti-Muslim attacks tend to skyrocket, fueled by the ignorant paranoid rhetoric of fear-peddlers like Ted Cruz. He may think he’s boldly stating an unequivocal truth, but in reality he’s painting a target on the constitutionally guaranteed religious freedom of millions of American muslims.
Weakness comes in many forms. I don’t think shifting public perception of Islam toward its majority of peaceful practitioners is one of them. But using a tragedy to push a xenophobic agenda isn’t just weak; its deceptive, cruel, and cheap.
We have a lot to work on, America.
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